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.
Channel One, which beams TV news programs and commercials into thousands of schools in the U.S., has broadcast dozens of news segments which contained anti-drug messages in the past three years -- and received millions of dollars' worth of ad credits from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for doing so.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Yahoo and Sony have signed a multi-year pact to cross promote each other's products. They will also develop a "co-branded" website called "Sony on My Yahoo," which will be the default page for Sony's internet-access service, Sony Style Connect. No financial details about the deal have been released.
Arbitron Inc., the research company that provides the ratings on which most U.S. radio advertising rates are based, plans to use new technology to increase the accuracy of its audience data. For nearly 35 years, Arbitron has collected data by having individuals fill out paper diaries documenting their radio listening habits. Needing to replace the outdated system to stay in business, Arbitron will be testing out "portable people meters." The beeper-like devices electronically measure every radio, television and cable broadcast a person takes in.
Magazines are offering more to advertisers than just ad space. "Integrated marketing" increasingly is being used by large publishers to draw in corporate advertisers. The Wall Street Journal reports that AOL Time Warner's Mutual Funds magazine offers marketing services at an additional charge to those who buy ad space.
Sweden has gained support from other EU members to ban television advertising aimed at children under 12. The LA Times reporters, "The move threatens to wipe out $200 million a year in advertising revenues for Europe's commercial broadcasters, entertainment industry lobbyists said. Perhaps more important to U.S. entertainment conglomerates, such a ban would significantly limit the ability of such companies as Viacom Inc.'s MTV and Nickelodeon and Walt Disney Co. to influence the buying habits of Europe's children."
In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of company founder Walt Disney's birth, Walt Disney World is pulling out all the advertising stops with a $250-million campaign. Disney's major corporate partners--McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, American Express, and Hallmark Cards--will all contribute paid media to counter sagging attendance at the four Florida Disney parks. Advertising Age reports, "As with most of Disney's big marketing efforts, all its companies are synergistically involved, including the ABC Television Network, which will air a documentary on Walt Disney...."
By understanding the interaction between news coverage and advertising on consumer perceptions, large companies hope to develop more effective and less costly communications plans. This report takes some first steps toward understanding that relationship. This paper is based upon research conducted in the late 1990's by AT&T's Public Relations research department.
The old 30 and 60 second ads we know and love may be obsolete in the future, thanks to the miracle of product placement. We've all seen lingering, seductive shots of consumer products in movies...and in the future, "you probably won't know where the commercial stops and the programs begin," says Bob Kuperman, President of New York ad agency TBWA.
"Showing all the signs of a thriving grass-roots movement, a host of new health-care groups are drawing attention to the perils of a contagious, sometimes lethal virus called hepatitis C," writes Robert O'Harrow. "But contrary to appearances, these coalitions are not spontaneous gatherings of concerned citizens. They are instead a key part of a carefully orchestrated marketing campaign funded by Schering-Plough Corp. to sell the primary therapy for hepatitis C, Rebetron, which costs $18,000 a year." Several members of the Hepatitis C Coalition are on the payroll of the Shandwick PR firm.