Marketing

State Department Seeks PR Firm To Launch New Mag

"The State Dept. is looking for a PR firm to promote a monthly Arabic language magazine that it plans to debut in the Spring," O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports. "The magazine will be targeted at Muslims aged 18-to-35 living in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia. The International Information Programs unit, which is the result of the Oct. 1999 merger of the U.S. Information Agency into the State Dept., is handling the magazine launch."

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Hype in Health Reporting

"Do reporters know that so much medical news is actually unpaid advertising?" writes Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families. "The most effective industry influence is so well-hidden that many reporters and producers are totally unaware of it. The role of pharmaceutical companies and other health care industry interests in shaping news coverage of medical products and treatment is as invisible as it is pervasive."

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Microsoft Invents a Fictional Consumer

On October 9, Microsoft posted a testimonial on its Web site called "Confessions of a Mac to PC Convert." It was a first-person account by a "freelance writer" about how she had fallen in love with Windows XP. "I was up and running in less than one day, Girl Scout's honor," said the attractive, woman in the photo. "There was only one problem: She doesn't exist," writes David Pogue. "A with-it member of Slashdot.org, the popular hangout for articulate nerds, happened to notice that the woman's picture actually came from GettyImages.com, a stock-photo agency.

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Teachers Sizzle Over Fast Food Fund-Raiser

"McTeacher's Night" has drawn criticism from some elementary school teachers in South San Francisco according to the San Francisco Chronicle. During the fast-food chain's PR event, teachers volunteer to work a three-hour shift at a McDonald's, preparing and serving food. Then the restaurant donates 20 percent of the profits to the teachers' school. "This is exploiting teachers for a real, live McDonald's commercial," one first-grade teacher told the Chronicle.

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Madison Avenue and Your Brain

"Several decades into the era of consumer capitalism, the whiz kids on Madison Avenue have learned fairly well how to attach psychic puppet strings to our minds, but they have never really known why (or often whether) their tricks worked," writes Matthew Blakeslee. "Enter the age of neuroscience. As investigators plumb ever deeper into the strange dynamics of the brain, they are shedding new light on many domains of human behavior, including mental illness, violence, cooperation, addiction, eating and even aesthetics. ... The lines between manipulation, free choice and manufactured vs.

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B-M's "Independent" Healthy Weight Task Force

"One of the things medical people really know about is clever advertising and one of the really clever tricks of the industry is duping the media into running advertising campaigns absolutely free of charge," writes Media Watch of Australia as it deconstructs the "Healthy Weight Task Force," a front group set up by the Burson-Marsteller PR firm in Australia to promote sales of Xenical diet pills.

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Slick Ads Won't Sell US to Arabs

Madison Avenue-style advertising aimed at Middle Eastern audiences isn't likely to work for the U.S. government, says Harold C. Pachios, chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. "There's more to America than Calvin Klein jeans--and that's the point," said Harold C. Pachios, chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. "We are thought of as superficial, so we need to avoid anything that smacks of the superficial."

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Pediatricians With a Corporate Logo

"Some leading members of the American Academy of Pediatrics are expressing outrage that the group is allowing the maker of Similac infant formula to print its corporate logo on the cover of a special edition of the academy's book on breast-feeding," reports the New York Times. "The academy, whose members include 57,000 pediatricians and other pediatric specialists, has long recommended that most mothers breast-feed because of the myriad benefits over formula." Dr. Lawrence M.

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What Rhymes With Hewlett-Packard?

In a new wrinkle on product-placement deals (known in the advertising lingo as "product integration"), the Island Def Jam Music Group is talking with Hewlett-Packard Co. about a deal to write product mentions into hip-hop songs. "If companies are willing to pay a premium to have their brands in movies, why wouldn't they jump at the chance to be in songs?" said a music industry executive.

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