Pulitzers Announced, Pepsi Serves Up Its Own PR Crisis & Have You Met Mastodon?

Lunch Break: April 11

Lunch Break: April 11

Quick PR Reads You Can Tackle Between Bites

It seems spring is finally, thankfully, here. By our D.C. office, the cherry blossoms have already come and gone, faster than you can say, “Let’s take a stroll around the Tidal Basin this weekend.”

But of course, spring is more than budding blooms, and just like the weather, the communications industry has been a true mix of lion and lamb this past week. The news has been overcast with scattered showers of self-inflicted brand blunders from Pepsi and United, while Facebook attempts to fight back against fake news.

And hey, have you met Mastodon?

Pepsi Gives the World a Taste of White Privilege

Kendall Jenner cast aside her modeling wig, took a stand for diversity with a few fist-pumps, and offered a cop a Pepsi—an act that, if you’re black, is decidedly not met with the carefree grins of this ad. The Internet collectively cringed, and Pepsi quickly pulled the commercial. But how did this tone-deaf message get to production in the first place? New York Magazine talked to advertising pros to try to understand.

United Triggers its Own PR Crisis

In other shooting-yourself-in-the-foot news, United is being skewered for physically forcing a passenger off a plane after it overbooked its own flight. Doesn’t help that the man was a doctor, who declined to go willingly because he had to patients to tend to after he landed. Or that the man was injured while being carried off the plane. Doing business means risking the occasional crisis situation—but the road is a bit smoother if you can at least avoid triggering them yourself.

Facebook Tries to Curb Fake News

In an attempt to curb the spread of fake news through Facebook, the social network went right to its users last week. In 14 countries, the network placed fake news-spotting tips at the top of users’ feeds. But Fast Company warns the tips are so vague that they really just put users off media in general, and points a finger back at Facebook for not policing sources of fake news better.

And the Pulitzer goes to …

The 101st Pulitzer Prizes were awarded on April 10, recognizing the year’s greatest journalism and creative work. This year’s recognitions honored coverage of everything from questioning Donald Trump’s philanthropy to documenting the Philippines’ government assault on drugs dealers and users. Vox takes a dive into the winners across all 21 categories.

P.S. Are you tooting yet? Twitter-like open source network Mastodon grew by 73 percent last week after Twitter rolled out changes users didn’t love.

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