PR Roundup: KC Kicker Misses, So Many Dicks, Oreo Dominance

e.l.f. Beauty's Too Many Dicks campaign on display in New York City's financial district shows the lack of diversity on corporate boards.

This week's PR Roundup looks at Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker going viral for a conservative commencement speech, e.l.f. Beauty's commitment to DEI with a blatant campaign and the reigning social media snack champion.

Chiefs’ Kicker Goes Viral for the Wrong Reasons

What happened: On May 11, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker gave a commencement speech that’s now gone viral on social media—for the wrong reasons. 

Butker addressed the graduates at Kansas’ Benedictine College, a private Catholic liberal arts school, with statements alienating the LGBTQ+ community—insinuating Pride Month was a sin, graduating females—saying the most important title of all was “homemaker,” and President Joe Biden for his stance on abortion and the COVID-19 response.

The NFL deflected the issue by saying Butker gave a speech on his personal time, not the NFL’s.

“His views are not those of the NFL as an organization,” said NFL SVP and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Jonathan Beane, in a statement. “The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

The Chiefs have declined to comment. 

[Update May 17, 2024]: The Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, a founding institution and sponsor of Benedictine College issued a statement in response to the commencement address.

"The sisters of Mount St. Scholastica do not believe that Harrison Butker’s comments in his 2024 Benedictine College commencement address represent the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts college that our founders envisioned and in which we have been so invested."

Read the full statement here.

Communication takeaways: Eric Yaverbaum, CEO of Ericho Communications says the NFL's response is “way too little, way too late.” 

“This is the kind of scenario the NFL should have easily anticipated, and prepared statements and a strong plan of action well in advance,” Yaverbaum says. “The league's slow response and lack of preparation reflects a nonchalant attitude toward sexism.”

Although relatively brief, Yaverbaum says Butker's speech managed to be misogynistic, homophobic, racist and antisemitic. Because of this it’s important to thoroughly vet your clients and spokespersons.

“When it comes to making public speeches, I preach authenticity,” he says. “So if a public figure has blatantly hateful views, my agency wouldn't be the right fit. For those who do find themselves in such a situation with clients, the only solution is to encourage them to keep those views private—or better yet, sever the relationship.”

e.l.f. Beauty Generates DEI Conversation 

What happened: While many corporations seem to be shying away from DEI initiatives, e.l.f. Beauty took it upon themselves to make a splash with its “So Many Dicks…So Few of Everyone Else” campaign. And that creativity has worked for a large social media response.

The campaign showcases the uniformity of corporate boards as mostly white men, named Dick. e.l.f. and agency Oberland found unique, yet telling data while looking at the race and gender makeup of 26,957 U.S. board members across 4,429 publicly traded companies. 

  • 566 men named Richard, Rick or Dick serve on those boards. 
  • Hispanic women numbered 283, only half the number of “Dicks.”
  • Only 806 Black women and 774 Asian women sat on boards. 

The campaign will be on display through mid-June in New York City’s Financial District.

Communication lessons: Sprout Social data underscores how e.l.f. continues to leverage creativity and social to build meaningful connections with audiences, and stand out, as made evident by its above-industry average engagement and consistent business growth.

Some of the most recent posts from this e.l.f. Campaign have garnered the highest digital engagement, particularly a “So Many Dicks” Instagram carousel.

“This type of content will often perform better than overt sales pitches because it focuses on connecting with consumers on a more personal level,” says Rachael Goulet, Director, social media, Sprout Social. “e.l.f. experiments with content formats and owned-data to not only add to, but create conversations that are meaningful to its brand and customers.”

What is Social Media’s Favorite Snack?

What happened: To welcome the weekend on a fun note, we took a look at new findings from promotions and loyalty experts Snipp Interactive. The organization  used YouGov data to discover the U.S.'s top food and snack brands. They then analyzed each brand's number of Instagram hashtags to determine which brands have the most loyal and engaged customers.  

And the winner is? Oreo! Oreo was revealed as the most popular brand with 9.7 million Instagram hashtags. Runners up included KitKat (3.7 million) and Snickers (1.7 million), which paced pretty far behind. 

Also according to YouGov data, 98% of Americans have heard of the brand (who ARE those 2%?), and 76% of people have a positive opinion of it.

Communication takeaways: Snipp notes that Oreo benefits the most from user-generated content, with people tagging their creations, from Oreo milkshakes to Oreo cakes.

"The popularity of American food and snack brands is impressive, with some brands accumulating millions of hashtags on Instagram,” says Atul Sabharwal, Founder and CEO of Snipp Interactive. “This reflects their exceptionally loyal customer base, which provides brands with fantastic engagement and reach via social media.”

And while some may think hashtags are on the downswing, think again, as they do really help build a sense of community for brands. 

"Utilizing hashtags on Instagram significantly enhances brand visibility, helping brands reach their target audience more effectively,” Sabharwal says. “It's clear that many big brands are making the most of social media, with Oreo, Kit Kat, Snickers, Ben & Jerry's, and Hershey's leading the way as the most Instagrammable food brands on Instagram."   

Nicole Schuman is Managing Editor at PRNEWS.