The 5 stories PR pros need to know on Friday morning, 4.22.2016

China hears out U.S. PR agencies for image-boosting account; Interpublic earnings; Brands flub Prince tributes; Uber settles critical class-action lawsuits; Earth Day 2016.

The 5 stories PR pros need to know on Friday morning, 4.22.2016

China turns to U.S.-based PR firms to burnish image
Five of the biggest PR firms in the world are pitching China, which isn’t happy with the way it’s being portrayed in the West. Edelman, FleishmanHillard, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Ketchum, and Ogilvy Public Relations have all met with the communist country’s government for a wide-ranging, image-boosting account, according to Reuters.

New Friday morning: IPG numbers
Interpublic’s Constituency Management Group, which contains most of its PR firms, saw a 3.2% organic revenue increase in the first quarter of this year to $340.4 million, while the holding company as a whole reported organic revenue growth of 6.7%. Operating income and net income were up. Interpublic owns and operates Weber Shandwick, Golin, DeVries, and others.

Some brands flub Prince tributes
As word spread of Prince’s death at age 57, people, cities, and brands rushed to pay tribute. Some (Google’s) were better received than others, such as tweets quickly deleted by Hamburger Helper and Cheerios. U.K.-based DIY chain Homebase had second thoughts about its tribute tweet on Friday morning.

Uber settles two critical lawsuits
The ride-hailing company settled two class-action lawsuits with major effects on its business model. It will pay $100 million to groups of drivers in two states, but can continue to classify its drivers as independent contractors, rather than full-time employees.

Earth Day 2016
Google is celebrating Earth Day 2016, which is taking place as the planet sets unwanted temperature records every month, with a series of Doodles representing its biomes. Former AT&T executive and PRWeek Hall of Famer Marilyn Laurie was one of the founders of Earth Day in 1970.

What to know on Friday
Advisers to GOP leaders: Trump just "projecting an image." Sears, Kmart to close dozens more stores. NBA commissioner ratchets up pressure on North Carolina over LGBT law. FBI’s bill for hacking iPhone: $1.3 million. Alphabet revenue surges but misses expectations. Microsoft stock down after earnings miss. General Motors leaves expectations in the dust as net income doubles.

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