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Out of Scope: Issue 06
This week’s non-required thinking on reputation, business, and culture
This week, we revisit Governor Cuomo, consider social media reactions to violence against women, (celebrate? recognize? mourn? all of the above?) a full year of Coronavirus changing the world, examine The Royal Interview from a million angles, and, of course, talk about NFTs again.
📡 ON OUR RADAR
The Washington Post’s professional Tik Tok guy, Dave Jorgenson, gets our award of valor🏅 for making several hundred Tik Toks over the course of the past year that perfectly captured the news and the memes of the moment. He kept this thread going with his many, many videos - we recommend taking a look at this, this, and this to start your weekend off with a smile.
Not everyone’s International Women’s Day ads landed, but Billie, the women’s razor company, put out a campaign that delivered on their brand vision and raised really thoughtful questions for its audience.
We’re fans of reading and researching deeply before starting to write - and we loved how Tressie McMillan Cottom captured this concept in a deep dive around the research she put into another excellent essay on Dolly Parton.
This week in social media reactions, people took to social media on two related issues: online (and televised!) harassment of NYT reporter Taylor Lorenz and the disappearance and murder of Sarah Everard in the UK. Women shared their own stories of taking drastic (but everyday) measures to protect themselves against online and physical danger, while the #NotAllMen crowd once again chimed in to insist that they were being lumped in with the “real” bad guys. We’ll leave this here.
LEGO is, of course, amazing - this week, we found ourselves targeted by this ad, which does an excellent job of recycling past successful work and transforming it into something new and relevant to the moment.
A worthy listen: a conversation between Ezra Klein and author Cal Newport. Slack is the right tool for the wrong way to work, Newport says. He’s not wrong. When we launched HL, we attempted “deep work Thursdays.” We didn’t make it past the first hour.
We don’t blame the WSJ reporter who left an inadvertent ‘yay!’ in this story about COVID-19 relief. Along those lines, we acknowledge the one year anniversary of the U.S. realizing COVID-19 was a thing.
More image-making news out of the UK, Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has made a self-promotional video to sell his new budget. The production values are so high, some are wondering if he’s not fitting himself for a new role as successor to Boris Johnson.
The most regal media story of the week may not be Harry and Meghan, but Dolly Parton’s Amazing Grace being put forward as a possible state hymn of Tennessee. Wealthy, magnanimous, and uniquely self-styled, is Dolly now the unofficial spiritual leader of Tennessee, just as Queen Elizabeth is the head of the Church of England?
🏆 REPUTATION FAIL OF THE WEEK: Burger King
What a way to kick off the week - Burger King launched a campaign online and in print centered on the phrase “Women Belong in the Kitchen.” While we get what they were going for (they meant to celebrate the launch of a program dedicated to increasing the number of women chefs), somehow, in all of the meetings that probably happened before this launched, no one stopped to think about how it might land.
We’re curious to hear (if we ever do) how all of this plays out in the aftermath of being put on blast. The brand’s CMO did step in to apologize for the miscalculated campaign, but what’s next for their social media team? (Also, key point - there is no way that Burger King’s social media is being run by an intern. “Social media intern” jokes are officially outdated.)
💡ON OUR MINDS
THE QUEEN OF TV, THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND, AND THE DUCHESS OF SUSSEX 👑
In case you somehow missed it… Oprah interviewed Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. You can catch it on CBS’s website for free in the next month, and it’s well worth a watch. Oprah, per usual, was an incredible interviewer, making space for bombshell revelations about the inner workings of the British monarchy without dehumanizing her subjects.
Among the largest of the divulgences: someone asked about the color of Harry and Meghan’s baby Archie before he was born, alleging some serious colorism and racism within the monarchy’s ranks.
To Buckingham Palace’s credit, their crisis comms response was surprisingly quick and brief, responding to the interview’s revelations with a short statement the day after it aired in the UK on Monday (it aired in the US on Sunday night).
It was the interview that launched a thousand memes; if you haven’t yet seen some of the perfect posts combined with Oprah’s reactions (“What?” “Were you silent or were you silenced?” and The Hands) - you need to check those out immediately.
Plus: Axios’s Sara Fischer pointed out that many of TV’s top-performing interviews have been conducted by women:
A definite loser in all of this? Piers Morgan. Sometimes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, you might not want to say anything at all. Especially if you’ve previously shared that Meghan met Prince Harry immediately following your own meeting with her, and you’re a bit bitter about all of that.
The simmering issue here may also be wealth. For a monarchy that is an ornament to the Commonwealth, there is nothing symbolic about how much it costs to keep the Queen and her family living royally. While other aristocrats have turned their estates into tourist attractions and rely on the residue of ancient fortunes, the Queen and her son have, in addition to their state stipend, done well for themselves by expanding their private fortunes. The source of a fortune and the reputation its owners command are linked. Can we fault Hary and Meghan for wanting to forge their own cache of both?
The prophet in all of this was John Oliver in 2018. As somebody who also makes a living out of his own image, it is no wonder that he foresaw how marrying into a family of rival image-makers would make for some serious complications.
NON-FUNGIBLE WHAT? 🪙
At the very least, we’ve all at least heard of the concept of non-fungible tokens, even if we can’t completely articulate it -- though we appreciate Rob Gronkowski’s attempt.
It has not taken long for brands to jump into the fray, like Taco Bell coming in hot with 25 pieces of NFTacoBells, selling them for all of $1. Now they’re reselling for thousands.
As artists like Beeple reap in tens of millions, what’s the long-term brand play? Is it a marketing stunt? Or a new revenue stream?
Brands who are conscious about staying sustainable may want to watch out -- the average NFT has a footprint that’s equivalent to a two-hour plane ride.
We’ll see you here next week! 👋
The fine print:
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