Breakfast Briefing: 6 things for PR pros to know Monday morning

Rakuten hires Group SJR; What the Michael Jackson estate did during "Leaving Neverland" premiere; Vans is the star of the latest viral challenge; and other news to know.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Here’s what’s new from PRWeek this morning: Japanese online retail giant Rakuten has hired Group SJR for rebranding support as subsidiary Ebates’ brand name disappears. SJR has been tapped for internal communications, rebranding, and repositioning, said Kim Miller, CMO at Rakuten. She added that the rebrand should finish by Q4 2019. Rakuten acquired Ebates for $1 billion in September 2014 to establish a U.S. foothold, according to TechCrunch. 

The Michael Jackson estate dropped a concert film on YouTube during Sunday night’s "Leaving Neverland" premiere. The HBO documentary alleges that the late singer sexually abused boys. On Monday, a second concert film, "Live at Wembley Stadium," will air the same time as the second part of the documentary. The Jackson estate has been attempting to discredit the documentary, last month filing a $100 million lawsuit against HBO. 

The World Wide Fund for Nature, known as WWF, funds vicious paramilitary forces to fight poaching, according to an undercover investigation by BuzzFeed News. "WWF has provided high-tech enforcement equipment, cash, and weapons to forces implicated in atrocities against indigenous communities," BuzzFeed claims. The yearlong investigation will be published over the coming days, according to the publication’s website. 

Sneaker brand Vans is the star of the latest viral challenge. Twitter user @Ibelievthehype created a video on Saturday claiming that Vans sneakers will always land face-up when you throw them. Other users have followed suit by tossing their own skate shoes into the air. #Vans was trending on Twitter early on Monday.

AT&T is planning to revamp CNN’s digital arm. CNN’s new parent company is investing in the network’s digital news operations as more people are reading news on their phone. WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey is planning to invest in CNN’s apps and to tailor coverage based on readers’ interests, according to a Wall Street Journal report. An advertising company owned by AT&T called Xandr will be used to target individual users, the paper said.

Ted Baker founder and CEO Ray Kelvin resigned on Monday, following business colleagues’ "forced hugging" allegations against him. In response to an online campaign claiming to represent over 200 employees asking to end "a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged," the British fashion retailer announced an independent investigation into misconduct claims against the boss in December.

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