Instacart to hire 300K, how COVID-19 is changing social media habits, and Facebook offers small business resources during the pandemic

Also: Ford, GE and 3M collaborate on medical supplies, Twitter ramps up verification, Cadbury announced its new ‘spokesbunny,’ and more.

Good morning, PR pros:

 Those needing a lift before diving into COVID-19 coverage and crisis communications might smile with Cadbury’s announcement of its 2020 bunny: A two-legged hound named Lieutenant Dan clinched the title.

In a press release, Cadbury said:

“Lieutenant Dan is the epitome of inspiration, passion and energy, showcasing that no matter what challenges you, you can overcome it,” said Ethan Mandel, Cadbury Brand team. “With almost 200,000 votes cast, America showed love and support to all of our finalists. We’d like to thank everyone who participated in our second annual Cadbury Bunny Tryouts.”

… To celebrate his victory, Lieutenant Dan will be receiving $5,000 and the Cadbury brand has also donated $10,000 to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA ®), the longest-standing animal welfare organization in North America which serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals.

Lieutenant Dan’s owner also shared the news on the hound’s Instagram account:

Though many organizations have paused campaigns as the pandemic grows, Cadbury’s contest and announcement can serve as a reminder that your communications can include inspirational and lighthearted content, as well.

If you decide to emulate the campaign, ensure your tone fits, the situation isn’t inappropriate and your content isn’t jarringly jovial in light of the current crisis.

Here are today’s top stories:

Instacart promises to put thousands to work

 The company announced it would bring on 300,000 full-time contractors to deliver groceries as online ordering has exploded with shoppers staying home.

Engadget reported:

The company currently operates in about 5,500 cities across the United States and Canada. Instacart’s plan will see it hire broadly in states like California and New York. In the former, for instance, it plans to bring on approximately 54,000 new full-time shoppers. In other states like Texas and Florida, it will hire thousands of new contractors as well, and provide them with paid sick leave if they’re diagnosed with COVID-19 or need to self-isolate.

Why it’s important: Whether you’re continuing communications for employees working from home, hiring new workers to fulfill demand or are expanding safety considerations for essential roles such as grocery store employees, put your workforce’s needs first. Make sure you’re communicating often, eliciting responses and responding to concerns. Do all you can to make information easily accessible.


Ragan Communications has launched a new daily newsletter to bring readers the latest headlines, tools and insights to help them manage their communications during the COVID-19 crisis and tough moments that may come long after the pandemic is over.

The newsletter will contain tips on:

  • Remote work and culture issues
  • Health care communications
  • Internal communications
  • Crisis response tips
  • Human resources best practices
  • Technology updates
  • External communication
  • And more

Sign up to get the daily eNewsletter directly in your inbox.


 If you’re a small business struggling with the impact of COVID-19, Facebook has offered its Business Hub as a resource for virtual training, advice for communicating with remote employees and opportunities to apply for cash grants and advertising credits:

As the COVID-19 outbreak escalates, our focus has been on keeping people safe and informed by making sure everyone has…

Posted by Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday, March 17, 2020


 Influencer marketing platform Klear analyzed how COVID-19 is affecting social media usage, comparing social media users’ behavior from the week of March 7 with the week of March 15, as social distancing and stay-at-home edicts were enforced.

Klear found a 15% increase of Instagram Stories, with users sharing an average of 6.1 Instagram Stories each day the week of March 15. Viewership on those Stories rose 21% in the same time period.

Image courtesy of Klear.

Though Instagram users shared more content, marketers were quiet: Posts containing the hashtag #ad declined 25%. “We believe the drop is temporary while brands strategize the most effective and respectful way to collaborate with influencers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Klear says.

Fitbit offers a free subscription trial

 The wearable technology company recently announced that it’s offering up its premium subscription service free for 90 days to both individuals and organizations.

 In a blog post, Fitbit wrote:

Given the current circumstances, we know how hard it is to focus on your health and wellness. But staying active, eating nutritious foods, sleeping well, and managing stress are critical to boosting your immunity and your mood. To help support you, we’re offering 40 new pieces of Premium content free in the Fitbit app.

In addition, anyone new to Fitbit Premium can get a 90-day free trial of this paid subscription, which includes personalized health insights, health guidance, advanced sleep tools, customized programs, and 150+ workouts from fitness brands like barre3, Daily Burn, POPSUGAR, and Yoga Studio by Gaiam, to help you stay active at home. If Premium isn’t available in your region, and you haven’t tried Fitbit Coach yet, we’re offering a 90-day free trial, so you can stream video workouts on your phone or computer. To access Premium or Coach,  all you have to do is visit the Fitbit app. We hope this helps to make this difficult time a little bit easier for you.

For enterprise customers, we are making certain enterprise features, like corporate challenges, available at no cost, so they can help their employees take care of themselves.

Why it matters: The move enables Fitbit to grab some positive PR during the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as increase both visibility and interest in its products and services—without sparking backlash over potentially insensitive marketing messages.

You can follow suit: Offering a trial of your service or an extension of your product can help both your marketing and CSR efforts.


 Twitter has been ramping up its verification process to add blue checkmarks on accounts of global health experts and organizations. If you’d like to submit any experts or leaders at your organization, follow the social media platform’s guide below:

Ford, GE and 3M partner to produce medical equipment

The manufacturing giants are ramping up production to make much-needed supplies and equipment, including respirators, for both health care workers and those who are infected with COVID-19:

 Why you should care: If you don’t have a CSR initiative in place, now is a great time to evaluate how your organization can help in the community or assist in the crisis response amid the growing pandemic.


We asked how you’re adjusting your media relations efforts as the pandemic continues to dominate headlines and news stories. More than half (52%) said you’re offering expert insights and alternative angles, and 32% said you’ve ceased (or at least slowed) your pitching efforts. Only 8% are focusing on brand journalism.


 How is COVID-19 misinformation affecting your crisis responses and communications efforts among both internal and external audiences?

Weigh in via our Twitter poll, or share how you’re emphasizing information from verified sources within your communications under the #DailyScoop hashtag.

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