New Merriam-Webster Words, Sean Spicer, TikTok and More


Happy Wednesday, Lunch Breakers! Fall is almost upon us, so we hope you’re savoring the last few official days of summer. While we’re counting the days to the first day of fall, here’s a sampling of the PR news we’re reading about this week.

New Words to Expand Your Vocabulary

This week, Merriam-Webster announced 533 new words and meanings to its dictionary. New words include “vacay” (abbreviation for vacation), “free solo” (like Alex Honnold’s amazing feat of climbing El Capitan without any artificial aids or safety equipment), “Bechdel test” (the set of criteria to evaluate a piece of work based on its representation of female characters) and “dad joke” (self-explanatory).

The most talked-about new word is “they,” which is “used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary.” This has been a hot topic in the last week when singer Sam Smith announced that they are non-binary and prefer they/them/their pronouns — to which AP promptly publishing a story about Smith’s announcement erroneously using he/him/his pronouns.

Spice Up Your Life

In one of the more bizarre turns of events and shifts in U.S. history (ok, that’s a bold claim, but we’re going with it), former White House press secretary Sean Spicer was cast on this season of Dancing with The Stars. His first dance of the season to the Spice Girls’ “Spice Up Your Life,” has been called “the most embarrassing Dancing with The Stars debut ever” and he was told by the judges that he was “offbeat for the majority of the song.”

Spicer’s appearance on the show is controversial due to his time in the White House where he delivered many claims that could be considered “fake news.” Some argue that Spicer’s casting was to draw in a more conservative audience, while others are angry that Spicer is trying to revamp his image. Regardless of whether Spicer is causing a PR crisis or just trying to rebrand, he’s definitely drawing a lot of attention to this season of Dancing with the Stars.

Protests Continue in Hong Kong

As protests in Hong Kong continue past the 100-day mark, the local government tapped eight global PR agencies in a plea to help rebuild its reputation with Westerners and further its “one country, two systems” message. This plea was quickly shut down with all of the agencies eventually declining. One agency criticized Hong Kong’s move and said that they shouldn’t be devising a PR strategy “while the streets are on fire.”

NFL Reaches a Younger Generation with TikTok

TikTok continues to be one of the fastest rising social media platforms, especially with younger generations. Last week, the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady joined TikTok on the same day the platform announced a multi-year deal with the NFL — convenient timing, huh?

The NFL aims to use TikTok to share updates and reach a younger demographic of fans through various hashtag challenges. We’re curious to see what comes of this deal and what other partnerships TikTok purses.

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