Back in the heady days of the dot-com bubble, writes Martin Kady II, "enthusiastic folks in the public relations world could really work up a lather about their tech clients. In promoting the new new thing, these publicity machines would exercise all manner of hyperbole -- and the public and business press would fall for it hook, line and sinker. " Nowadays, most of the PR pitches he receives attempt to put a brave face on disaster or invite him to write about profitable companies that are exceptions to the rule.
This article includes correspondence between editor Michael Manville and the PR firm of BSMG Worldwide, which tried to get Manville to publish "one or more bylined articles written by experts in the field" of biotechnology. After initial denials, the BSMG representative eventually admitted that its client was actually the industry-funded Council for Biotechnology Information.
Amway representatives spread rumors that Procter and Gamble's "man-in-the-moon" logo is a Satanic symbol. That's according to a new P&G lawsuit against the Michigan-based household goods distributor. This is just the latest tiff between the two giant corporations; as far back as the 1980's, Amway distributors were publicizing a link between the Devil and their corporate rival, leading Procter and Gamble to drop the logo.
Greenpeace accused the European Union Council of greenwashing for attempting to classify an established health hazard as a source of renewable energy. The EU is advocating incineration of biodegradable waste, despite clear evidence that it produces virtually no useful energy. In addition a new Greenpeace report points to independent scientific research which identifies links between incineration and a variety of human health impacts.
Porter Novelli will be handling a more than $1 million account for the American Cancer Society, whose recently-hired VP-corporate communications is Greg Donaldson. What's interesting (and thoroughly predictable) is that Donaldson came to ACS from Humana. ACS is gearing up to be a "player" in the DC public policy debate on healthcare.
Politicians from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton George W. Bush are increasingly using "everyday citizens" as props to create a working-class appearance for policies that actually benefit the wealthy. "But unless we stop behaving as props and start behaving as citizens, we will be passive spectators at the increasingly contrived sport of politics in America," writes Robert Kuttner.
Want to send a message to the media and the public? Don't worry about the content--just make sure your spokesperson appears likable and believable. That's the message from media trainer Dick Kulp of Virgil Scudder and Associates. If the media "...see the spokesperson as credible and sincere, you've made the right impression." Just learn to fake sincerity, and you've won the PR battle.
Does Nike have a First Amendment right to publicly claim that it is a leader in fighting sweatshops -- or is that false advertising? The California Supreme Court may soon decide. In a lawsuit that could have far-reaching implications for corporate "greenwashing" campaigns, environmental activist Marc Kasky has sued Nike Inc., charging that the company's public claims about conditions in its Asian factories amount to false advertising under California's consumer-protection laws.
"Why would the Guardian provide moral and medical justification for the multiple murder of innocent Israeli civilians?" That's the question that appeared in hundreds of emails to the Guardian of London, accusing it of bias in its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After some sleuthing, Guardian reporters discovered that the correspondence was generated by HonestReporting.com, a website established by Aish HaTora, an international group promoting orthodox Judaism.
Margery Kraus of APCO Worldwide has been named "International PR Professional of the Year" by PR Week magazine - a fitting honor to a woman whose company specializes in the worst sleaze the industry produces -- from helping the tobacco industry promote "sound science" to orchestrating a phony "grassroots" campaign for "tort reform" as a way of making it hard