The terror attacks have made what was already a severe advertising downturn even worse for cash-strapped publications. Advertisers are taking advantage of the downturn by nibbling away at editorial independence, asking for more marketing freebies, better placement and bigger discounts. Wall Street Journal reporter Matthew Rose describes how the Ford Motor Company pressured Rolling Stone publisher Rob Gregory to offer free publicity for a music tour promoting the Ford Focus.
In a new deal, Amazon.com is running commercials near author appearances on NBC, CNBC and MSNBC. The spots lead viewers to Web addresses where they can purchase the books. NBC concedes that it will receive 10% of each book sale, calling that "synergy." Media critic Mike Drew calls it "cynical."
PR Week profiles the career of Charlotte Beers, once nicknamed "the most powerful woman in advertising," now overseeing U.S. efforts to improve its image overseas. Beers made her name selling Uncle Ben's rice products before going to work for ad agencies including J. Walter Thompson, Tatham-Lair & Kudner and Ogilvy & Mather.
The 50 most heavily advertised drugs last year accounted for nearly half the increase in prescription drug spending, according to a new study from the National Institute for Health Care Management Research and Educational Foundation. Sales of drugs rose 18.8% to $132 billion last year, with 47.8% coming from increases in the sales of the 50 most heavily advertised drugs. Merck & Co. was one of the biggest advertisers, spending $160 million to advertise Vioxx -- more than Anheuser-Busch spent flogging Budweiser.
How much is your local TV news influenced by the people who buy ads? In a survey of 118 news directors around the country, more than half, 53 percent, reported that advertisers pressure them to kill negative stories or run positive ones. The pressure to do puff pieces about sponsors occurs "constantly," "all the time," "everyday," "routinely," and "every time a sales person opened his/her mouth," news directors reported.
Popular Internet gateway Yahoo Inc. will start letting advertisers pay to be listed in results generated by the site's search engine.
Cholesterol lowering drugs are a ten billion dollar per year market and Bristol-Myers wants a boost to gain market share for its drug Pravachol. To do so it has partnered with Hollywood, dumping a large contribution into the non-profit Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) to enlist celebrities in advertisements subtly pushing Pravachol. The EIF tells the New York Times that the ads are not really ads at all, but a public service. The campaign will include celebrity interviews on talk shows and brochures in doctor's offices and pharmacies.
The Bush administration is launching a major PR offensive this week to sell its Afghanistan bombing campaign to Muslims, and top US PR coordinator Charlotte Beers is working on a TV and advertising campaign to be aired abroad that "could feature American celebrities." However, the US is already tripping over mixed messages, preparing the citizenry at home for a long bloody conflict, while Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld assures foreign leaders and media that the war "might be over in a matter of months," just what they want to hear.
The National Restaurant Association has hired Alexandria, Va.-based Smith & Harroff for an ad campaign to encourage Americans to dine out as a way to boost the economy, the food service industry, and as a return to daily life after the September 11 attacks reports O'Dwyer's PR Daily. The restaurant industry says it has lost business and has had to lay off workers as a result of the attacks. Premiering October 23 in U.S. dailies, the "Help America Turn the Tables" campaign promotes the restaurant industry as a "$1 trillion 'cornerstone' of the U.S.