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Courtesy of Pinterest

I’ve been grading my students’ corporate social responsibility memos and I’m really impressed. They’ve come up with some great CSR program proposals for major companies. (I may share some at the end of the term.)

In J452, it can seem as if we flit from owned media tactic to owned media tactic. A lot gets crammed into 10 weeks. But I hope each assignment awakens students to new ideas, not just about PR but about the world and how it works. Even if they never work for a corporation’s communications team and never have to write another CSR memo, students will encounter corporate social responsibility as a consumer.

And with corporate social responsibility the stakes are high. The news this week included two of the more interesting CSR efforts I’ve heard of in awhile: Target refusing the reverse its gender inclusive public restroom policy despite a potential consumer boycott and Pfizer blocking its drugs from being used for lethal injections in prisons. In Target’s case, the company inserted itself into the national dialogue about transgender equality, a bold move. In Pfizer’s case, the company took a stand against the death penalty, another fraught issue. Both were ultimately about how the company treats people, one of the three ‘P’s in the triple bottom line (people, planet and profits). The Pfizer case reminded me of a CSR initiative we examined in class: when CVS decided not to sell cigarettes. In these instances, the companies decided – in different ways – that a product was incompatible with their values.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

On that note, here’s the first item of this week’s insPiRation: Nike, a company well-known to UO students, just announced Nike adopts ambitious environmental, workplace goals (The Oregonian).

PS: In keeping with the corporate social responsibility theme, the typewriter pictures this week are all of recycled typewriters. Enjoy!

Environment… fashion…
Nike adopts ambitious environmental, workplace goals (The Oregonian)
What do you think of these new goals? Why is Nike announcing them now? What is the PR impact if the company doesn’t reach them? What about the polyester issue – and Nike recycling it – do consumers care about the ecological impact of their shoes and athletic wear?

Race… Fashion… Ad & PR…
Study Finds That 78% of Models in Fashion Adverts Are White (The Guardian)
Why should the fashion industry include more models of color? Do the labels that do generate goodwill with their audiences?

Courtesy of Beading Gem

Courtesy of Beading Gem

Race… TV & Cinema…
Oscars Less White? There’s No Shortage of Black Films in 2016 (The New York Times)
Do you think these films can help repair the damage done to the motion picture industry last year? Has public pressure led to progress?

TV & Cinema…Aviation…
Air France Partners With Cannes to Ensure Passengers Don’t Miss Endings of In-Flight Films (Mashable)
Savvy marketing move, yes. But might this anger non-Cannes fliers? What would be the PR boon if airlines offered this benefit to all customers?

Air Canada Blames Computer System for $4,000 Airfares to Leave Fort McMurray (Mashable)
Did Air Canada handle this crisis appropriately? Should it have transported people for free/refunded all of customers’ money? If computer error really is to blame how should Air Canada plan for the future to avoid another #PRFail?

Women’s Fitness…
These Women Show Why the #LoveMyShape Movement is So Freakin’Empowering (Shape)
The #LoveMyShape campaign seems to make sense for Shape Magazine as a way to use social media to engage with audiences and build positive connections. But do you think audiences will be turned off by what could be perceived as a cynical play by Shape? Can Shape really claim to have “been covering the body positivity movement all along”? What does it say about the campaign when the main photo with the article features buff, toned women?

Wine… beverage …tourism…
Pouring Over Portland (Wine Enthusiast)
It’s no secret to Oregonians and Portlandians (?) that the Rose City is a hub for great local wine and beer. But what does it mean when Wine Enthusiast takes notice? How might Portland/Oregonian tourism or economic development authorities use this positive PR to drive tourism and business? Is getting recognized by mainstream, well-established publications hurtful to Portland’s low-key, “weird” image?

Budweiser Rebrands Itself ‘America’ (Just Temporarily) (The New York Times)
What do you think of this rebrand – smart or not? How might this play with audiences – (does everyone view patriotism and what it means to be American the same way)?

Sports… college sports…
Women’s Sports: A Man’s Game (Reveal)
Does anyone care what happens to women coaches? What will it take for athletic programs to treat women coaches with respect? How can PR play a positive role here?

Texas Lt. Gov. Would Forfeit Billions Over Anti-Trans Discrimination. Here’s What That Means for Schools (The Huffington Post)
In addition to the financial cost, what might be the cost to Texas’ audiences? For instance, will researchers want to work at Texas universities if they can’t get funded? On the other side, does the lieutenant governor know his core audience: his constituents? If a majority agree with him, is this a good PR strategy? Why or why not?

Ion Tiriac, Madrid Open’s Owner, Has Views on Women’s Pay, and Legs (The New York Times)
Even as a tournament owner provides equal pay he undercuts a progressive message with sexist comments. Where does tennis fit in the wider debate about equal pay for female professional athletes? Does tennis have a PR issue here? What are the PR challenges for the WTA when progress is mixed with backsliding?

Africa’s First Gay Rugby Team is Using Slurs to Change Perception (The Washington Post)
“We are a small club with no budget, so we thought we’d launch a recruitment campaign that might get picked up by a few local publications, especially in the LBGTQI community,” Kuni said. “We’ve been floored by the response.” – So how did athletes create a killer PR campaign? What did they do right? What do you think about athletes taking PR into their own hands? Why were the tactics effective at breaking down taboos about homosexuality in sports, particularly rugby?

Content We Love: Press Release Taps Into Millennials’ Travel FOMO (PR Newswire)’s Survey Breaks Down Travel FOMO: Who’s Got It, What’s On the Line, and Where Would They Go? (PR Newswire)
How should tourism PR professionals alter or create new strategies based on the survey results about Millennials’ travel preference? Thoughts on how leveraged research to inform its media relations strategy?

Courtesy of Pinterest

Courtesy of Pinterest

Krispy Kreme Clinic: An Ill-Advised Naming is Soon Reversed (Nonprofit Quarterly)
Thoughts on the bizarre PR strategy of the North Carolina’s Children’s Specialty Clinic? Did changing course help or hurt? Why does message and mission correlation matter so much to nonprofits?

Uses Bash Instagram’s New Logo (Ragan)
How can brands, especially social media ones, respond to bad press about things like logos? Do tech companies face unique PR challenges? How might the company engage audiences in advance of and after launch?

Obama Toasts Nordic Nations at Star-Studded State Dinner (NBC News)
State dinners are powerful events designed to further a country’s political goals. How was this one planned to accomplish particular messages – Nordic countries’ leadership on civil rights and climate change, and on a unified front against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the Baltics? Why are celebrities who have nothing, ostensibly, to do with politics invited – and what message does that send (good or bad)?


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