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TODD SMITH — Social media overtakes TV as main source of news for millennials



The 18-24 crowd (younger Millennials) has used the internet as its primary source for news for several years. Now it is specifying “social media” as its main source of news, with that niche overtaking television for the first time.

The information comes from a study done by The Oxford University Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. It looked at consumers of news and information around the world for its “Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2016.” This is the fifth year it has issued such a report. It’s a fascinating report.

Twenty-eight percent of 18-24 year-olds say social media is their main source of news, compared to 24 percent who cite television.

Since 2013, the number of people in the US who say they get their news from social media has doubled – 46 percent now use social media for news.

A lot of news sites are ramping up their development of video, betting on it as a growth strategy. Ad revenue is better on video. But the study finds the news audience isn’t so keen on seeing video. More than three-quarters still rely on text. Many find video inconvenient, with 35 percent citing pre-roll advertisements as an annoyance. News tends to be consumed at work—and the person in the cubicle next to you isn’t always thrilled to hear the full-blast volume of a Geico ad.

When it comes to social media, Facebook rules the roost for sharing news. 44 percent of the survey respondents say they use Facebook for news, compared to just 10 percent from Twitter. 19 percent use YouTube for news. Snapchat, which is new to the news game, only registered one percent.

We love to share news. A quarter of us share news via social media at least once a week. An interesting note: people in the US generally share stories they approve of, but people in the UK are more likely to share stories about things they don’t like. Read into national character what you will.

What do social media news users want most? Breaking news. And this year, for the first time, the study tracked users of smart watches. They, too, want breaking news most on their device.

The study is comprehensive and well worth a read. The audience keeps shifting, and the only thing that’s predictable is that it gets more social and more fragmented in a digital world in motion!

Brands pitch in on Louisiana flood relief

Following historic floods in Louisiana, numerous brands pitching-in on relief efforts. Target, Walmart, Starbucks and Tide all contributed in the wake of the epic rainfall that flooded the area with more than 6.9 trillion gallons of water in August.

Target, which has six stores and over 1,000 staffers in the Baton Rouge area and other affected areas, has pitched in with volunteers and distribution of water and gift cards to local nonprofits. The retailer has also donated $100,000 each to the Salvation Army and American Red Cross.

Similarly, Walmart announced that its foundation will give $1 million to various nonprofits including the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank in support. In total, the retail chain is committing $1.5 million for food and supplies.

“We have been working closely with nonprofit partners, first responders, elected officials and governmental organizations to learn how we can use our strengths to help,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation, in a statement.

In late August, Tide, which is owned by Procter & Gamble, sent its Loads of Hope truck to Baton Rouge in order to collect, wash and dry laundry free of charge for victims affected by the floods. P&G also handed out cleaning products including Mr. Clean and Swiffer. Duracell also sent its truck with batteries and a charging station.

Starbucks donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross, and the brand encouraged customers and employees to text “LAFLOODS” to 90999 in order to donate $10 to the relief fund.

Some brands have taken their efforts in an untraditional direction. Pizza Hut started a GoFundMe page asking for contributions to help staffers affected by the tragedy.

In addition, the Ad Council and GSD&M recently unveiled a black-and-white ad, “Our Turn,” in response to the disaster, which is the country’s worst since 2012’s Hurricane Katrina. The film, which includes a voiceover from Matthew McConaughey, directs viewers to OurTurntoHelp.org.

Candy brands honor Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka

News of actor Gene Wilder’s death took the internet by storm, and opened a flood of candy-inspired, tributes to the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” from colleagues, fans and – Inevitably – candy brands.

During his long career, Wilder was known for many films including the Oscar-nominated “Young Frankenstein” and “Blazing Saddles.” But sweet-toothed brands have been chiming in on Twitter to thank the star for his contributions to, you guessed it, the world of chocolate for his turn as Willy Wonka.

The 90-year-old chocolatier Godiva Chocolates shared a tribute with its 17,200 followers:

“Thank you Gene Wilder for making chocolate truly magical, the original Willy Wonka.”

Also, the Twitter account for U.K. candy brand New Berry Fruits chose “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” as its film of the day. Smaller brands like candy retailer McMillers Sweets have also chimed in. It RIP’d the actor as the “original Candyman.”

While the tweets have attracted only positive remarks – and reminiscent smiles – so far, brands that choose to grieve celebrities publicly enter murky territory. There are big risks when it comes to summoning personal tragedy – particularly when your tribute mentions your product in the same breath.

Case in point: Crocs deleted its tribute to the late David Bowie (a shoe overlaid with the singer’s iconic lightning bolt) after Twitter users criticized it as opportunistic. Equally, Cheerios irked Prince fans with an RIP tweet that dotted the “I” with a single Cheerio.

Other messages for Wilder were more personal. DeBrand Fine Chocolates simply wrote that the actor was a childhood inspiration. While Dandelion Chocolate, a bean-to-bar factory in San Francisco, added that it showed Wilder’s 1971 classic every year.

Sweet memories, indeed, for one of our world’s greatest actors.

Melted Mic | Samsung’s Galactic Image Goes Up In Flames!

Samsung’s brand has melted into a tech nightmare!

The South Korean electronics giant was forced to suspend sales of its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7, last Friday because dozens of the handsets have exploded.

The phone, which has been extremely well reviewed, is now also being recalled worldwide, in a move that is likely to cost Samsung millions.

And compounding matters, the colossal disaster came on the eve of the launch of a new iPhone from Samsung’s archrival Apple – which launched new versions of its iPhone and watch on Wednesday.

It’s a hard to overstate this Galactic brand blunder!

When Samsung launched the Note 7, it had the stage to itself. It had the momentum. It had a very real shot at being the phone of 2016.

But it’s reputation exploded instead. And replacing 2.5 million devices will cost Samsung hundreds of millions of dollars, and could certainly melt its sterling reputation for quality, at least for the foreseeable future.

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.


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