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Hallmark's same-sex marriage gaffe shows how social media is raising the stakes for marketers –



Hallmark’s rapid reversal on a same-sex marriage advertisement is a reflection of how rapidly the cross-currents of social media can change — and a lesson for brands on how responding to online feedback can be a double-edged sword in the age of Twitter.

Hallmark’s announcement Sunday that it would reinstate a commercial from wedding-planning site Zola showing a lesbian couple kissing came less than a week after its earlier decision to stop running the ad, following online petitions from two conservative groups objecting to the commercial.

Dec. 16, 201902:40

After Hallmark pulled the ad, it faced an online firestorm. Hashtags such as #BoycottHallmark gained traction and the company was criticized by LGBT-rights groups and celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, who tweeted, “Isn’t it almost 2020? @hallmarkchannel, @billabbottHC… what are you thinking? Please explain. We’re all ears.”

“This story really shows us that brands have to move quickly today when it comes to making decisions,” said Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

“Hallmark moved very quickly to reverse their decision, and it’s unusual where you see a company make a big decision like this and then reverse the decision so quickly. This also really reflects how powerful social media is today,” he said.

Social channels make it easy for consumers to interact with and react to marketing messages in real time, Calkins said. “There is an opportunity to impact marketing with these social media efforts.”

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Todd Sears, founder and CEO of Out Leadership, said that brands are realizing they have to adapt their strategies as acceptance of same-sex marriage has become mainstream. “So many Americans, the majority, consider themselves allies to LGBT people,” he said. Whereas brands 10 or even five years ago might have specifically targeted only those consumers, today they need to be cognizant of the much larger market of people who view themselves LGBT supporters, he said.

“I can’t think of many companies that would have made a mistake like this in 2019,” Sears said, but he added that Hallmark’s prompt response and the tone it set could prevent any long-term fallout to the brand’s reputation. “It seems they learned a very hard lesson very quickly,” he said.

“Its apology was very heartfelt and there was an earnestness, a sincerity in the apology,” Calkins said.

Mike Perry, president and CEO of Hallmark Cards, said in a statement Sunday, “We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” and said the executives who made the decision to initially pull the ad had been “agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused.”

Consumers today expect marketing campaigns to be inclusive and socially aware — and when brands fail on that front, they face criticism in nearly real time.

Consumers today expect marketing campaigns to be inclusive and socially aware, Calkins said. When brands fail on that front, they face criticism in nearly real time.

“People are holding companies to higher standards,” he said, citing the Peloton commercial that elicited charges of sexism on social media. “People expect companies to be leaders in conversations.”

Calkins also pointed out that one brand’s stumble can be another’s opportunity. In the wake of the Zola commercial controversy, other media platforms responded with messages of their own promoting inclusivity. “Titles Featuring Lesbians Joyfully Existing And Also It’s Christmas Can We Just Let People Love Who They Love/Let It Snow/Merry Happy Whatever,” Netflix said in a weekend tweet.

With more companies choosing to highlight same-sex couples or families in their advertising, Sears said the fact that Hallmark bowed to pressure from conservative groups in the first place is an indication of what he characterized as “the toxic political and social culture that the country is in right now.”

“Look at the erosion of LGBT rights under President Donald Trump’s administration,” he said. “We’re seeing there’s a culture of intolerance that has pervaded the country, and with that is a license to say things that otherwise would have been considered discriminatory.”

For brands, this can mean walking a tightrope when it comes to not offending a politically polarized consumer base. “In general, marketing leaders try to avoid controversy,” Calkins said, noting how quickly Hallmark initially responded to social media criticism from conservative groups before making its about-face. “What they didn’t think through was that the one controversy would lead to another controversy,” he said.

NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, and Comcast Ventures are investors in Zola. Comcast owns NBCUniversal.

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Newest council appointment resigns after controversial social media posts surface – CityNews Toronto



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  1. Newest council appointment resigns after controversial social media posts surface  CityNews Toronto
  2. Newly appointed Toronto councillor resigns after controversial social media posts resurfaced  CTV News Toronto
  3. Toronto politician accused of homophobic social media posts resigns from city council  blogTO
  4. Toronto’s newest councillor resigns hours after she was appointed  Global News
  5. View Full coverage on Google News

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Media Advisory: Ministers Stoodley and Davis to Attend Run for Women in Support of Stella's Circle – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador



On Sunday, June 26 the Honourable Sarah Stoodley, Minister of Digital Government and Service NL and the Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, will attend the LOVE YOU’ by Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women, in support of women’s mental health programs at Stella’s Circle.

The event is set to begin at 8:45 a.m. at Quidi Vidi Lake, 115 The Boulevard, St. John’s.

The Run for Women is held in 18 cities throughout Canada and focuses on Women’s Mental Health. Funds raised go to this year’s charity partner, Stella’s Circle, to specifically support programming at Naomi House and the Just Us Women’s Centre. The event also promotes physical movement as a means to creating better positive mental health outcomes.


Media contacts
Krista Dalton
Digital Government and Service NL
709-729-4748, 685-6492

Lynn Robinson
Environment and Climate Change
709-729-5449, 691-9466

2022 06 24
1:40 pm

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Newly appointed Toronto councillor resigns after controversial social media posts resurfaced – CTV News Toronto



A newly installed Toronto councillor has resigned after her old social media posts, which appear to show homophobic content, were unearthed hours following her appointment.

Rosemarie Bryan was appointed by city council as the new councillor for Ward 1 – Etobicoke North during a special meeting on Friday, filling the vacancy left by Michael Ford, who ran in June’s provincial election and won.

After she was appointed, however, Bryan’s alleged past social media activities, which appears to show her sharing anti-LGBTQ content, were brought to light.

Friday was the start of the Pride Toronto’s Festival Weekend, which features the return of the Pride Parade to downtown streets on Sunday following a two-year hiatus.

Several councillors posted to social media that had they known about Bryan’s posts, they would not have voted for her to fill the seat.

“A majority of councillors would have never this (way) had this information been brought forward. We relied too heavily on the recommendation being made by former councillor,” Coun. Mike Layton tweeted.

“We need to reopen this debate.”

Of the 23 councillors who cast their ballots, 21 voted for Bryan, including Mayor John Tory.

Coun. Josh Matlow, one of the two councillors who did not vote for Bryan, called for her resignation, tweeting that he does not believe “anyone who supports hate and bigotry should be a Toronto city councillor, or hold any public office for that matter. This is disgraceful.”

On Friday night, Bryan released a statement announcing that she is resigning, saying it’s the best way to continue serving those who love and support her in Etobicoke North.

Bryan said she is devastated that her past online posts are being “thrown against my decades of commitment to the community.”

“I recognize councillors were not aware of those posts before today’s discussion and now that they are, I recognize many would not have cast their vote for me. I don’t want to hurt all those who supported me and I remain committed to helping my community in any and every way I can,” she said.

In a statement, Tory said while Bryan made a “strong case” to council for her appointment, her past social media posts are “not acceptable.”

“I totally disagree with any homophobic or transphobic views. I absolutely support our 2SLGBTQ+ residents. City Councillors are expected to set an example when it comes to consistency with our shared values,” Tory said.

“I would not have voted for this appointment had I been aware of these posts and I know that is the sentiment of the vast majority of council who also voted today.”

He said it was appropriate for Bryan to resign.

“The upset this has caused everyone involved is extremely unfortunate. This is especially unfortunate on the very weekend when we are celebrating the progress we have made together,” Tory said, adding that he has asked staff to review the overall appointment process.

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