Signal AI Weekly PR News Roundup 29 November 2019

11.29.19 / 6 min read

Research shows that Brexit dominates conversation as climate change is neglected

It’s no surprise that Brexit has been a hot topic in the UK since the 2016 referendum. However, with subjects like the current climate crisis hitting the news it’s revealing just how much Brexit is dominating the media. And by extension, our thoughts.

Working with Manifest and Offset Earth, we researched the discrepancy between media coverage of Climate Change and Brexit. Looking at media coverage of the two topics over the last year in particular, the discrepancy is clear as day.

The research is quoted in the Evening Standard: “Figures highlighting the disparity in the discussion, researched by Signal AI, show that up to the time of the data being gathered there had been around 2.9 million articles written about Brexit over 12 months, compared to 426,159 about climate change, when looking at print, online and broadcast articles in the UK.

In print and online alone, there were nearly 10 times as many pieces on Brexit than climate change, with 1,100,318 on the former compared to 139,606 on the latter.”

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Alarmingly, as the research states “We have just 11 years to act [on the climate crisis], and we’ve spent the last 3 years talking about Brexit.” However, it’s not all bad news. The publication of Offset Earth’s research and the #VoteLeaves campaign to get the climate crisis on the political agenda is a turning point.

One that will hopefully usher in a renewed sense of awareness that we are on the verge of environmental and ecological collapse. And importantly, a reinvigorated global push to tackle the climate crisis.

Source: Vote Leaves: Brexit dominates conversation as climate change is neglected, research shows, Evening Standard (27 November 2019).

Millennial mutt moneymaker: Mars CEO reveals how the booming pet industry is transforming their business

Every man, woman, and child seem to have a pet these days. With Millennials kicking off a new trend in pet ownership; pets are family, the first born child, or anything but a pet really. At least ‘a pet’ in the old sense of the word.

This might seem slightly odd to some generations, but for Millennials and younger gens this is the norm. And it doesn’t seem like it’s changing any time soon. And business are starting to notice. Watch the video below for CEO of Mars, Grant Reid’s thoughts on the Millennial mutt-moneymaker and how it will transform their business.

Source: Mars CEO reveals how millennials’ growing tendency to treat pets like children is transforming the $35 billion company’s business, Business Insider (24 November 2019).

Sony Music: Another big business jumps on the head-of-comms-hiring bandwagon

Here we are again, writing about another big brand that seems to be taking their PR and Comms in-house. Or at leats that’s what Sony Music‘s new head of Comms hire suggests as they jump on the bandwagon with Google, Huawei earlier this year, HSBC, Airbnb and more.

Back to Sony Music. The UK branch has appointed Jessica Carsen, formerly director of communications for The Times and The Sunday Times under News UK, as senior vice-president of communications. Having led on News UK’s communications strategy for a decade, Carsen is uniquely qualified to digitally disrupt the music giant.

Taking over from PR consultant Ted Cummings of Cloud PR, Carsen’s appointment is a sign of the in-housing times. She will run all external and internal communications, stakeholder engagement and corporate social responsibility. Working with all the Sony Music corporate divisions and labels.

What will Carsen do with the role to optimise Sony Music’s PR and Comms? Which big brand will in-house next? Watch this space.

Source: Sony Music hires new head of comms, PRWeek (24 November 2019).

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University of Bath hits PR gold with new research press release

It can be difficult these days to publish something that really captures the media’s attention. We see tenuous links between content and arbitrary holidays, or insurance research loosely linked to the latest Fast and Furious film. (The latter gained relative traction in the ‘silly story’ corner of the internet, a win for their PR team right? maybe, maybe not.)

But as difficult as it can be, sometimes the research is so hard hitting and relatable that the media can’t scramble to cover it quickly enough. This has been the case for the University of Bath and their new research. Their latest publication looks at US data to interrogate persistent social norms about male breadwinning and mental health.

The research concludes that “Husbands are least stressed when their wives earn up to 40 per cent of household income but they become increasingly uncomfortable as their spouse’s wages rise beyond that point and are most stressed when they are entirely economically dependent on their partner.”

Understandably, this academic proof of the pervasiveness of gender and societal norms has caused a PR furore. With the research featured on LinkedIn’s ‘Today’s news and views’ section and written about in numerous publications, including the DailyMail.

University of Bath and academic research one, and progress and equality zero.

Source: Husbands’ stress increases if wives earn more than 40 per cent of household income – new research, University of Bath (19 November 2019).

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Honourable mention: Brands react to Musks’ live demo muck-up

Okay, so this is technically from last week. But we love it, so it’s being snuck in.

We all watched on with bated breath at the live demo of Elon Musk’s new pet project, the Cybertruck. Would it be quite as incredible as the rumours stated it to be? Would Musk say something dubious, quotable, or downright genius? Would this new car, dare we say it, *whispers* change the world?

The question no one was asking, even Musk himself, was: are the windows actually bulletproof? The reality is, currently they’re not even Musk and ball proof. The live demo of Musk ‘testing’ the strength of the windows entirely backfired. The windows buckling and shattering under the sheer strength of a ball thrown by an average middle-aged man.

This could have blown up into a PR crisis, as you could imagine. But Musk managed the situation as best one could, with humility and a sense of humour. But that hasn’t stopped brands mocking him relentlessly for the live demo muck-up. Design studios have edited the video to look as if the demo worked, brands have brought out ads throwing balls at their products (none of which shatter by the way), and much more.

Moral of the story? Test, test, and re-test if you’re going to attempt anything along the lines of a live demo (!). But also, humility and a sense of humour can go a long way. If something doesn’t quite go to plan or a genuine mistake is made, be humble.

And anyway, in the words of Musk, problems can always be solved in post anyway. 😉

Source: Brands react to Elon Musks’ live Cybertruck demo gone wrong, PRWeek (22 November 2019).

Tune in next week for another Signal AI news roundup of the top PR news of the week. But for now, you can find out more about us here.