Also: Dole riffs on popular meme for fruit bowl campaign, Chicago mayor spars with teacher union over remote learning, and more.

Hello, communicators:

Food brand Dole has launched a campaign to remind kids and parents about the benefits of its fruit bowls, which have long been a staple of school lunches. Putting a kid-centric spin on the popular “Hold My Beer” meme, Dole’s “Hold My Fruit Bowl” campaign includes two ads and an integrated social media campaign featuring kids responding to various challenges by handing off their snack, saying “hold my fruit bowl” and saving the day.

“We aim to live up to our brand Promise in all of our actions, whether that be taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint to create a better and more equitable world, innovating new and existing products to be more nutritious and accessible, or creating ads that empower the younger generation,” president and managing director of Dole Packaged Foods, Americas JC Dalto said in a press release. “The pandemic has disrupted kids’ daily lives, pulling them out of school and away from their friends. Our goal of these ads is to inspire youth and show them anything is possible.”

By referencing a meme that became popular online over a decade ago, Dole’s parody is probably lost on most school-age kids who make up the target audience for this campaign. It’s a reminder that clever storytelling won’t necessarily send the message you intend—and could fail to connect with audiences that lack the necessary cultural context.

Here are today’s top stories:

Golden Globes live tweets winners in lieu of TV broadcast

The 79th Annual Golden Globes took place Jan. 9 with no broadcast ceremony. NBC dropped the awards show this past spring after the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which gives out the awards, failed to enact timely new policies to diversify its membership and adopt inclusive nomination practices.

Instead, the HFPA announced winners on Twitter in real time:

Interspersed among the winners were tweets from the HFPA’s purpose and DE&I partners, along with the announcement that Mj Rodriguez made history as the first transgender woman to win a Golden Glove for best actress in a TV Drama for her role in “Pose”:

Twitter users saw flaws in the Golden Globes’ strategy for the evening:

And the HFPA’s failure to embrace change has not gone unnoticed throughout the industry:

Variety reports:

“Last year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was challenged to change—and we did,” Hoehne said in a statement following the ceremony. One talent publicist says, “If you’ve been on the Zoom calls where they continue to speak offensively, everyone would know that’s not any part true.”

What it means:

The HFPA’s attempts to communicate its DE&I efforts on social media offered critics a unique platform to push back on the organizations’ narrative. The evening is a reminder that any attempts to portray an inclusive social media presence risk being called out as inauthentic if the DE&I work hasn’t happened internally first. To compound the nightmare, the lack of information about each winner’s projects demonstrates a core misunderstanding around the fundamentals of inclusive communication.

By including tweets about its DE&I work and inclusive partners amid the deluge of award announcements, the HFPA also demonstrates how your social media posting cadence can drastically effect which messages rise to the top and which posts get lost in the noise.


MEASURED THOUGHTS

A recent study by Leathwaite found that 58% of employees surveyed reported checking workplace messages at all times of day and feel a constant sense of urgency, while 53% of employees said they are not comfortable talking about issues and asking for help.

Though these numbers speak to larger opportunities for internal communicators to refine the timing of their employee messages and expectations for engagement, they also remind external communicators of the communication fatigue audiences currently face.

You can increase the likelihood of engaging exhausted audiences by making sure your outreach is mindful of audiences’ attention spans. Make it easy to engage with your messaging by offering landing pages that collect helpful resources, provide opportunities for them to opt-in and subscribe for reminders and notifications, and use language that acknowledges their state of exasperation whenever appropriate.

Check out the full report here.


TAKE OUR SURVEY

If you’re looking to further your understanding of your industry to navigate what’s ahead in 2022, lend us a hand—and help yourself and your peers identify shared benchmarks in areas such as budgets, team structure, ESG and DE&I efforts, and more. Participate in Ragan Communications Leadership Council’s 2022 Benchmark Survey, a comprehensive look at how to negotiate budgets with your executives, how to best reach deskless workers and foster culture among a hybrid workforce, and more.

Both internal and external communicators are encouraged to participate.

By taking part, you’ll be entered to win one of three $100 gift cards. All who complete the survey will receive a full report on the findings. Responses are anonymous.

Survey takers will receive an executive summary of the findings.


AGENCY NEWS

One the biggest PR agencies in the world, Edelman, has announced it will part ways with clients that fail to meet its ESG (environmental, social and governance) standards. However, the agency says it will keep its fossil fuel clients on the books for now.

After completing a 60-day review of its portfolio in response to pressure from climate activists, the PR firm has made new commitments and identified 20 clients that it will require a closer look moving forward. CEO Richard Edelman did not name which clients those might be, citing confidentiality issues.

The Drum reported:

 Edelman outlines six goals that it says demonstrates its operating principles. These are:

  • Work with those committed to accelerating action to Net Zero and in compliance with the Paris Accords

  • Put science and facts first

  • Advance best practices and standards for climate communications

  • Ensure inclusivity

  • Focus on a just transition

  • Hold itself accountable

However, the commitment falls short for some activists who say Edelman and other agencies in the PR industry have helped the fossil fuel industry spread lies about climate change and carbon emissions.

The Drum continued:

Clean Creatives, a climate campaign project made up of workers in the PR and ad industries, says that Edelman’s review and the statement fail on numerous levels, particularly in its lack of consultation of climate experts and not providing transparent standards for evaluating clients’ climate goals.

However, Edelman has clarified it will be forming an Independent Council of Climate Experts from outside the company to provide input and guidance on strategy as well as on assignments and client situations of concern.

The dilemma for PR agencies is unlikely to disappear as audiences ask tough questions about how corporate stories are told and industry research is created. In an era where trust is at such an historic low, PR agencies will have to think closely about how their work has a wider impact, and if a client really makes sense with their declared values as an agency.


Announcing the PR Daily Leadership Network

PR Daily is launching the PR Daily Leadership Network, a unique membership group from Ragan Communications offering peer-to-peer advisory and team training along with a unique slate of resources and events to help public relations professionals break through the noise, increase their visibility and forge meaningful connections.

The Network provides daily insights and coverage on a range of topics including media relations, social media, measurement, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, branding, thought leadership and crisis communications.

“The fast pace of change coupled with the demand on public relations professionals to protect and sometimes defend their company’s reputation make it imperative for leaders to tap into the wisdom of other communicators and continue to learn and grow,” says Diane Schwartz, CEO of Ragan Communications. “The PR Daily Leadership Network provides the answers but also encourages members to question the status quo and push for positive change.”

Visit leadership.prdaily.com to learn more.

CDC director acknowledges comms flubs, promises to restore trust

During her first solo news conference about the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky outlined the difficulties of communicating in a timely and consistent manner about the virus.

The Washington Post reports:

Walensky offered no apologies on Friday. But she did acknowledge the challenges of staying on top of a fast-evolving virus, saying the CDC is “working really hard to get information to the American public. This is hard, and I am committed to continue to improve as we learn more about the science and to communicate that with all of you.”

For months, at the suggestion of the White House, Walensky has been receiving media coaching from Democratic media consultant Mandy Grunwald, according to an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

CDC spokesman Jason McDonald said in a statement that directors “have historically consulted coaches and other outside advisers to improve communications and media interview skills. This is not out of the ordinary.”

What it means:

As the CDC faces continued criticism for changing its guidelines to match the latest data about the COVID-19 pandemic, Walensky’s willingness to begin holding public press conferences emphasizes how a spokesperson can humanize an organization. Walensky’s commitments to improve her communications also highlight the distinction between taking responsibility and apologizing—as an apology is not always warranted, and can be perceived as hollow if not connected to a sense of accountability.

 

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