Wasting no time, video game startup Heyzap.com in San Francisco has created a video game based on Colorado's "Balloon Boy" hoax that is circulating on the Web and through Twitter. In it, a young Falcon Heene clings to a tinfoil muffin-like balloon while flying through the air trying to shoot down things that get in his way, like UFOs, rainbows and birds.
The National Advertising Review Council (NARC), a "coalition of advertising organizations" that recommends standards for industry self-regulation, issued its first rulings dealing with blog promotions. NARC faulted two companies for "posting 'reviews' of dietary supplements, but not disclosing that they actually own the products," or that the reviewers were paid.
"Newly unveiled court documents show that ghostwriters paid by a pharmaceutical company played a major role in producing 26 scientific papers backing the use of hormone replacement therapy in women," reports Natasha Singer. "The articles, published in medical journals between 1998 and 2005, emphasized the benefits and de-emphasized the risks" of Premarin and Prempro, two homone drugs produced by the Wyeth pharmaceutical company.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) "may soon require online media to comply with disclosure rules under its truth-in-advertising guidelines." FTC assistant director Richard Cleland said, "Consumers have a right to know when they're being pitched a product." But the "hypercommercialism of the Web" may be "changing too quickly for consumers and regulators to keep up," reports the New York Times.
"The ingenuity of the food manufacturers and marketers never ceases to amaze me," remarked author Michael Pollan. "They can turn any critique into a new way to sell food." Marketers are appropriating language from the "eat local" or "locavore" movement, which encourages support for small farms, sustainable practices and better treatment of animals.
The Victorian government has spent $222,000 Australian on a television program promoting the attraction of living and working in areas outside the major metropolitan areas. The program, ''Changing Places: Life in Provincial Victoria,'' was broadcast on commercial television at Easter.