Five things PR pros need to know Wednesday morning, 11.5.2014

GOP routs Democrats in midterm elections; latest Rob Lowe-DirecTV ad not funny to all; GM offers gift cards as part of recall.

1. The 2014 midterm elections were a resounding victory for Republicans, who expanded their grip on the House of Representatives, took control of the Senate, and won a number of hotly contested gubernatorial races, including surprises in Illinois and Maryland.

The media narrative that emerged Tuesday night was that voters were fed up with President Barack Obama’s policies. GOP leaders called the election results a mandate to give the country a new direction.

The vote sets the stage for early sparring in the 2016 presidential contest. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) called the election a rejection of assumed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who, of course, was not on the ballot but campaigned for allies.

In terms of issues subject to referendum, measures to increase the minimum wage won in numerous states, and Berkeley, California — where else? — became the first municipality to tax soda and sugary beverages. Voters in two states and Washington, DC, approved recreational pot use by adults.

While cable news coverage has incorporated social media and other technology in recent elections, Mashable took a step back with #LegoSenate, commenting, "The Democrats got bricked tonight." Well played, Mashable.

2. Activist investor Elliot Management is campaigning for more seats on the board of Interpublic Group as it pushes for a sale of the holding company. IPG owns and operates Weber Shandwick, Golin, DeVries Global, and other PR firms.

3. A group representing people who suffer from bladder shyness has objected to the latest DirecTV ad featuring actor Rob Lowe, in which he interacts with a "painfully shy" version of himself. Says the awkward version of Lowe while standing at a urinal, "Fact: I can’t go with other people in the room."

4. With half of recalled General Motors cars with malfunctioning ignition switches still unfixed, the automaker is offering $25 gift cards to customers who get their cars repaired.

5. Is begging for a sweetheart to return an effective communications strategy? That’s part of Spotify’s plan to get Taylor Swift’s music back on its streaming service, as is creating playlists expressing its unrequited love for the pop star.

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