Breakfast Briefing: 5 things for PR pros to know on Thursday morning

A fly steals show at VP debate; Cognito hires Rowan Benecke as U.S. president.

So, who won the vice presidential debate? VP Mike Pence and Democratic VP nominee Kamala Harris sparred over President Donald Trump's COVID-19 response, climate change, police reform and the Supreme Court on Wednesday night. Outlets such as The New York TimesCNNNBC and Fox News weighed in on who they thought won the debate.

But what really stole the show? A fly. Social media users went wild over a fly that landed on Pence’s head for two minutes during the debate and Joe Biden’s campaign team quickly capitalized on it by putting up fly swatters for sale imprinted with the text: “Truth over flies.” Biden also tweeted the website, "flywillvote.com," which redirects to iwillvote.com, a website where people can check if they're registered to vote. Merriam-Webster tweeted that “fly” was trending on its own site for “quite possibly the first time." Oh, and someone created a Twitter page for @MikePenceFly that already has over 13,000 followers.

Cognito has hired Rowan Benecke as U.S. president. Benecke joined the financial communications specialty shop on September 29 and reports to global CEO Tom Coombes. Most recently, Benecke was chief growth officer at Ruder Finn. PRWeek has the full story.

The New York Times wants to help brands address controversial issues. The paper launched Pivotal, an advertising insights program aimed at providing marketing partners with research and guidance on the best ways to address issues such as race, climate, sex, gender, tech and money.

Unsure if it’s safe to go out on Halloween? Hershey has the perfect solution. The candy company launched a website (Halloween2020.org) that maps how to trick-or-treat safely in every county in the U.S. by showing users the risk of COVID-19 in their local community. Users can search by state or county and see real-time numbers of new cases. Allison Kleinfelter, director of commercial and corporate brand communications for Hershey, told PRWeek all the details behind the effort.

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