Two years ago, CBS Sports anchor Greg Gumbel "signed a 5-year contract with Paul Doug Scott's EncoreTV to appear as host for, what turned out to be, a Florida infomercial company," reports Rhonda Roland Shearer. Gumbel's agent told her, "It wasn't supposed to be an infomercial.
Local television stations are increasingly open to product placement. The Meredith Corporation's "syndicated hour-long lifestyle program 'Better' (named in part after the company's Better Homes & Gardens magazine)" includes space for local stations to add in sponsored segments.
The narrow election win of Mauricio Funes as President of El Salvador has spurred extensive media coverage on the political success of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, a center-left party that has its roots in the guerilla movement of the 1980s. However, none of the media coverage mentions the role of the Washington D.C.-headquartered political consulting firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.
In 2007, Britain's Advertising Standards Authority censured Shell for misleading advertising -- once for ads calling tar sands development "sustainable," and once for ads showing carbon dioxide emissions stimulating flower growth. Shell's new ads, designed by JWT, are also controversial.
"Amazon.com runs a side business called Mechanical Turk ... where people can go, register, and get paid to do little tasks that computers can't do," explained blogger and film student Arlen Parsa. While on the site, Parsa saw a request to review Belkin International's consumer electronics products.
Eli Lilly will pay the largest fine "in a health care case, and the largest criminal fine for an individual corporation ever imposed in a U.S. criminal prosecution of any kind." The pharmaceutical company will pay $1.42 billion to settle criminal and civil charges related to the marketing of its anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.
Imperial Tobacco has been paying out cash incentives and lavishing corporate entertainment on owners of trendy clothing stores and hair boutiques in Adelaide, South Australia, to get them to sell Peter Stuyvesant brand cigarettes in special displays amid their hip merchandise.
The U.S. Supreme Court has given a green light to smokers to sue tobacco companies over the fraudulent marketing of "light," "ultralight" and "low tar" cigarettes. Cigarette companies are currently facing around 40 such lawsuits. For decades, advertising lulled smokers into believing that so-called "light" and "low tar" cigarettes were better for their health. Smokers in Maine, however, sued Philip Morris, charging that the company was aware for decades that smokers compensate for lower levels of tar and nicotine by taking longer and deeper puffs. Philip Morris argued that the Federal Trade Commission's endorsement of machine testing for tar and nicotine levels in cigarettes, started in the 1960s, should relieve them of fraud charges. The FTC recently abandoned its testing method, though, after concluding that it's flawed because machines don't take into account how smokers adjust their smoking behavior when using cigarettes with lower levels of nicotine.
The Edelman PR firm recently conducted a survey to find out what keeps consumers loyal to a name brand in challenging economic times. They found that "the trick is to forge a 'double-value' for a product by developing a tie-in to a social cause." Cause-related marketing can be a powerful marketing technique. The environment, health, poverty and education were the top causes likely to inspire consumer loyalty.