Stories by Jerry Ascierto


Massage Envy Crisis Widens #MeToo Movement to the Brand Level

November 27th, 2017 by

Massage Envy, the spa chain with nearly 1,200 U.S. locations, is under fire as a BuzzFeed investigation brought to light more than 180 allegations of sexual assault made against the company and its franchisees over a 15-year span. And its response to the crisis so far has served as a cautionary tale of bad planning, offering a lesson in what not to do to contain a crisis.

Uber’s Messaging on Cyber Breach Scandal Leaves Much to Be Desired

November 22nd, 2017 by

Uber’s response to its cyber breach crisis has raised more questions than answers, allowing speculation and coverage to increase and brand equity to erode, according to crisis expert Sam Huxley, senior vice president with Washington, D.C.-based agency LEVICK.

2017 PR People Award Finalists Announced by PR News

November 17th, 2017 by

At the PR People Awards luncheon, which will be held Dec. 5 at the historic National Press Club in Washington, D.C., PR News will announce the winners of categories such as Crisis Manager of the Year, Digital Leader of the Year, Marketer of the Year, PR Intern of the Year and Media Relations Professional of the Year, among others. And as we celebrate these champions, we’ll also raise a glass for the future and shine a spotlight on the 2017 Rising PR Stars.

Keurig, and #MeAt14: Caught in the Crossfire on Twitter

November 13th, 2017 by

Over the weekend, four brands announced they would not advertise on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, but none felt the backlash quite like Keurig, as videos of people smashing its machines lit up Twitter. The violent response underscores the tricky situation brands are in when caught in the crossfire of a politically charged controversy. Keurig first faced backlash for its inaction. When it took a stand, it faced another angry wave of protests.

Disney, LA Times Media Relations War Escalates

November 7th, 2017 by

Disney recently barred a Los Angeles Times film critic from pre-screening its movies in retaliation for unfavorable coverage, and many critics and critics associations are showing solidarity by refusing to review or give awards to Disney movies. The feud calls into question Disney’s media relations strategy—rather than defuse an issue it had with one media outlet, it poured fuel on the fire and in the process, the story it disputes has been amplified.

Spooktacular Marketing: 3 Brands That Are Killing It This Halloween

October 31st, 2017 by

While Halloween is always a boon for candy and costume makers—and, tangentially, dentists—many brands have done a scary good job of capitalizing on the holiday this year. Here are three hair-raising examples, including Burger King’s “It”-inspired clip and a spine-tingling and inspired Snapchat filter from Netflix.

Snap, Inc. Hit With Layoffs Amid Spectacles Debacle

October 24th, 2017 by

Snap, Inc. may have miscalculated when it rolled out Spectacles last November, with hundreds of thousands of unsold glasses now sitting in warehouses. The news comes fresh on the heels of another round of layoffs at the firm, with 18 people dismissed from its recruiting division last week, a month after CEO Evan Spiegel said in an internal email that the company would hire at a slower rate, and that its leaders would have to make “hard decisions” about their teams in 2018.

Communications Week Highlights Challenges of the Fake News Era

October 13th, 2017 by

“Truth in Communications” is the theme for this year’s Communications Week, to be held Oct. 16-20 in New York City, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. In an age referred to as the post-truth era—when media outlets are under attack and “fake news” is a trending hashtag—the topics of transparency, integrity and ethics in communications increasingly need an airing out. And at this annual event, a collection of PR, communications and media pros will come together to dissect everything from media brand reputation to PR’s role in a world of spin.

Snapchat Rolls Out Context Cards, a New Marketing Feature, Escalating Its Battle With Instagram

October 10th, 2017 by

The battle between Instagram and Snapchat for more users and marketing dollars continues its heated pace. This morning, Snapchat introduced a new marketing tool called Context Cards giving Snapchat users a way to get instant information about a business featured in a Snap. Meanwhile, Instagram announced a couple of new features in the last week, including an interactive polling sticker for Stories that closely resembles Snapchat’s third-party Polly feature.

Is Your Top Exec Teachable—or Is He Like Harvey Weinstein?

October 6th, 2017 by

The Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment story underscores a question faced by many corporate communications and HR pros: What steps should be taken to prevent that kind of behavior among top executives? It starts with education and a culture of accountability, as well as instilling a reporting structure that ensures employees won’t fear retribution.