The Week in PR

  1. It’s not fast food.
    It’s not fast food.

    ‘It Ain’t Over ’Til…’: Chipotle head Steve Ells said earlier this month that he expected the government to “soon” declare Chipotle-related E. coli outbreaks over. Last week an official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the investigation continues, Food Safety News reported. In addition, Food and Drug Administration officials said its investigation continues into the source of the outbreaks in 12 states that sickened 58 people. Meanwhile Chipotle said last week it “may” know what “caused some customers to become ill in 2015.” In a statement, it also said its enhanced food safety procedures are “largely in place” and it instituted “paid sick leave helping to ensure that ill employees have no incentive to work while ill.”

  2. Bounced Check: Another example of how brands that aspire to do good sometimes face setbacks. Some background: Facebook’s Safety Check is a system where friends and family can find out whether or not a loved one who resides in an area that’s experienced a natural or man-made disaster is safe. The company introduced the feature in Oct. 2014 and activated it exclusively in response to natural disasters. Its first use in response to a man-made disaster was in November when ISIS launched an evening of killing that left more than 120 people in Paris dead. Some 360 million people received messages from Paris-based users, Facebook said. Shortly after that, however, critics wondered why Safety Check hadn’t been activated in response to ISIS attacks in Lebanon just one day before Paris that left more than 40 people in Beirut dead. The disparity led one commentator, Sousan Hammad, to conclude angrily on Al Jazeera America’s site that Facebook’s Safety Check “is not for Arabs.” Facebook responded with well-crafted messages, saying these are the early days of Safety Check and that it will be more vigilant going forward. In fact, just days after those posts Safety Check was activated in response to a terrorist bombing in Yola, Nigeria on Nov. 17. That brings us to the present and another ISIS attack, seven bombs and shootings, in Jakarta, Jan. 14. Despite 69 million users in Indonesia and being Facebook’s no. 3 mobile audience, Safety Check remained off, complained Yunita Ong, a contributor to Forbes. com. CSR is far from easy. It involves planning, execution and communication. Facebook, and any leading brand, must approach doing good as carefully as they would other business decisions. In the digital era, the world demands it.
  3. b-y2x1aiaaazt1kCarmageddon: You can’t fool Mother Nature, but she can be tricky. As millions on the East Coast were preparing for a weekend snowstorm, Washington, D.C., received a seemingly benign prelude: A one-inch dusting late Wednesday afternoon. With temperatures in the 20–30 range for much of the week, however, the few flakes became ice on contact with untreated roads, creating havoc for home-bound commuters. At midnight, major roads and highways were bumper-to-bumper, with tales of seven-hour commutes all too common. The next day, while other local and state governments disguised their apologies by emphasizing how quickly they reacted to the situation (commuters would disagree strongly), D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser (D) took the high yet icy road, offering an abject apology. She tweeted, “Last night the District failed to deploy the necessary resources in response to the snow—for that I am sorry.” She did the same during a Thursday-morning press conference that helped restore confidence in the District’s ability to handle the anticipated blizzard. – The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) said Friday its representatives would be available to provide advisory service to companies entering the research, data, analytics & insight generation and PR excellence in effectiveness categories of the PR Lions awards.
  4. J.J. Carter, FleishmanHillard Global COO
    J.J. Carter, FleishmanHillard Global COO

    People: It was a week of big-name job moves. Kimberly-Clark tapped PepsiCo SVP Christopher Wyse as VP of communications, replacing the departed CCO Ken Smalling. – Pundits say you won’t see NFL commish Roger Goodell on the stump as much now that the league has hired former White House press secretary (to President Clinton) Joe Lockhart as EVP communications; he replaces the departed Paul Hicks, who went to D.C.-based Glover Park Group, which Lockhart co-founded before a stint at Facebook (that’s the way the revolving door works in D.C.). The NFL also upped former White House hand SVP of government affairs Cynthia Hogan to EVP of public policy and government affairs, boosting its D.C. muscle. – United Airlines named Jim Olson SVP of corporate communications. He comes over after five years as Starbucks’ VP of global corporate communications. – FleishmanHillard named J.J. Carter its first global COO and Jack Modzelewski global president, business development and partnerships. – Publicis Worldwide upped Carla Serrano to CEO. J.J. Carter, FleishmanHillard Global COOIt’s not fast food.

This article originally appeared in the January 25, 2016 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.