Breakfast Briefing, 8.23.2017: The 7 stories PR pros need to know on Wednesday morning

The #hashtag turns 10; WPP's Q2 earnings; Phoenix rally highlights; Walmart and Google team up.

The #hashtag turns 10: Ten years ago, the first hashtag came to be, courtesy of Twitter. Currently, an average of 125 million hashtags are tweeted per day. The social network’s head of global brand strategy, Alex Josephson, reflected on the evolution of the hashtag over the past decade, and shared tips and lessons learned for brands. PRWeek has also compiled 10 hashtags that defined the decade, and five ways the hashtag has influenced our culture.

Tell us your thoughts on the hashtag: Is it still relevant for brands?

Growth slows for WPP’s PR and public affairs arm in Q2: Like-for-like revenue in the division rose 0.6% to $376 million in Q2, against growth of 4.4% in the first quarter, the company said in this morning, citing a "much tougher" 2017 overall, according to PRWeek U.K. Net sales margins fell 0.1 points to 14%, although Ogilvy PR, Cohn & Wolfe, and the specialist public relations companies Glover Park and Ogilvy Government Relations, showed "improved margins" in the first half of the year. For the holding company as a whole, like-for-like revenue fell 0.8% to $4.9 billion in the quarter, with overall revenue up 10% or 0.3% on a constant currency basis.

Phoenix rally: Trump blames media for divided country: During an hour-long speech last night, President Trump blamed the "dishonest media" for inaccurately portraying his stance on the racially charged violence in Charlottesville. He also spoke against illegal immigration, explaining that Joe Arpaio, the hard-line former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, would eventually be pardoned.  "I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy," Trump said. He also threatened to shut down the government over border wall funding and said the North American Free Trade Agreement is likely to be terminated. Protests by thousands at the rally turned from peaceful into chaotic by the end of the night.

A new crowd-size controversy: Trump supporters shared photos, according to media reports, of "huge" crowds at the rally on social media. The photos were quickly debunked as fake after it was discovered they were from a championship parade for the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team.  

Coyotes weigh in: Hours before Trump’s rally, the Arizona Coyotes' posted a message of "inclusion" on social media, using the hashtag #PhoenixRally. The post received a mix reaction, but garnered over 400 retweets, including by the NHL's official Twitter page, along with actress and Trump critic Alyssa Milano.

In other odd political news: The official web site for the Arizona branch of the Republican Party used a cast photo from a 23-year-old Margaret Cho sitcom to advertise its commitment to diversity. The image has been taken down.

Watch out, Amazon: Walmart is teaming up with Google to offer hundreds of thousands of items for voice shopping through Google Assistant. The capability will be available in late September.

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