Headline Roundup – Public Relations in the News for October

Oct 10, 2023

Scary season is upon us, and it’s not just kids who can be given a fright this month. Public relations, advertising, and influencer campaigns can also bring night terrors when not executed correctly. Headlines this month included X likely being sued by everybody, Adidas terrible decisions, the RCMP Richmond’s unfortunate pedestrian safety video, TikTok testing ad-free experiences, Mean Girls Day on October 3, and influencers hawking luxury real estate.

X, formerly known as Twitter, hit with trademark lawsuit from marketing agency

In a development that surprises literally no one, X has been served a trademark lawsuit by a social media marketing agency after adopting the most generic brand name ever created. Many are saying this is likely just the first lawsuit of many.

This article was wild. The damage to reputation and employee mental health that Adidas was willing to endure to protect its lucrative partnership was almost unending until it (sort-of) wasn’t. The company violated pretty much every rule around reputation management, issues management, and creating a safe work culture. There are so many shocking facts in this article but for some reason this line stood out to me: “The Yeezy team adopted a strategy it likened to firefighting: rotating people on and off the front lines of dealing with the artist. Adidas also assigned a human resources official to the group, gave each new hire a subscription to a meditation app and gathered the staff regularly for something akin to group therapy.” A meditation app?

Here is a checklist for managers that I wrote to support influencer marketing efforts and protect their brands’ reputations.

Richmond RCMP criticized for safety video that appears to blame both driver and pedestrian

The Richmond RCMP released a video on pedestrian safety that many felt missed the mark for appearing to blame both the driver and the pedestrian for an accident that was clearly the driver’s fault. While I understand the intent of the ad (my father is a personal injury lawyer and is passionate about pedestrian safety), I think with some relatively small changes the ad would have been much better received. The real blow back happened after the Richmond RCMP released an ill-advised statement, where they appeared to both double down on the ad and throw a student filmmaker under the bus. A good reminder that every organization needs a solid crisis communications plan.

TikTok is reportedly testing a paid, ad-free version of its app

TikTok appears to be testing an ad-free version of its platform, in the hopes of capitalizing on users who are willing to fork over $4.99 per month for an ad-free experience.

Paramount Releases ‘Mean Girls’ for Free on TikTok in 23 Parts — for One Day Only

October 3 is Mean Girls Day and Paramount looked to capitalize on the trend of watching movies and TV shows in bite-sizes on TikTok by releasing the entire movie for one day in 23 parts.

No Open-House Party. Influencers Just Want an Open Door.

Okay, this isn’t a new headline, but it’s new to me and I found it a really interesting article. In a trend that seems to have started in Miami during the pandemic, influencers and luxury developers have created a mutually beneficial trade of promoted posts for access to those hard to recreate views.