Marketing Minute — April 2024

Marketing Minute — April 2024


Flip flops are typically a summer thing, at least around here. Even National Flip Flop Day isn’t until after Memorial Day. But April 2024 felt a bit like a celebration of flip-flops. Cookies. TikTok. ESG. X. There was enough flip-flopping to make any politician proud. And some (or all) of it may have major implications for marketers, and consumers, depending upon where it finally stops.


Check out the April Marketing Minute.


1. TikTok Ban is Coming Closer to Reality  


On April 24, President Biden signed a bill into law mandating ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to sell the app within a year or face a ban in the U.S.  If a ban happens, it will significantly impact how brands and organizations interact with and build audiences. It could have a devastating impact on the creator economy and small businesses alike. And it likely will fuel a resurgence of content on Instagram, with 60% of TikTok users indicating that if the app was banned, they would use Instagram Reels regularly.


2. ESG pivots


Global CPG Unilever, which produces everything from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to Dove beauty products, is scaling back environmental and social pledges — the latest company to do so after finding itself in the crosshairs of customer demands and shareholder pressure. It’s just another example of big brands backtracking on ESG pledges (and the campaigns that made such promises). 


3. Postponed … Again


Security and privacy concerns prompted Google in 2020 to pledge the removal of third-party cookies from its Chrome browser for enhanced user security. However, Google has recently postponed this move for the third time. While many encounter “accept cookies” prompts, it’s crucial to distinguish between first-party cookies, which are website-generated, and third-party cookies, which are placed by external sources for their own purposes. Given ongoing debates, third-party cookies are likely to remain in use for the foreseeable future.


4. Trustworthiness Called Into Question


NPR, known as a gold standard of U.S. media, has recently come under fire from conservatives for allowing a liberal bias to inform their journalism. This comes on the heels of Uri Berliner, a senior business editor who has worked at NPR, publishing an essay expressing his concerns for the trajectory of NPR’s reporting. The New York Times is also facing internal pushback on choices made by the paper while covering the war between Israel and Hamas. In PR Daily’s words, “leadership is trying to maintain an appearance of neutrality while staffers want to push farther in either direction.”

But why does this matter? In the current climate in the U.S. where misinformation runs rampant and our differences feel more prominent than our similarities, trust in the media is imperative and fair reporting has never been more important


5. Don’t Anger Music Fans


When discussing “angry” music fans, the Swifties or Beyhive often are front and center. This time, Billy Joel fans had a bone to pick with CBS after the network unexpectedly cut off the broadcast network special of the singer’s 100th concert at Madison Square Garden. And CBS probably couldn’t have handled the situation any worse. Fans took to social media to air their complaints, while CBS fumbled its response to viewers. Cutting off Billy Joel during Piano Man is a mistake, but in this case, CBS escalated the issue from bad to worse after it failed to use social media to defuse the situation or bring concert clips to users in short-form content. In short, always have a crisis plan in place.  


6. Social Media Moves 

New in social this month …  X may be charging new X users a small fee to enable posting on the platform in order to, “curb the relentless onslaught of bots.” Additionally, high-profile users will no longer have the option to hide their blue checkmarks. Meta introduced an AI chatbot across its most popular apps, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. Positioned as a “free virtual assistant” some are wary of this change, with reporters indicating that the integration can’t be trusted and users looking to remove AI from their search bar. 

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