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

Unilever pledges increased marketing spend; Obama delivers scathing takedown of Trump.

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

Where Unilever saw growth in Q3. The CPG giant reported Q3 underlying sales growth of 4.4%. That is up from 2.9% a year earlier and well above analyst estimates for 1.3% growth. Total reported sales fell to $15.32 billion. Underlying sales of Unilever’s skin-cleansing products increased almost 20%, supported by Dove’s entry into the antibacterial segment, and the extension of Lifebuoy soap into new formats. Meanwhile, growth in Unilever’s food and refreshments arm was held back by restaurant closures, but the unit was boosted by at-home consumption of ice cream and other packaged goods. Additionally, Unilever’s e-commerce business grew 76% in the quarter. “We are investing heavily in marketing, let's be clear, to support our brand campaigns,” CFO Graeme Pitkethly said.

Former President Barack Obama’s scathing takedown of President Donald Trump. In Philadelphia on Wednesday night, Obama lambasted Trump’s handling of the pandemic. He noted that Trump isn’t suddenly going to protect the country because he can’t even “take the basic steps to protect himself.” Obama added, “This idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up is just not true.” Joe Biden’s campaign team strategically deployed Obama to Philadelphia in a bid to drum up Democratic enthusiasm in a state both campaigns are targeting as a must-win. In related news, here’s what to watch for in the final Trump-Biden presidential debate tonight. 

Remember Blue Bell Creameries’ 2015 listeria outbreak? A Texas grand jury has charged Paul Kruse, Blue Bell’s former CEO and president, with wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with an alleged scheme to cover up what the company knew about the listeria contamination in Blue Bell products, according to the Department of Justice. The ice cream was linked to 10 listeria cases in four states and resulted in three deaths in Kansas.

“I should have worn a mask.” Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday night stating that if people don’t wear masks, they “may regret it.” Christie, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 in recent weeks, wrote that it was “a serious failure” for him, as a public figure, to go maskless at the White House. He added, “When Americans are given proper and consistent information, they will overwhelmingly make good health choices, including the wearing of masks. But that doesn’t work if partisan media and public officials send mixed messages."

Here’s a campaign that made the pandemic slightly less painful for 2020 brides. Last month, director Paul Feig threw a virtual Zoom viewing party of his hit 2011 film Bridesmaids to promote his new spirit Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin. Charlie Dougiello, The Door’s cofounder and CEO, talked about his agency’s work on the campaign and gave PRWeek the inside story on its strategy, tactics and results.

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