Marketing

By Rebekah Wilce on March 26, 2014

Three years ago, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reported on Karden, an adorable puppet used in part to convince kids that gardening with sewage sludge was a fun activity for all ages. (Karden, of course, failed to explain that sewage sludge contains toxic and hazardous materials.) Well, move over Karden the sludge puppet, there's a new kid in town: Frank N. Foode, "your friendly neighborhood genetically modified organism," who "help[s] make the science of biotechnology fun and approachable."

By Lisa Graves on August 13, 2013

Pandora's Lunchbox Book Cover"The vitamin D in your milk ... is almost surely a derivative -- after many chemical stages -- from lanolin from Australian sheep wool, concocted in a factory in China. ... Vitamin A, is often synthesized from acetone, a principal ingredient in nail polish remover," notes George Kenney based on his interview with Melanie Warner, a former writer for the New York Times.

By Rebekah Wilce on April 02, 2013

Have you ever wondered what labels like "humanely raised" and "cage free" mean when you're looking at a package of meat or eggs at the supermarket? Do corporations actually live up to the claims on the labels?

By Lisa Graves on December 15, 2012

"We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years," President Obama said in response to horrifying shooting massacre of 20 little children and six of their educators in Connecticut.

By Will Dooling on September 17, 2012

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.

By Emily Osborne on July 25, 2012

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.

By Rebekah Wilce on March 12, 2012

Smirnoff Ice Wild GrapeFlavored alcoholic beverages like Smirnoff Ice and Mike's Hard Lemonade -- dubbed "alcopops" by public health advocates -- should be taxed at the higher rate of distilled spirits rather than as beer, according to the Nebraska Supreme Court. The lawsuit, Project Extra Mile v. Nebraska Liquor Control Comm., was brought by Nebraska taxpayers and nonprofit groups battling underage drinking. Now the Nebraska legislature is considering a bill, LB824, that would undo the state Supreme Court's decision.

By Anne Landman on January 16, 2012

Anne M. FinucaneWith 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.

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By Anne Landman on December 22, 2011

All-American MuslimThe 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.

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By Anne Landman on November 28, 2011

Federal Ammunition's pink breast cancer awareness bulletsEvery October's push for "breast cancer awareness" brings another example of egregious pinkwashing, and this year was no exception. As if pink toasters, pink beer pong tables and even a pink Smith and Wesson handgun weren't enough, October, 2011 brought us pink, breast cancer awareness 12-gauge shotgun ammo, courtesy of Federal Ammunition.

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