YouTube is once again facing a brand advertiser exodus for reputation-harming advertising placements. A recent investigation revealed that YouTube ran ads from “dozens” of brands with videos uploaded by children that were targets for predatory comments.
Stories by Sophie Maerowitz
UCLA’s and Pac-12’s extended media moment following the incident in China is nothing new in an era in which not responding—as UCLA did by declining to take questions from the press—is a form of response in itself. We can now add UCLA to the list of brands ensnared in our divisive cultural and political climate.
Twitter is inviting users in the U.S., the U.K. and Japan to participate in its new program, Promote Mode. The program automatically promotes all tweets for $99 a month. What the social platform isn’t saying is that with this new program, Twitter, like Facebook, sees itself primarily as an ad platform. Allowing users to automate the promotion process—making every paid tweet count more than one without dollars behind it—means Twitter is further distancing itself from its organic roots.
As any PR professional knows, reputation is everything. And if anyone still doubts that, the #MeToo movement has arrived to awaken us all. At this very moment the reputations of comedian Louis C.K. and Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore are in free fall as a result of news coverage of their alleged sexual misconduct.
As we’ve seen in recent weeks, a tumultuous news cycle—compounded by an online community rattled by recent violent events—can be a breeding ground for rumors, hoaxes and false reports. In the last few days alone, the San Antonio shooter was misidentified as a member of both the alt-right and alt-left movements, Twitter swirled with rumors of Snapchat’s demise and Facebook pulled a failed fake-news curtailing experiment.
A difficult week for Twitter continued with an 11-minute shutdown of President Trump’s Twitter account. What steps Twitter plans to take to prevent another hijacking of the most influential Twitter account in the U.S. remain to be seen.
It’s no secret that audiences respond more readily to their peers’ brand engagement than they do to messaging that comes directly from brands themselves. But what can communicators do to convert those engaged users into brand advocates?
Stacey DePolo, who manages social media and advocacy at domain and business services provider GoDaddy, considers that question often. She works daily to build GoDaddy’s community of brand advocates, which she defines as “a group of people who are passionate about a brand, product or cause that promotes their community either in person or online.”
While the NAACP’s travel advisory for African Americans is only the most recent reference to airlines’ perceived discriminatory behavior toward travelers, its calling out of a specific brand perhaps augurs a new era of coordinated confrontation between mission-based nonprofit organizations and brands.
Dove is in crisis mode after running a Facebook advertisement many are calling racist. The ad, a GIF which featured a black woman removing her shirt to reveal a white woman, was pulled after being widely shared on social media and covered in national news outlets. Given how many brands fumble in getting across respectful messaging around race and diversity, it’s crucial for all communicators to ensure their brands have an internal review process for all content, including an employee culture that nixes off-mark messaging long before it reaches the public.
Artificial intelligence took center stage at today’s #MadeByGoogle launch event. The company unveiled a plethora of products aimed at an AI-focused future, including enhanced voice and visual search features in the Pixel 2 smartphone and Google Home device, as well as a beefed-up virtual reality headset, highlighting the company’s shift from “a mobile-first to an AI-first world.”