What’s going to happen to the conventions?

As of right now, Democratic and Republican organizers say they plan for their conventions this summer to go on as scheduled, but it’s a fluid situation. Also in this week’s issue:

  • Coronavirus campaign ads are here

  • News on Facebook has come roaring back

  • Britney Spears posts about wealth redistribution on Instagram


P.S. I don’t know about you, but if I see one more influencer post about their home workout routine or tell me to “stay positive” on Instagram I’m going to scream. But what are they supposed to do? Here’s an interesting look at how self-quarantine is challenging fashion influencers.

Coronavirus campaign ads are here

Former Vice President Biden and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) are among the candidates running ads that mention the pandemic. The Biden campaign is running a Spanish-language TV ad in Miami that includes a reference to the virus, while Collins says in her TV ad that she’s “suspending traditional campaign events.” The ad ends with the web address for the government’s site on the coronavirus.

Most of campaign ads mentioning the coronavirus are digital. There are 265 Facebook ads mentioning it from 56 advertisers, including 11 Democratic congressional candidates and 21 Republican congressional candidates, according to Advertising Analytics, an ad tracking firm. The Facebook ads cost a total of $73,000.

Here’s how one group is targeting Trump

We have our first look at how Trump’s handling of the pandemic could be used against him in the campaign. American Bridge, a Democratic super PAC, is running a digital ad titled “Failed to Act” that plays back Trump’s own words about the coronavirus — like “It’s going to be just fine,” “This is their new hoax,” and “I don’t take responsibility at all.” It ends with the words “Trump Cannot Be Trusted.”

The ad targets “potential Trump defectors” in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, and the initial spend is in the five figures, according to the Washington Post.

Social distancing in print

This is how the New York Times illustrated their story “Wondering About Social Distancing?” in print. The story answers common questions about social distancing best practices.

Pandemic PSAs

Designer Ben Ostrower has made a series of public service announcements to promote social distancing and washing your hands. As former NBC reporter Luke Russert put it, they’re “much better than the official” posters. Ostrower made them free to download here.

News on Facebook has come roaring back

Facebook has had something of an on-again-off-again relationship with news media publishers over the years, emphasizing or de-emphasizing their content in users’ feeds. Well, it’s now back.

U.S. traffic from Facebook to other websites has increased more than 50% from last week to the week before “almost entirely” because of the coronavirus, according to an internal report obtained by the New York Times. The report called it an “unprecedented increase in the consumption of news articles on Facebook.” The report said that more than half the articles being read from Facebook in the U.S. were related to the coronavirus.

The report found more than 90% of clicks were from “power” users who read and comment on news stories at higher-than-average levels, and Facebook is hoping to steer these users to authoritative sources so accurate information is “being spread downstream.”

“We are working overtime to help people find and share credible information right now which includes important news from local and national publishers, and expert health organizations,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships, told the Times in a statement. “We’re actively testing ways to ensure people see more timely and explanatory Covid-19 related news and information, while out-of-date news gets demoted.”

Fashion designers to the rescue

Some of the unexpected heroes of the pandemic are designers who are putting their talents to use to make face masks. Christian Siriano, a “Project Runway” mentor whose designed for former first lady Michelle Obama, tweeted at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) Friday that his sewing team could pitch in.

“Fashion could really change everything in a week,” Siriano told WWD. “Look, we have nothing else to do right now. Nobody is buying clothes so what can we do?”

Others making masks include Los Angeles Apparel, the brand headed by former American Apparel founder Dov Charney, and Michael Ngo, who designed looks for Ariana Grande’s Sweetener World Tour. He made his masks pink and black.

There’s still a lot more need in New York. Cuomo said Monday the state has 7,000 ventilators but needs at least 30,000.

What’s going to happen to the conventions?

As of right now, the Democratic National Convention in July and Republican National Convention in August are going to go on as planned. But that doesn’t mean organizers aren’t considering the possibility the pandemic could drastically alter their plans.

Democratic organizers are exploring “a range of contingency options,” Katie Peters, a convention spokesperson, said in a statement Monday. DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa clarified to Politico that, “Contingency planning is a routine part of preparations for any convention” and there are no plans to cancel or consider a rules change at this time.

Republican organizers are “firmly committed” to their convention but “keenly aware that there will be challenges,” North Carolina Republican chair Michael Whatley said in a statement Saturday.

Former convention officials told NBC that organizers now must consider possibly scaling back the summer conventions. Changes could include shortening the conventions, limiting attendance to delegates only, or going virtual.

“Something like this really is uncharted territory,” said David Gilbert, president and CEO of the host committee in Cleveland, of planning conventions right now. Cleveland hosted the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Britney Spears posts about wealth redistribution on Instagram

Credit: @britneyspears/Instagram

On Monday, Britney Spears reposted a graphic on her Instagram account that called for reaching out to your loved ones and also … the redistribution of wealth and a general strike. She captioned it with “Communion goes beyond walls” and three roses emoji, a popular emoji among socialists online (it’s also one of Spears’ favorites for IG captions, along with the kiss emoji). Did not see this coming.

The quote and image comes from writer Mimi Zhu. In an Instagram Story, Zhu wrote, “i think it’s rly cute and sweet that Britney Spears reposted my work !! especially cuz it said stuff about strike and redistribution of wealth 😂 like that’s our communist queen !” Spears appeared to find the image from @refinery29, who she tagged in her post.

On Friday, Spears posted that she would help followers who DMed her with things like food and diapers.

And for those who were wondering, the post uses the typeface Harbour Bold, designed by Gareth Hague and released in 1998, the year Spears released her first single “…Baby One More Time.”

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