Earlier this year, Utah State Attorney General Mark Shurtleff received two letters from dead people requesting that the state go easy on Microsoft. As it turns out, the letters are part of the computer giant's nation-wide astroturf campaign, targeting the offices of 18 attorneys general who have joined the Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit. The Los Angeles Times reports that in recent weeks, Microsoft has been refining its letter writing strategy so that no two letters are identical. The giveaway, however, is in the phrasing.
A year ago we reported on the "No More Scares" campaign (www.nomorescares.org), an industry front group aimed at smearing environmental and health activists as "fearmongers." Now it appears that No More Scares has quietly decommissioned itself, and links to its website no longer work. In Trust Us, We're Experts we noted that "corporate-funded front groups ... are sometimes fly-by-night organizations.
Yesterday McDonald's announced it would be "providing more information about the specific source of the natural flavoring" it uses. However, today McDonald's refused to provide a spokesperson to CNN for an interview. Yesterday's announcement came after vegetarians filed lawsuits and some Hindus smashed windows upon discovering that McDonald's french fries cooked in oil were also cooked in meat flavorings.
On June 14, the U.S. Senate passed the Student Privacy Protection Act, which would require parental consent before a corporation or person could extract personal information from a child in school for commercial purposes. However, the bill faces strong opposition from the anti-privacy lobby, advertisers, some publishers and Primedia Inc., which owns Channel One.
Remember the PR hype and spin about how socially responsible and proactive 3M corporation was in pulling Scotchgard from the market last year? Well, check this out: "New analyses of 3M's own data, some decades old, reveals that the company knew far more, far earlier, about potential health problems from Scotchgard exposure. The (Scotchgard) story is likely to emerge as one of the apocryphal examples of 20th century experimentation with widespread chemical exposures without adequate testing."
The Bush administration's recently-announced plan to force General Electric to pay for a $460 million cleanup of the Hudson River is designed to battle the popular impression that his White House, particularly on environmental issues, is operating under corporate sponsorship.
In the wake of a decision by England's University of Nottingham to accept
Coca-Cola, which was ranked as the world's most valuable brand for the third straight year by Omnicom Group's Interbrand unit, apparently has seen little harm to its brand reputation from a recent lawsuit for human rights abuses. The Corporate Crime Reporter writes that the United Steel Workers Union and the International Labor Rights Fund filed suit against Coke and Panamerican Beverages Inc. in federal court in mid-July. The case was initiated by Sinaltrainal, a trade union that represents Coca-Cola workers in Columbia.
The efforts of the 30-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to reform "tax haven" countries such as Liechtenstein and the Cayman Islands are being countered in the U.S. by a lobbying campaign run by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity. Capitol Hill veteran Andrew Quinlan, who also works for the Swiss Investors Protection Association, heads the Center.
NY-based, freelance PR Writer Debra Michals criticized her former client, the Women's Museum in Dallas, in the latest issue of Ms. magazine. In the article, "Did the Women's Museum Wimp Out?" Michals claims that corporate sponsorship and the conservative politics of Texas influenced the museum to not mention certain aspects of the feminist movement. According to PR Week, Michals criticized the museum for leaving out issues like abortion and bisexuality and for putting beauty pagents in a positive light. Michals had written for the museum's inaugural exhibit.