Speak now- actually, just forever hold your peace. Please.
Mom always said, if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. But what if you do have something nice to say, but still shouldn’t say anything all? Before you call mom in a panic, hear me out.
In lieu of the beloved Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, many of the world’s biggest brands were quick to take to social media to pay their respects. Some did it with grace and proper restraint, like the black and white text from Domino’s, or the simple but sweet message from Unilever. A particularly gut-wrenching sentiment from Paddington Bear had everyone drying their eyes. But of course, for every class act, there were a dozen class clowns. Several brands seriously missed the mark. Playmobil posted an image of one of their iconic figurines appearing as the Queen, which was criticized as unnecessary, flippant and my personal favorite critique, “a dumb-arse thing to do.” Crossfit UK posted a special workout of the day to recognize the late Queen and as expected, the post was relentlessy mocked. I have to side with the mockers on this one. 70 jumping lunges in honor of Her Majesty? Come on.
Whether they hit the right notes or not, the overarching, lingering question remains- is it really necessary to say anything at all? What’s actually appropriate under the circumstances? Obviously, the death of a royal with the cultural significance of QE II is a rare occurrence. But the question remains for any sensitive event that has a widespread impact. Because the age of social media allows for real time responses, there is now an expectation of real time responses from brands. Political unrest, racially charged divisions, extreme disasters, or whatever the most recent tragedy, brands are expected to respond. Or to not respond. In some situations, brands are ousted for staying silent. In others, they’re ridiculed for speaking out. It’s a sticky, tricky dance. Especially if you’re not a good dancer to begin with.
Another prime and recent example is Hurricane Ian. The tropical storm wreaked havoc on the coast of Florida just last week, demolishing homes, businesses and key infrastructures. In all, the economic damage is expected to reach between $55 and $65 billion. It will take years for the people of Florida to rebuild and restore what was lost. The devastation is massive. And again, when faced with a tragedy with such widespread impact, brands are expected to respond accordingly. Or at the very least, tailor current messaging to reflect empathy and awareness.
Who missed the awareness memo? Just Salad. True story, I got an email from the restaurant chain on Thursday. It was your typical email drip. The featured content was promoting Just Salad’s 15+ stores in Florida. But the subject line? It read What’s happening in FL? Yikes. Talk about a miss.
What could have been done differently? Well, about 20 backspaces for starters. Our team discussed the cringey email, and Kelsey was spot on. “Someone on Just Salad’s team should’ve thought about the email and raised the flag to either hold send, or pivot content quickly, shifting focus to standing with the Florida communities. Now’s the time to hold off on branding and sales.”
If you’re going to push anything in a time of crisis, push sympathy and solidarity. Not kale and romaine.
The danger of Iran’s internet blackouts.
The death of a 22-year-old woman has sparked widespread anger and protests across the country of Iran. Last week, Mahsa Amini was brutally killed by the morality police for her “improper hijab.” Her murder has given momentum to Iranian women’s fight against discrimination, state control and patriarchy. In response, Iran’s government has violently cracked down on protestors, including severley limiting the country’s internet access. The 80 million citizens of Iran are now unable to communicate or document what’s happening. And for a people group trying to lead a revolution, this is devastating.
The US Treasury Department issued an updated license allowing US tech companies to expand services and platforms. Elon Musk also jumped in to help, calling on SpaceX to activate its Starlink service. Does this sound oddly familiar? Like when Buzz Lightyear is trying to get ahold of Star Command? Exactly.
Many are fearing history will repeat itself. Iran has played this game before. In 2019, the Iranian government cut off internet access when civilians took to the streets to demonstrate after fuel prices surged as much as 300% overnight. Due to the outages, the international community struggled to track the civilian carnage, but the death toll is predicted to be around 1,500 from the two week period of unrest. “The impacts of these sorts of disruptions can’t be overstated.”
More cash up for grabs for YouTube creators.
The popular streaming platform is now offering more opportunities for creators to make money. YouTube Shorts will soon be eligible for 45% of the revenue generated from viewership. Since Shorts have previously received zero income, this is a significant update for creators.
In June, Google boasted that YouTube Shorts has more than 1.5 billion monthly logged-in users. The TikTok rival is hopeful that with proper incentives, its fanbase will only continue to grow. It’s no secret that Shorts can often feel like TikTok’s less cool, younger brother. The shortform video option certainly hasn’t hit TikTok’s level of cultural relevance. But what TikTok drives in culture, YouTube drives in revenue. In the words of the great Rod Tidwell, “show me the money.”
In addition to monetizing Shorts, YouTube is expanding the eligibility criteria for the YouTube Partner Program. This will help more creators qualify to earn revenue with long and short-form content.
Best of the Week
Tools and Tricks
A collection of keyboard shortcuts for Mac apps, Windows programs, and websites. If you’re still taking pictures of your computer screen from your phone, this is absolutely for you.
A great listen from The Marketing Millennials on how to build a loyal customer base. Short answer? By providing a great experience through great content. Long answer? Listen to the podcast.
Move over Texas (fake) fall, it’s football season. The Cowboys aren’t terrible and the Aggies aren’t a disgrace. Dare I say… I’m enjoying this football season? I am. At least until the next loss.
More News From The Week
- M&M releases a purple candy into the mix. Finally, we can all sleep at night again.
- Rapper Pusha T takes aim at the McRib in his newest rap on behalf of Arby’s. McCold.
- Citizens of Qatar are being drafted as security detail for the next World Cup. But what about the draft for the Mavericks’ security detail? I will courageously volunteer for next season.
- Chipotle will soon have a new robotic chef making chips named Chippy. But will Chippy improve the queso? Or bring back the old steak? I have a lot of questions for Chippy.
- The CIA is launching a podcast. Unless episode 1 gives me some undeniable proof we landed on the moon, I’m not interested.