Public Relations

Healthwashing Soda

Antioxidant 7-UpAs state and local governments consider taxing soda and sugary drinks to raise money and address the national obesity epidemic, manufacturers of sugary drinks -- like countless other industries -- are taking PR cues from the tobacco industry to defeat the initiatives. The PR tactics they are using are starting to be old hat. By now, everyone should be able to spot them, but just in case you're not up to speed on your corporate PR literacy, here's what to look for:

Step One: Position your product as the solution, not the problem

Coca Cola, Pepsico and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group are running print and TV ads promoting their joint initiative to remove full-calorie, artificially-sweetened drinks from schools. At the same time, Americans Against Food Taxes, the front group for the sugary drink manufacturers, is sending out emails boasting that soda companies have replaced full-calorie soft drinks with "smaller-portion" and "portion-controlled" beverages, real juice and bottled water in schools. Voila'! Their products are no longer the problem, they are part of the solution. Even better, now they'll get kids to buy more bottled water -- which costs them next to nothing to make -- at a dollar a bottle. Score!

High-Fructose Public Relations

Nutrition experts are battling sugar industry trade groups over over public information about the health hazards of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other caloric sweeteners. Nutrition experts say that the sweeteners added to soft drinks and countless other foods and beverages increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, and promote weight gain by adding empty calories to the average diet.

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Deceptive Big Bank Ads Will be Key to Election 2010

Even before a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision blew the lid off corporate campaign spending, it was clear that the big banks would be key players in the 2010 election cycle. Unemployment will remain high, and so will resentment against the banks -- a volatile combination that will encourage savvy members of Congress to continue to fight for meaningful reform of the financial sector.

Citigroup Offers New "Pick Pocket" Derivative

According to trade magazine RiskNet, credit specialists at Citigroup are considering launching the first derivatives intended to pay out in the event of a financial crisis. These types of derivatives function like an insurance policy, allowing parties to hedge against risk.

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Openly Gay Owner of Indiana PR Company Invited to Attend State of the Union Address

The White House has invited a special guest to attend President Obama's State of the Union address: Trevor Yager, the openly gay founder and co-owner of TrendyMinds, a successful advertising and public relations firm based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The President will feature the agency for its growth and charitable contributions in 2009, and as an example of a business that has benefited from White House policies.

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