The Democratic presidential campaigns of John Edwards and John Kerry have one thing in common: the racial make-up of their TV ads depends on where you watch them. An Edwards ad about job losses "running in Ohio... would be identical to one it ran in South Carolina last month if not for one thing" -- in the Ohio ad, the factory worker is white, but in South Carolina, the worker was black.
Today's Wall Street Journal reports on a new advertising trend: "The most obvious alternative to TV clutter, placing products within shows, is generating some backlash among viewers. Marketers and media buyers see the 'situ-mercial' as a promising alternative." What is a situ-mercial? It's a commercial designed to look, sound and feel just like the show it's interrupting. For example, a car insurance commercial set in a jail cell is airing during court shows and dramas.
In a refreshing display of common sense, the American Psychological Association condemned television advertising aimed at young children as "by its very nature exploitative." Since youngsters' critical thinking skills are not developed, the APA suggests tighter limits on advertising during children's shows, more clear distinctions between ads and programming, or even banning ads on shows for children 8 years old or younger.
"Pharmaceutical makers have already found a major loophole in the Food and Drug Administration's new draft guidelines for direct-to-consumer advertising," reports Advertising Age. The guidelines were meant to clarify risk information and increase "disease awareness" spots, those not touting any particular drug.
"You've heard a lot of Halliburton lately. Criticism is okay. We can take it." Thus opens a new television ad, part of the oil and gas services company's first public PR campaign.
"Same Medicare. More Benefits." is the theme of a publicly-funded $12.6 million advertising effort promoting the new Medicare law. Critics of the ad campaign include Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy and the conservative National Taxpayers Union, who called it "an election-year ploy." The Wall Street Journal reports that National Media, a firm already working for the Bush/Cheney campaign, is getting a piece of the new ad campaign pie.
Everyone from the highway construction industry to the mining industry, environmental groups and the healthcare and tobacco industry has a stake in Washington politics. As a result, reports the Washington Post, "Pasting ads all over Capitol Hill has become a big business -- so big that Washington is the nation's second-largest public relations market after New York, even though the District is only the 21st-largest city in the country, behind places like Phoenix, Memphis and Milwaukee."
The U.S. has indicted executives from Ogilvy and Mather, a PR and advertising agency, for participating in an "extensive scheme to defraud the U.S. Government by falsely and fraudulently inflating the labor costs that Ogilvy incurred" for its work on a media campaign for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. According to O'Dwyer's PR Daily, O&M's anti-drug media campaign work was part of a five-year $684 million dollar project. The government claims it was overcharged by O&M from May 1999 to April 2000.
"Federal officials have softened a national advertising
campaign to promote breastfeeding after complaints from two
companies that make infant formula, according to several
doctors and nurses who are helping the government with the
effort. After the two companies [Mead Johnson and Abbott] and the top officials of the American Academy of Pediatrics complained to federal health
officials, the government decided to eliminate spots
discussing the risk of leukemia and diabetes in babies not