2021 Year in Review Through Moments in Time

2021 was a roller coaster. It started with inaugurating a new president and ended with a pandemic surge. With the year fully behind us, it’s time to recap the big moments. Compliments of PR Club board members and an AdAge article titled “5 Social Media Slam Dunks of 2021”, here is what the last year had to offer: 

  • Presidential Inauguration –  2021 started off with a presidential inauguration of the United States’ 46th President, Joe Biden and the country’s first female Black and South Asian Vice President, Kamala Harris. 
  • Megxit – Prince Harry and Megan Markle left their titles in the United Kingdom, relocating to California. In 2021, they sat down with Oprah to dive into their choices, launching a conversation about the monarch’s role in mental health. 
  • Pandemic Surges & Vaccination Availability – Healthcare has continued to have a tumultuous year with the spikes and surges of the pandemic, combined with the employee backlash associated with vaccine mandates and the challenge of mass vaccine and booster rollouts. The healthcare industry saw their worker shortage grow due to mandates. 2021 also marked the mass roll out of vaccinations.
  • Olympics & Mental Health in Sports – The 2020 Olympics finally took place in the Summer of 2021 and this year looked different for many reasons. Athletes took a stand for their mental health, including Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles. While it was an unpopular decision for many, both Simone and Naomi prioritized their mental health over their sport. This created conversation about the prioritization of mental health, especially for athletes and people in high pressure positions. 
  • Taylor Swifts’ Red Album & Brand Interaction – Taylor Swift re-recorded her music and released her Red Album after years and years. Brands hopped on the news, riding the popularity, such as Panera Bread who tweeted “Loving you was bread”. 
  • Ashton Kutcher Saying “I Don’t Wash My Kids” – During the summer, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis made headlines for admitting that they don’t wash their kids each day. This comment created an uproar and so in response, they made a video joking that they don’t wash their kids as they were washing their kids. This news triggered different celebrities to share their shower habits, like Kristen Bell, Jake Gyllenhaal and The Rock. 
  • Facebook & Instagram Being Down for the Day – When Facebook and Instagram were down for the whole day, everyone turned to Twitter. Their social media team capitalized on this, tweeting, “hello literally everyone”. Marketing and social media managers had fun chatting on Twitter with other brands. 
  • Peloton & Sex and The City – Peloton has had quite a year, from the denial and eventual recall of its Tread+ treadmills, to lowered revenue expectations as we emerge from the pandemic, to its current skirmish with the Sex and the City reboot. While the company learned some tough lessons from the treadmill crisis, it is also showing resilience as it powers through surprise bumps in the road.
  • Censorship & Dangers of Misinformation – Trump being banned from social media platforms, which began conversations around censorship and the dangers of spreading misinformation on social media. 
  • #FreeBritney Came Full Circle – A New York Times documentary on Britney Spears brought new momentum to the #FreeBritney movement on social media. With new attention on the singer’s conservatorship, the world watched as a judge ended the 13-year legal arrangement that gave Spears’ father control over her estate.  
  • NFT Artwork Sold Big – The first Non-Fungible Token (NFT) artwork was sold for $69 million. Created by an artist named Beeple, the piece was the first purely digital NFT – which used blockchain technology to verify ownership of digital assets – to ever be offered at a major auction house.
  • Supply Chain Issues Abounded – While toilet paper scarcity may have been the big issue of 2020, a lot more items were added to the list in 2021. Stores struggled to keep shelves stocked with everything from cream cheese and cat food to paper goods and electronics. But the supply issue didn’t stop with food and household supplies. The production of semiconductors – which power medical devices, automobiles, laptops and phones – has been deeply impacted causing availability issues. Plus, the Ever Given container ship being stuck in the Suez Canal and preventing 360 other ships from getting through with supplies didn’t help. 

This article was written by PR Club Board Members Amy Shanler, Angelica Bishop, Catie Valzania, Amanda Fountain and Sofia Giovannello and includes commentary from an AdAge article titled “5 Social Media Slam Dunks of 2021.”