"Ad after ad and public relations pitch after pitch has tumbled forth in the past month, using moral rectitude and chin-up perseverance to sell everything from cars to fashion to personal services to social outings to home products," writes Ann Gerhart.
The Associated Press in Miami reports that "a dozen Burger King marketing department employees suffered first and second degree burns on their feet when they walked barefoot over a strip of glowing, white-hot coals as part of a corporate bonding experience." At least one was hospitalized. But pain didn't stop a burned Burger King marketer from putting the best spin on the cultish training she helped organize. "'It was a great experience for everyone,' said Dana Frydman, vice president of product marketing... Although Frydman was one of those injured, she said she has no regret.
Daily newspapers face being booted from Starbucks coffeehouses unless they meet new demands, including one for advertising space. Starbucks, with more than 3,000 stores in North America, wants each regional newspaper to swap ad space for the privilege of being the exclusive local paper sold at its outlets in the area. The effort is a variation of Starbucks' year-old pact with The New York Times, which made the Times the only national newspaper sold at Starbucks.
PR trade publication O'Dwyer's PR interviewed PR practioners about what they see the profession contributing in the aftermath of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. O'Dwyer's reports, "The greatest service PR pros can provide in support of the country is to ensure that the consumer continues to buy, says Maureen Lippe, CEO of Lippe Taylor Marketing PR." However, pitches should try to have a "sensitive and mindful" tone and avoid frivolity.
Former President Bill Clinton has agreed to be an unpaid pitchman for the British Tourist Authority. According to O'Dwyer's PR Daily, the BTA will use the former President's picture on its website and in various brochures.
British author Fay Weldon's latest novel, "The Bulgari Connection," doesn't just happen to have the name of an up-scale jewelry store in its title by chance. The Italian jewerly company paid Weldon an undisclosed amount of money to be prominently featured in her novel. According to the New York Times, the book's US publisher, Grove/ Atlantic, as well as marketing and PR folks are thrilled with the deal.
Atlanta-based paper company Georgia Pacific hired Edelman PR for a $20,000 campaign to teach children the health benefits of washing their hands. As part of the "Clean Hands Week" campaign, actors hired by Georgia Pacific went to five Atlanta schools where they recreated scenes from the book "Mike's Dirty, Yucky, Icky, Sticky Adventure," which was developed for the campaign as well and will be distributed to 400 Atlanta-area schools. Edelman staff, dressed as germs, appeared on CBS's The Early Show where they gave out website and 1-800 number information for the campaign.
Commercial Alert and Obligation Inc. sent letters today to state officials in all 50 states requesting an investigation of an offer by Channel One, an in-school marketing company, to pay $500 to public school employees in exchange for convincing a school principal to enter into a contract to receive Channel One's product. The groups, which oppose the commercialization of schools, sent the letters to state attorneys general and chief state school officers in all 50 states, as well as to the heads of state ethics agencies.
The Omnicom Group is negotiating a deal with Viacom Inc.'s UPN network to arrange product placements on UPN's TV programs in exchange for Omnicom buying $30 million in TV ads. According to industry executives, part of the deal calls for McDonald's to be scripted into ''The Hughleys,'' a sitcom about an African-American suburban family starring comic D.L. Hughley. Other clients whose products will be scripted into UPN shows include Cingular Wireless, Gillette, Sony's PlayStation, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance and Vivendi Universal's Universal Pictures.
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.