[Editor's Note: The PRNEWS staff encounters many examples of brand communications. Each week we compile an assessment of some of the best and not-so-great examples. Our intent is to provide a learning experience about what works or doesn't. You can find last week's examples here.]
Sophie Maerowitz, senior content manager
SpaceX Launch: B.
Much to a hopeful public’s chagrin, SpaceX postponed its highly anticipated launch of two NASA astronauts May 27, due to weather. While the postponement was disappointing, SpaceX’s press team ensured the words "weather permitting" made it into most of the pre-launch news coverage, setting expectations and allowing for an easy transition in the news cycle, which now is setting its sights on May 30. On Twitter, SpaceX again was careful to avoid over-promising, calling Saturday’s big event a launch "opportunity." Points for keeping the focus on the launch, avoiding throwing a spotlight on CEO Elon Musk’s ever-erratic tweets and unpredictable media appearances. Musk may have surprised critics with his apparently earnest comments on a CBS exclusive, citing safety as “the only priority” and that if the launch goes wrong, “it’s my fault.” Whether Musk’s comments were a result of media training or a fluke, I’m grateful he didn’t feel the need to share his feelings on the pandemic panic ("dumb"), Tesla’s stock price (“too high”) or his newborn’s baffling name (now in its second draft: X Æ A-Xii).
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 27, 2020
Seth Arenstein, editor
Care.com's "You’re Doing a Great Job": Incomplete
When is the right time to stop mentioning the novel coronavirus in brand messages? It’s a difficult question. Some brands are subtle. Take Care.com, which specializes in locating caregivers for children, seniors and pets. "You’re Doing a Great Job," its 30-second ad, never mentions the virus, but you know it’s there. Light-hearted footage shows mothers doing things for small children: cooking, cleaning, shopping (wearing a mask) and homeschooling. In addition, mom’s "the chief entertainment officer," the friendly voiceover says. "But if it’s all starting to be a little too much, Care.com can help" with babysitters, cleaning services, tutors, housekeepers and more. "So, you finally can get some work done." It’s a great ad; clever, uplifting and clear about Care.com’s message. The concern: It needs to mention pandemic-related health and safety. Care.com is helping consumers find people who likely will come into their home. During a quick glance at Care.com’s site there’s no mention of the pandemic. Down at the bottom of the page there’s a Safety category, which links to COVID-19-related content. Finally.
Nicole Schuman, reporter/content manager
It's sad when the things we love become commodities, but that's capitalism for ya. Actor John Krasinski's feel-good YouTube quarantine project, "Some Good News," warmed viewers hearts around the globe. And entertainment execs took notice as well. The media reported that the web show became tangled in a bidding war, and Krasinski sold the project to ViacomCBS. Krasinski defended his decision on fellow Office-mate Rainn Wilson's daily Instagram Live show, "Hey There, Human," saying the project just wasn't sustainable with his upcoming schedule.
Rather than directing anger at Krasinski, ViacomCBS found a way to complicate the feel-good purchase, when CBS News and CBS Entertainment announced layoffs this week. The layoffs included some pertinent journalists and higher ups including White House reporter Mark Knoller, and SVP comedy development, Edy Mendoza.
It seems like an odd time for ViacomCBS to be reaching into its pockets for new projects, when it cannot seem to keep its current staff on the payroll. Take care of your people first.