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Dorian Gains Strength; Mass Shooting Foiled at University; Fried Chicken Frenzy at Popeyes; Harris Inspires Families. Aired 8:30- 9a ET

Aired August 29, 2019 - 08:30   ET



[08:31:43] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The breaking news this morning, Hurricane Dorian is gaining strength and taking aim at Florida. It could be a powerful category three or maybe even a category four hurricane when it makes landfall over the holiday weekend.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.

Chad, you've been watching this all morning long. What do you see?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: About 65 hours from landfall in the Bahamas, John. And we talk about sometimes topography can tear up a storm. There's very little topography in the Bahamas. You know, eight, 10, 15 feet, whereas the Dominican Republic, we're at 10,000 feet. And that would have torn it up. This storm did not hit the D.R., so it did not get torn up.

One hundred and 25 miles per hour, Saturday night into Sunday through Nassau, or very close. And then, this is now day four, making some close landfall somewhere after midnight into Monday morning and then going very slowly by Tuesday morning, almost coming to a stop and turning to the right up the Florida coast. So I think this is fairly certain. We're going to see this thing here move into a pattern somewhere probably closest to Francis, although you could be plus or minus 100 miles from there.

From the same spot, or at least very close, what are the other storms, what have they done? Irma, Frances, Jeanne, Hugo, there's not a good name on that list because they all get into the very warm water and they all get so much stronger because of either a lack of sheer or the warm water.

Hurricane hunter aircraft flying into it right now. They'll have the new updates for us at 11:00 and a new track possibly.

Getting too far away from Puerto Rico really to see it on the radar. We'll lose it here in just a couple more frames. And then we're just going to have to track it on the satellite and watch the hurricane hunter aircraft.

Now, last night, 8:00 at night, the American model had this not that far from Jacksonville. 2:00 in the morning, they ran it again, and now we're significantly almost 200 miles farther south than we were closer to the space coast. See, as closer we get to landfall and the time of landfall, theoretically the models get more accurate.

John, Alisyn, we'll have to figure out whether that's going to happen or not. These models have been all over the place with this storm.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We have seen that. Yes, Chad. Thank you very much for watching it so closely.

Now to this story. Police in North Carolina say they foiled a mass shooting plot at High Point University. They took a college student into custody after finding guns and ammunition in his dorm room.

CNN's Martin Savidge is live in Atlanta with more.

What happened, Martin?


This is a clear example of what can be averted if the right people get involved. And, in this case, it appears to be the students at High Point University and university officials who identified 19-year-old Paul Steber as being the potential threat here.

Over the weekend he apparently purchased weapons in North Carolina. He has just enrolled -- he's only been on campus a little less than two weeks now. He bought a 9 millimeter handgun and a double barrel shotgun. Authorities are still trying to determine if he purchased them legally.

But here's the thing. He told authorities the reason he went to North Carolina to school was the fact that he believed it would be easier for him to purchase the weapons that he planned to use and he told authorities he planned to carry out some kind of mass attack.

Allegedly what was going on here was he told the -- the prosecutor said in court at his hearing that he was not going to be an outcast any longer and also that he was apparently rushing to become part of a fraternity and told authorities that if his roommate made it and he did not, well, then he was going to kill his roommate, kill himself and perhaps carry out this mass attack. And that's when law enforcement became aware of this plot.

[08:35:25] The young man had also been preparing by looking at mass shooting videos. For instance, Charleston, South Carolina, and others. Apparently, and, again, according to the prosecution, he was trying to learn what to do and what not to do.

Fortunately, all of that has been foiled. He has been excelled from school. He is in custody. He's charged with having a gun on educational property, two of them, and also for communicating a threat of mass violence. So far he has been denied any bond, and he will have to undergo a mental evaluation.

But, again, this goes back to, if you see something, say something, and students did see something. And now we're telling you about a tragedy averted as opposed to telling you about something that has just happened.

BERMAN: Look, and that's the good news of this, Martin, for sure. It really does seem like we've seen more and more of this over the last few weeks since El Paso. But it doesn't make it any less chilling.


BERMAN: Chilling that this young man moved to North Carolina because he thought it would be easier to carry out this attack.

Martin Savidge, thank you so much for your reporting.

SAVIDGE: You're welcome.

BERMAN: All right, on a lighter note, so how does a chicken restaurant run out of chicken? The Popeyes frenzy for their chicken sandwich has some people asking, is this legit or a marketing ploy? We'll discuss, next.


[08:40:39] BERMAN: All right, Popeyes new fried chicken sandwich has created a frenzy, but the company shared this news, this claim that the product was sold out. They put out this video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you get like 5 million people, 6 million people on social media talking about this sandwich is good --

ON SCREEN TEXT: So thankful!

But --

We're sold out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're sold out of chicken sandwiches. We sold out in four hours.

ON SCREEN TEXT: You ate 'em all.

They'll be back soon.

For. Good.

Pinky swear.


BERMAN: The question is, for real? Did Popeyes underestimate the sandwich's popularity or --


BERMAN: Is this all a marketing ploy?

Joining us now is David Griner, creative and innovation editor for "Adweek."

So, David, forgive my skepticism, but how does a chicken place run out of chicken?

DAVID GRINER, CREATIVE AND INNOVATION EDITOR, "ADWEEK": I mean, in fairness, there's a lot of people who think this is a bit of a marketing conspiracy. You know, manufactured scarcity it's called in the industry where you make a lot more -- you know, make a big hay of how easily you run out of stuff.

In this case, I do think it was just -- they didn't see this coming. They didn't see a chicken sandwich, of all things, being something that would become an absolute phenomenon and sell two months' worth of product in two weeks.

CAMEROTA: So you do not think brilliant marketing ploy, you think massive screw up?

GRINER: I think it's somewhere in between. I think they did their best to try to kind of ride this wave. They were no ads behind this. They did a little bit to kind of goose it in social media. But the credit really belongs to black twitter, the really active engaged community, people of color on Twitter who really made this a cultural conversation. They're a huge cultural driver when it comes to social justice, to memes, to just about everything. I think they deserve the credit for really making this such a huge thing and the chain just kind of did their best.

BERMAN: I will note that I'm now going to use the phrase manufacture scarcity whatever I can. It will be my excuse not to attend the countless parties that I'm invited to all the time. All the time.

CAMEROTA: You're creating manufacture scarcity of yourself.

BERMAN: Exactly. That's why I'm never at parties because I'm intentionally not going to all the parties I've been invited to.

CAMEROTA: That's brilliant.

GRINER: That's a good plan.

BERMAN: David, you think there is some peril in this for Popeyes right now. Explain.

GRINER: I think that they have -- Popeyes is a 50-year-old chain and it's one that's never been known for their customer service. Excellent chicken, question service. It's kind of what -- you know, I grew up here in the south, and that's just how we think of them. They are now in this position of suddenly being, for the first time in 50 years, a chain that everyone's talking about. People are going to -- who have either been going all their life, maybe haven't been in a while, and they're hearing about it, and they have this rush of product where they were selling out -- even before they sold out company wide, they were selling out in stores before lunch even hit. It took me an hour to get my one chicken sandwich. I think now they risk every day that they don't have that sandwich back in stock is a day that they're risking losing this goodwill that they've generated.

CAMEROTA: I'm craving one right now and I've never even had one before or thought about it, but it has worked on me.

Meanwhile, let's talk about the marketing ploys that you think have been really memorable, OK, and possibly successful as well, or not.

Number one, IHOB. Remember when IHOP, the International House of Pancakes, changed to International House of Burgers. And you're shaking your head because you thought that it was a dumb idea, right?

BERMAN: Yes. The international house of breakfast. Wasn't the "b" breakfast?

CAMEROTA: No, burgers, burgers, right there.

BERMAN: Why would they do that? What were they thinking?

CAMEROTA: Why would they do that because they wanted to publicize their burgers. And, David, you think it was brilliant.

GRINER: I think, you know, there are some campaigns that are stupid and some campaigns that are brilliant. I would say this one was either stupidly brilliant or brilliantly stupid.

I think the way that they sparked conversation when they announced they were changing it to IHOB, with a "b," and it sparked all this discussions of, is it breakfast, is it bacon, is it Beyonce? You know, people had so much fun with that. And it sparked this national global conversation. And then when it came out it was burgers, it picked up speed again and people were really fascinated. They had saw a 400 percent increase in burger sales and a 31 percent increase in their stock price. So I'd say it was successful.

CAMEROTA: International house of bingo (ph).

BERMAN: It didn't last with me because I obviously didn't maintain my interest long enough to find out the "b" was even for burgers. I actually still thought it was for breakfast.

CAMEROTA: Or burnt (ph). You thought it was for burnt (ph).

[08:45:01] BERMAN: Of course.

CAMEROTA: OK. Then there was this one that somehow passed me by. The Whopper detour. It asked people to drive to McDonald's to get a coupon for a Burger King Whopper? Is that how this worked?

GRINER: Yes, so you were supposed to -- you could get a 1 cent Whopper but only if you drove to a McDonald's, a rival restaurant, and used the Burger King app to download this coupon while you were at the McDonald's. You know, a lot of people called it a masterpiece --

CAMEROTA: This feels like a lot of effort for -- for the Whopper. But, I mean, am I wrong?

GRINER: The -- no, the CMO told me that it broke every rule as marketing. They made it as impossibly difficult as they could to get a 1 cent -- it wasn't even a free Whopper, it was a 1 cent Whopper and it -- they considered it their most successful campaign maybe ever and it made their mobile app go from number 686 in the App Store to number one because you had to download the app. So they consider it, in the long run, their most successful campaign maybe ever.

BERMAN: And then there's one -- and I don't even know what this means --

CAMEROTA: You don't know what Gritty the Flyers mascot is?

BERMAN: Oh, OK, I know Gritty, the Flyers mascot.


BERMAN: There's an ad campaign associated with Gritty.


GRINER: Gritty is an ad campaign. I mean like I -- I think that as much of a cultural phenomenon as Gritty has become, he was created to really be a mascot and a visual for the Philadelphia Flyers, a team that had never had a mascot. And again, kind of like the Popeyes chicken, I don't think anyone saw him, anyone involved really saw this becoming a cultural phenomenon. But Gritty, you know, transcended everything and generated something like $150 million in free advertising for the Flyers, which is not something you see a lot in hockey or sports period.

BERMAN: I never thought of it as advertising. I just thought of it as goodness.

CAMEROTA: I just thought of it as creepy because he has --

BERMAN: Wasn't he at a wedding that you went to?

CAMEROTA: At a wedding, he was the guest of honor at my cousin Amanda's wedding. He was the guest of honor. He brought down the house. There was all sorts of dancing with umbrellas and Gritty was dancing with the bride. It was, well, fabulous.

BERMAN: All right, David Griner, thank you for the patience that you've exhibited this morning by being with us. We really appreciate your time.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, David.

GRINER: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: All right, beyond their politics, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have been inspiring young girls across the country. CNN speaks with young girls and their families who have been lining up at these rallies. That's next.

BERMAN: I know Gritty, I just didn't think --


[08:51:26] BERMAN: The 2020 Democratic field is more diverse than ever as both a woman and a person of color, Kamala Harris, stands out as a source of hope for the next generation. A growing number of minority parents and their children have been turning out to see Harris on the campaign trail.

CNN's Kyung Lah has more.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Another rally in the race for 2020.


LAH: For sisters Anna Maddox --

ANNA MADDOX, HARRIS SUPPORTER: I'm half Mexican, half Vietnamese.

LAH: And Leah Chao (ph), this is a destination.

LAH (on camera): Why did you drive two hours to be here?

MADDOX: Really I wanted to -- for her, you know, to see a woman, if anything, and especially a woman of color run for president.

HARRIS: It's time to take action.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, it took 24 years to get to this point for me. She's only nine. So imagine when she's 24. She's not going to think this abnormal.

LAH (voice over): From Davenport, Iowa, to Denver, Colorado, there's a recurring theme among the parents to bring their children to see a biracial woman run for president.

LAH (on camera): Your daughter asked you to come?

SHELDON SHADRACH, HARRIS SUPPORTER: Yes. She's actually a big fan, big supporter and she's been following Kamala Harris.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like it'd be special to be the first female president.

LAH (voice over): Hillary Clinton helped pave the way. Elizabeth Warren shares that message.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm running for president because that's what girls do. LAH: But 11-year-old Skylar Toney sees her reflection in Harris.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she's pretty brave to try and do that. She's not like holding back or anything.

HEIDI FOREMAN-TONEY, HARRIS SUPPORTER: The connection with -- and when they look and see someone who looks like them, a lot of times that kind of lets them sort of visualize their future and see what's possible for them as children even.

LAH: It's something Harris knows, why she takes the time, especially with children of color.

LAH (on camera): Win or lose, what does that mean for you?

HARRIS: It means the world to me. I mean, when I see those little girls in particular, I mean I see myself, right, and I see the children of my family and I see the children of our country. And I see the promise of our country. My mother had many sayings and one of them is, you may be the first to do many things, make sure you're not the last. And it is my true hope that my career and whatever I can do is -- empowers other people of whatever age.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Authorities investigating a racist anti- immigrant manifesto that they believe was posted by the shooter just before the massacre.

LAH: In these divided times, when children have questions about the news, some parents consider a political rally the antidote.

ERIC LITTLE, HARRIS SUPPORTER: With us being an interracial couple, it's important that we give him a sense of, it's OK to be who he is in this community.

JESSICA LITTLE, HARRIS SUPPORTER: He's aware that his dad is black and that his mom is white, but we push really hard to make sure that he knows that that's not bad, that's beautiful, that's wonderful. That's what the United States is.

LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Davenport, Iowa.


BERMAN: Our thanks to Kyung for that story.

"The Good Stuff" is next.


[08:59:06] BERMAN: All right, it is time now for "The Good Stuff."

A heartwarming gesture from a football team whose coach is battling cancer. During a team meeting the Lyon College football players learned their offensive coordinator, Kris Sweet, had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Sweet began getting chemotherapy this month and started losing his hair. So, Monday, see it there, the players showed up in the weight room, and what did they do, they all shaved their heads.


KRIS SWEET, LYON COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACH: I can't speak enough of how special those kids are. How we see them on every day that those faces, most of the people in town and on campus don't see. They're good kids.


BERMAN: You could see it right there in that statement. Sweet's a guy who says he doesn't like attention, but you could also see how moved he was. He calls this the most touching and emotional moment he's ever been through.

Congratulations to that entire team for sticking together when it really counts.

[09:00:03] All right, this morning, Hurricane Dorian is gaining strength, headed straight to Florida. Our coverage of this storm picks up right now.