California is a hotbed for political messaging, as same-sex couples get married and conservative groups try to stop them with a November ballot initiative. Equality for All, a coalition supporting same-sex marriage, has hired Ogilvy PR Worldwide, the Democrat-leaning firm Dewey Square Group and the polling firm Lake Research Partners.
Dunkin' Donuts pulled an online ad for frozen lattes featuring domestic maven Rachael Ray after receiving complaints from right-wing bloggers, including conservative FOX News commentator
Sludge keeps rearing its ugly head. Scientists used federal grant money to "spread fertilizer made from human and industrial wastes on yards in poor, black neighborhoods to test whether it might protect children from lead poisoning in the soil." The residents were not alerted to any harmful ingredients in the sludge, and were assured that it posed no health risks for their families.
A British county has been using an anti-terrorism law enacted in 2000 to spy on minors for petty crimes like using cigarettes and alcohol. The Staffordshire County Council in Britain's Midlands region has been using Britain's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) for a host of non-terrorism-related applications, like monitoring underage liquor and tobacco sales, recording the movements of farm animals and tracking counterfeit DVD sales.
In 2004, the Unilever company Dove got lots of attention for using "ordinary-looking -- in some cases heavyset -- women in its ads for shampoos and beauty products.
The Second Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals missed a great opportunity this week to hold the tobacco industry accountable for one of its worst marketing tactics -- positioning cigarette brands in response to smokers' medical concerns. The April 7, 2008, issue of the New York Times has an article about the dismissal of a huge, class-action lawsuit against the tobacco industry that was brought by smokers of "light" cigarettes who claimed they were misled about the relative safety of "light" cigarettes compared to regular, "full flavor" cigarettes. The suit, and its dismissal by the court, brought to mind a little-recognized tobacco industry marketing survival tactic that weighs heavily on the public's perception of exactly what "light" means.
The tobacco industry has long had a remarkable ability to rescue itself from damaging health claims by turning allegations against its products into marketing opportunities. Inside the industry, the fact that cigarettes cause widespread illness and death is referred to as the "smoking and health" issue, or "S&H issue" for short. Tobacco marketers consider "S&H issues" to be little more than "external marketing forces" that require re-positioning of products, through changes in advertising copy strategy, so that smokers will get an illusion of safety from the dangers they perceive.