Ronn Torossian Update

5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian News & Updates

McDonald’s missing from the Olympics — Why?

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Last summer, McDonald’s announced it would be ending its advertising partnership with the International Olympic Committee. The deal was supposed to run through 2020, but if you look around for McDonald’s connection with this year’s Winter Olympics, you won’t see it.

While there is a McDonalds in the Olympic Park and Village, there will be no athletes touting the Big Mac or wearing the Golden Arches. No commercials juxtaposing McDonald’s food with the best athletes in the world. This is an omission we haven’t seen in decades. Even as recently as the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, McDonald’s was stuck like glue to the Olympic Games. The connection was everywhere, and the commercials were nearly constant.

At the time, CNN captured and reported some of the perspectives expressed by McDonald’s representatives: “It’s a great opportunity for us and our business down in South America to really capitalize…”

Two years later, the tone is much more subdued. Here’s a recent statement from McDonald’s: “We are proud of everything that we have achieved as an Olympic sponsor, but as a part of our global growth plan, we are reconsidering all aspects of our business… As a result, we have made the decision, in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee, to focus on different priorities.”

In other words, we’re not getting the return we want, so we’re done. That was not the story the IOC shared with the media. Michael Payne, speaking for the IOC, said the breakup was amicable. “McDonald’s has been a partner for a very long time, which is expensive… It also got to the point where McDonald’s was difficult to manage. McDonald’s viewed itself as owning the food category. This isn’t just a case of the sponsor saying, ‘We’ve decided to move on.’”

So, is this a case of two parties feeling like they were better off without each other? A divorce citing irreconcilable differences? Seems that way, at least on the surface. For McDonald’s the Olympics simply isn’t what it once was. Media is changing, and “must-see TV” is no longer so “must” for millions.

For the IOC, McDonald’s departure allows other food vendors to come in, and that may mean more funding for the IOC in the long run. Plus, variety is not such a bad thing when your whole theme is international competition and cooperation.

But one question remains: why quit two years early? Some are blaming changes at the top for McDonald’s. The company welcomed a new CEO in 2015, and, since then, there’s been a big shift toward more 21st-century customer service: apps, online ordering, and delivery, for example.

McDonald’s is also losing customers to other fast casual options and other fast food places that are considered healthier, especially by Millennial parents. The convenience and the move toward tech connections is one way to shore up that market, many of whom would rather stream Netflix than watch the Olympics.

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President Trump and his Desk

The desk used by President Trump in the Oval Office is called the Resolute Desk and has been used by many of our presidents. It was first used by Rutherford B. Hayes after it was received as a gift from Queen Victoria in 1880. The desk is oversized, made of oak from the ship used during Britain’s arctic mission – the HMS Resolute. Most of the presidents since the desk was received have used it with notable exceptions including Nixon, Johnson, Ford, and George H. W. Bush. President Johnson allowed the desk to leave the White House so it could go on a traveling exhibition by the Smithsonian. It was not returned to the White House until President Jimmy Carter was in office.

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ESPN announces streaming details… Fans yawn

ESPN announces streaming details… Fans yawn

ESPN, which bills its media brand as the worldwide leader in sports, soon hopes to be the worldwide trendsetter in live, streaming sports. The network, which is owned by Disney, announced plans to unveil its new streaming app to consumers this spring. The new streaming app, which will be called ESPN Plus, will be a subscription service that will cost consumers about $4.99 a month. This pay service will debut alongside an updated ESPN app. Disney CEO Bob Iger touted the app, saying it would let consumers “see ESPN just about any way imaginable…”

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Robots being blamed for market drop

Ronn Torossian- Robots being blamed for market drop

For months now, the stock market has seen record highs, climbing and climbing, week after week. Then, over the past week, the market has plunged. Now, everyone is trying to figure out why, and more than a few fingers are being pointed. The “usual suspects” are being “credited” on the TV economics shows, but at least one group catching some heat is a bit unusual.

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Chris Pratt hawking Michelob Ultra

Chris Pratt hawking Michelob Ultra

On the big screen, he plays the universe’s most popular goofball superhero. Now, thanks to a pair of Super Bowl commercials, Chris Pratt is using his Star-Lord fame to sell Michelob Ultra. It’s an interesting departure for Pratt, who’s made it a practice to not do TV commercials in the past.

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Wynn loses hundreds of millions

For some time now, Wynn Resorts founder and CEO, Steve Wynn, has been taking a pounding in the press, thanks to a series of sexual misconduct allegations that hit the news in the Wall Street Journal.

When those stories were published, shares in Wynn’s company plummeted ten percent, before closing down another nine points. These losses have cost Wynn about $246 million in net worth, which, added with previous losses, brings the total to nearly half a billion dollars.

At this point, though, all those losses are just on paper, unless Wynn decides to divest himself of his stock at the lower price. He and his brand could come bouncing back if he is able to effectively defend himself in the press. At present, his main comment on the allegations is that they are, “preposterous.”

Regardless, the on-paper losses are a big deal for investors. Last year had been a banner year for Wynn’s company, as it saw a massive 132 percent gain in 2017. The growth has been based on strong financial showings. The resort is going gangbusters and did for most of 2017.

But things may change, and that could force the board to make a decision. Currently, Wynn is under contract through October 2022, nearly four years of what could be a very rocky time in the press. If there is some fire where all this smoke is, Wynn’s company could face boycotts or angry protests. In a hospitality business, that kind of attention is not what you want, especially in highly competitive markets.

In an effort to get out ahead of the story, Wynn Resorts’ board has launched an internal investigation into the allegations. In a statement published in part by CNN, the board said it is, “committed to operating with the highest ethical standards and maintaining a safe and respectful culture…”

At this point, though, there’s been no move to suspend Wynn, and there’s no indication that his position is in jeopardy. The company seems committed to the investigation, even as Wynn’s name continues to land on the negative side of the headlines.

In today’s environment, that could change very quickly. Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly both thought they had weathered storms at Fox before being sent packing when allegations stuck rather than fading away. That could happen with Wynn … or it’s possible these allegations could come to nothing. At this point, the board is choosing the careful route, not making any rash decisions or any very public statement actions. We will see if that trend continues.

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.

Ronn Torossian Judge Bruce Balter

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Philip Morris Hopes Dashed by US Panel

Philip Morris hopes dashed by US panel

Another week, another ruling and yet more bad news for tobacco company Philip Morris International. According to a ruling passed down from an advisory panel at the US Food and Drug Administration, Philip Morris should not be “allowed to claim that its iQOS tobacco device can ‘reduce the risk of tobacco-related diseases’ when compared to cigarettes.

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McCrory Ready to Reinvent His Brand

McCrory ready to reinvent his brand

Sometimes politics is the pinnacle. Other times, you can reach the top of the political game and find an entirely new mountain to climb. Such is the case for former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.

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