2020’s top 20 most read stories

Dogs, cats and brands telling consumers that they should absolutely not inject bleach into their bodies.

1. ‘Your new logo is cold and lifeless’: Consumers outraged after Petco removes cat and dog from logo
December 11

Brands, repeat after me: “I will not mess with pets.” Now say it again. Otherwise, marketers risk a social media backlash like Petco got after it removed Ruff and Mews from its logo.

2. ‘Someone is getting fired in Lightlife marketing today’: Impossible Foods hits back at Clean Break campaign
September 1

Lightlife went hard at its plant-based burger rivals by taking out ads in major newspapers mocking their ingredients and methods, and Impossible Foods’ Rachel Konrad was not having it. Her team penned blog posts and responded on social media to the accusations, which she called “fear mongering.”

3. ‘We will continue to fight to support her’: AT&T backs spokesperson Milana Vayntrub after online harassment
August 31

Actress Milana Vayntrub, also known as Lily Adams from the brand’s commercials, went on Instagram Live to talk about being the target of harassment from internet trolls. AT&T vowed to disable sexist and mean-spirited comments from its online channels.

4. Lysol and Clorox respond to Trump comment about injecting disinfectant
April 24

Here’s a new one for your crisis playbook: What to do in case the president of the United States encourages the public to use your product in a not so safe way. And here’s the case study via disinfectant brands Clorox and Lysol.

5. Uber laughs off ‘Walking Buddy’ option
January 14

What if you’re really lonely and just want someone to walk with? Uber can help, for a small fee, at least according to some photoshopped social media posts. The “walking buddy” option is not real, which is good, because it’s creepy as hell.

6. 40 Under 40 2020
August 3

Shameless plug: this is the best annual list of the communications industry’s up and coming talent, featuring everyone from agency founders to crisis wranglers at technology giants.

7. Wendy’s never directly named McDonald’s in trolling tweets, until now
February 6

Wendy’s, queen of the sharp-elbowed burger chain social media accounts, had never taken on McDonald’s by name on Twitter until February, when it rolled out its breakfast menu with these fighting words: “Hey @McDonalds, roast us.”

8. Slim Jim remembers Andy Hines, creator of the Long Boi Gang
May 11

Hines, who helped create Slim Jim’s voice on social media, died on May 6 at the age of 35. He coined the nickname “Long Bois” for Slim Jims and the “Long Boi Gang” for their fans.

9. Edelman cuts staff by nearly 7%
June 2

CEO Richard Edelman called the decision, nearly three months after he promised not to lay off employees, “gut-wrenching” as the firm reduced its headcount by 390 positions. It also asked for salary reductions scaled by compensation level.

10. Best Places to Work 2019
January 6

Remember things like open office plans? Or swanky office kitchens? Or attending meetings without the fear of your pet loudly demanding a midday snack? These were all features of the 2019 Best Places to Work, the last Best Places to Work list of The Time Before.

11. Twitter fail: Gap deletes political hoodie tweet after backlash
November 4

Read the room, Gap. Social media is not the place for high-minded messages of unity during the week of a presidential election, and definitely not the place for a two-tone hoody with the colors of the two major U.S. political parties.

12. How brands are positioning their messages during COVID-19
March 25

This feels like decades ago, but here’s a look at how brands rethought their messages in the first weeks of the crisis, when, of course, we all thought we’d be back in the office by Memorial Day at the latest.

13. PRWeek US Awards 2020: The winners
July 30

New virtual ceremony format, same incredible talent and work. Check out the Campaign of the Year, Railroad Ties from Ancestry and Weber Shandwick.

14. PRWeek US Power List 2020
July 7

Procter & Gamble’s Damon Jones was the first Black executive to top PRWeek’s annual Power List after assuming the top communications role at the CPG company during the most uncertain time in recent history.

15. Kathryn Beiser exits Kaiser Permanente
February 11

In the most-read-about people move story of the year, Kathryn Beiser left insurance giant Kaiser Permanente, where she was chief communications officer. She resurfaced at Eli Lilly & Co. a few weeks later as its VP of global communications.

16. Why one brand labeled ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ star Alexis Bledel ‘dangerous’
January 23

Whatever you do, don’t Google Alexis Bledel. “The Handmaid’s Tale” star was the most likely celebrity in 2019 to lead users who searched for her online to sites infected with malware or a virus, according to cybersecurity firm McAfee.

17. Wendy’s called out by former social media manager over Trump donations
June 4

Wendy’s said it never donated to a presidential campaign. That’s not exactly true, according to Amy Brown, one of the former “sass masters” behind its beloved Twitter account, who tweeted that she “had some things to say” about her one-time employer’s statement. And did she ever!

18. L’Oreal faces backlash for Black Lives Matter post
June 2

Trans model Munroe Bergdorf accused L'Oréal Paris of "gaslighting,” following a post from the brand in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Three years ago, L'Oréal parted ways with Bergdorf, its first transgender ambassador, after she spoke out about the racism surrounding Charlottesville’s 2017 Unite the Right rally, which left three dead and more injured.

19. Hall of Femme 2020
March 11

Shameless plug, part two: the PRWeek 2020 Hall of Femme class includes 16 women who epitomize best practice in the PR industry and act as role models for the next wave of leaders.

20. Agency Business Report 2020
April 21

Data, analysis, profiles, in-depth features, context: the most comprehensive overview of the PR agency sector out there. And an early look at how firms handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

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