• Corporations Aim To Be Sensitive, 'Cancel' Proof
    Procter & Gamble, Sephora and Snap are among the major companies consulting diverse panels of community leaders, activists and academics to check their racial sensitivity. “The multiracial protests against police brutality last year prompted many companies to examine their role in combating systemic racism and pushing white Americans to reflect on their understanding of race and privilege — all while trying to increase market share,” per The Washington Post. “With every new well-meaning — or opportunistic, depending on the details — effort comes the potential for public and painful missteps.”
  • GM Denounces Attack Ad From Black-Owned Media
    General Motors has proclaimed an attack ad placed by seven Black-owned media owners in several national newspapers as being full of "factual inaccuracies and character assault.” The ad calls Barra racist for refusing to meet with the owners and for not allocating more of GM's advertising dollars with them. GM Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl met with the group Monday and a meeting with Barra is scheduled for Thursday, but GM is distressed that the ad has continued to run in The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. 
  • Rocket Mortgage Philanthropic Arm Donates $500 Million
    Rocket Mortgage’s philanthropic arm and its founder’s charitable foundation are donating $500 million to charitable efforts in Detroit over the next 10 years. The first allocation of $15 million will pay off property tax debit of 20,000 low-income Detroit homeowners. The groups plan to remain connected to the homeowners supported through the Detroit Tax Relief Fund “to shape future investments in economic opportunity and mobility,” per an announcement.
  • Florida Governor, Cruise Lines Threatens To Sue CDC Over Cruise Ban
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is threatening to file a lawsuit if one of the state's biggest tourism sectors is not allowed to resume operations soon. “Appearing at Port Canaveral with leaders from Carnival, Norwegian, Disney and Royal Caribbean cruise lines, DeSantis and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said they are exploring the state's legal options if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not allow U.S.-based cruising to resume by summer,” according to The Associated Press. “The state is the nation's cruise capital with three of the world's busiest ports: Miami, Port Canaveral near Kennedy Space Center, and Port …
  • Pepsi, Peeps Join Forces For Limited-Availability Carbonated Beverage
    In lieu of a new Peeps flavor, the marshmallow candy marketer is instead partnering with Pepsi for a limited-edition carbonated beverage. Marshmallow Cola comes in a three-pack of 7.5-oz. cans but will only be available as a prize in a sweepstakes that fans can enter by using #HangingWithMyPeeps on their social media photos. The contest is open for an undisclosed limited time, and it is not specified how many packs of the soda pop will be given out.
  • Ikea Hires Agency Veteran For Chief Creative Officer
    After a year of discussions, Ikea has hired agency veteran Linus Karlsson for the newly created role of chief creative officer for both product development and marketing and communication. His role creates a bridge between two groups that are typically separated in companies, observed The Wall Street Journal. The disruptions of the pandemic highlighted the need for change across various marketing functions, including placing an emphasis on boosting creativity, said Erika Intiso, marketing and communication manager at Ikea.
  • Retailers Expect Easter Shopping Surge
    Consumer confidence is booming thanks to new stimulus checks and positive trends in vaccinations, and Easter spending is expected to be the highest on record. Consumers plan to spend an average of $179.70 this Easter, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. A total of 79% of Americans will celebrate the holiday and spend a collective $21.6 billion (down slightly from last year's pre-pandemic forecast of $21.7 billion.)
  • China's Consumers Put Pressure On U.S. Brands
    As tensions worsen between China and the United States, American companies are experiencing the fallout. H&M is facing a boycott while Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Nike, Converse and Calvin Klein have lost their brand ambassadors.“Egged on by the ruling Communist Party, Chinese online activists are punishing foreign companies that have joined a call to avoid using cotton produced in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, where the authorities are waging a broad campaign of repression against ethnic minorities,” per The New York Times.
  • Vaccine Isn't Magic For Travel, Restaurant Industries
    While some Americans will feel safe dining out or flying within a few weeks of their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, 25% to 30% say they will wait until the nation reaches herd immunity, according to a Harris Poll survey for USA Today. “The sizeable share of people who prefer to wait until at least 70% of the population is immune could mean a less roaring launch to the rebound as some activity shifts to late summer and fall from midyear,” per USA Today.
  • NCAA March Madness Mobile Betting Big Business
    Office pools seem absolutely quaint these days. With online gambling now legal in 25 states, the 2021 NCAA tournament is big business for gaming sites. While the number of Americans placing bets this year—47 million—is expected to stay flat from 2019, wagers are expected to break the 2019 record of $8.5 billion, per Forbes. Many of them are using DraftKings, whose founder became a billionaire earlier this year.
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