College football season has begun, and this year it is being brought to you by Koch Industries.
Leaked documents expose a plan by Edelman for TransCanada to launch an "aggressive" American-style PR campaign to get controversial tar sands oil to refineries in eastern Canada for export.
Rick Berman, the king of corporate front groups and propaganda, has been caught on tape. Listen:
On September 6th, the Detroit News reported that Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney took a look at the latest polls and decided to pull down ads in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Romney-friendly SuperPACs did the same. The campaign and its allies are looking to move the money to swing states where the polling is more favorable.
Karl Rove's American Crossroads is hoping to help the GOP regain ground among women, particularly Latina women. According to a Gallup poll President Barack Obama has a 48 point advantage among Latino voters, while a CNN poll finds that women voters back Obama over Romney by a 16 point margin. Now Rove's Super PAC is trying to make inroads with these voters, releasing an online ad that attempts to turn the "War on Women" charge on Obama. The Super PAC is testing the video in focus groups, with an eye toward potentially creating a 30-second TV ad, according to CNN.
With its stock scraping bottom at just over $6.00 a share, its image reeling from a failed attempt to to stick its customers with a $5.00 per month debit card fee, and accusations of thousands of fraudulent foreclosures, Bank of America is undertaking another effort to improve its image. Heading up the makeover attempt is Anne M. Finucane, BofA's Global Strategy and Marketing Officer. Ms. Finucane knows better than most the depths of the trouble BofA is in. The New York Times dubs her the bank's chief "image officer" and says she and the bank stumbled badly with their failed attempt to impose a $5 monthly debit card fee -- a policy that failed after a massive uprising against the fee by BofA's customers. To her credit, Ms. Finucane says that BofA's damaged reputation "cannot be fixed with just a few new slogans. ... In order to repair reputation, you have to repair the issues that underlie" the problems, she says. But how this behemoth bank is going to improve its image when almost every week there is another story of a wrongful or needlessly cruel foreclosure, such as last week's news that a man was losing his home over an $.80 cent error, is anyones guess. BofA spends $1.55 billion/year on marketing in the U.S. alone. Fincucane has reportedly initiated a review of the company's advertising agencies, and selected agencies will be invited to pitch ideas for new marketing strategies to help improve the company's image.
The travel website Kayak.com and Lowes Hardware stores pulled advertising from TLC's reality show All-American Muslim after the right-wing Florida Family Association (FFA) complained that the show presented Muslim-American families as ordinary people. FFA, disturbed by the normative portrayal of American Muslims, complained on its website that "The point of the show is to depict Muslims as ordinary folks just like you and me who are subjected to unjust suspicion," and saying the show is "propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law." FFA maintained that the show was an attempt "to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad." The group started pressuring advertisers to drop their sponsorship of the show. The CEO of Kayak.com, which dropped its ads, claimed that no third party had influenced their decision to discontinue advertising on the show. A Kayak.com executive claimed TLC had misled them about the nature of the show, and added, "...Mostly, I just thought the show sucked." Lowes responded to FFA saying the show did not "meet Lowe's advertising guidelines." The chain issued a more ambiguous public statement saying the company had a "long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion," and saying the show had turned into "a lightning rod for people to voice complaints from a variety of perspectives - political, social and otherwise."
After Lowe’s made it public that it had pulled its ads, boycotts have been called, protests planned, 200,000 petitions have been delivered by local religious leaders, a spoof Lowes TV ad has gone viral and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons offered to buy the remaining advertising on the show.
A new puppet's in town! His name is Karden, and according to his PR, he shows kids how much fun gardening can be.
Finger-pointing over the Deepwater Horizon disaster resumed recently after the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Coast Guard issued a joint report (pdf) which concluded all three corporate participants in the calamity -- BP, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton -- were at fault.
It's our responsibility as journalists to let the public know who is paid by what corporation, or if they're representing the government. Otherwise, it's unforgivable. The media is our lens on the world. And it is absolutely critical we trust the media. Because, ultimately, when people are terrorized, when people are targeted, when people are marginalized, that does not make any of us safer.
- Amy Goodman, interview in "Programming the Nation?" documentary