Elon Musk
Elon Musk

Tesla takes a spin in Xinjiang... Now that Tesla has gained scale, CEO Elon Musk needs to rethink his lamebrained idea that the electric car company doesn’t need a PR department.

Unlike Musk’s SpaceX and The Boring Company (tunnel construction for Hyperloop transportation), Tesla is a consumer-facing company, which means corporate image matters.

The automotive iconoclast took his “stick it to PR act” way too far with news this week that Tesla has opened a Tesla showroom in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region of China.

Xinjing is the site of a genocidal campaign against ethnic Muslim Uyghurs carried out by China’s authoritarian ruler Xi Jinping.

What was Elon thinking? Americans may think twice about buying a car from a guy whose company posts "Tesla (heart) Xinjiang" on the Chinese Weibo social media platform.

Does Musk plan to use the Urumqi showroom to showcase electric vans to haul Muslims to re-education camps, or cars designed for Chinese security forces?

The U.S Senate on Dec. 16 passed a bill barring imports from the Xinjiang region due to the Chinese abuse and mistreatment of religious minorities. President Biden signed the bill into law on Dec. 23.

Human Rights Watch says China’s “cultural persecution and arbitrary detention of a million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims since 2017 constitute crimes against humanity.”

Musk has already toadied up enough to China’s leadership. Tesla’s Shanghai factory produced half of the company’s 2021 output, according to a research report from Credit Suisse.

Elon upped the ante in October with the opening of a R&D and data center in Shanghai, Tesla’s first outside of the US. That facility will store data locally to comply with China’s 2017 cybersecurity law.

What’s next for Tesla? Does Musk plan to open a news bureau in Hong Kong as a sign of approval for Beijing’s crackdown on the city’s once freewheeling media and its crushing of dissent?

The car company's dance with China’s ruthless leadership is bound to bite Tesla some day.

Shelter from the storm... Trash the idea that Gen Z is composed of activists ready to storm the barricades, because an Edelman survey has found that the 14 to 24 age bracket puts safety as its top concern. That covers practically every aspect of their lives: physical, emotional, financial and social.

Edelman’s “The Power of Gen Z” survey, conducted via a partnership with Smarty Pants youth research firm, found that seven in ten Gen Zers want safety and security in their lives.

Edelman’s “The Power of Gen Z” survey

Gen Z’s most trusted people are those that take care of others. E.g., doctors/therapists, scientists and teachers/professors. The least trusted: traditional celebrities, CEOs and government leaders.

Jackie Cooper, Edelman’s chief brand officer, christens Gen Zers as "The Generation of Sensibility.”

Rather than viewing Gen Zers as influencers, cancellers or activists, Cooper sees them as yearning to be safe and secure in a world rocked by COVID-19, climate change, social/political unrest and economic upheaval.

Successful brands will step up their communications to mesh with Gen Z sentiments of caring, safety, community and authenticity.

After all, Gen Zers are 2 billion strong with $360B in spending power.

Oops, blame the new person... That’s what FleishmanHillard did in informing the Justice Dept. that it screwed up its Foreign Agent Registration Act filing on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

In conducting due diligence regarding its six-month supplemental statement, FH noted that it “inadvertently failed to file copies of press releases and media outreach to editors and reporters” on behalf of the UAE.

“This omission resulted from the addition of new personnel to the project after a period of inactivity, unintentional error, and insufficient communication between team members related to the requirements regarding informational material,” the chastised Omnicom unit told the FARA unit.

The Justice Dept. shouldn’t fret over a repeat performance because FH team members “have been reminded about the requirements, and will receive additional refresher training on FARA compliance.”

During the reporting period, the Justice Dept. may have missed out on FH’s work for the UAE in areas such as food, security, climate change, the country’s space agency, entrepreneurship programs, Net Zero by 2050, and the Emirati Interplanetary Mission.

BTW, Happy 50th Anniversary UAE.

We hope FleishmanHillard sent a nice birthday card to president Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.