Archive for PR

At last some great news: massive US foods group pledges to take action on obesity

Posted in Marketing, advertising, ethics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by marketingheart

In what appears to be a masssive Corporate Social Responsibility move, a group of the largest US food makers, including General Mills, Nestle, Coca Cola and PepsiCo, have come together to address obesity making a pledge to cut 1.5 trillion of calories from markt availability by the end of 2015.poor child
The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation
coalition, headed by Kellogg boss David Mackay will achieve the reduction through reformulations and smaller serves. It’s a first-of-its kind coalition that brings together more than 80 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, sporting goods, insurance, trade associations and NGOs

The calorie cuts were announced by Michelle Obama who also unveiled a “task force” that called on food manufacturers to curb the marketing of unhealthy foods to children and in February launched a campaign to encourage US families to eat more healthily and exercise more.

Looks like Mrs Pres has done a great lobbying job. Health campaigners said the coalition’s move seemed “sincere and measurable”. What remains unknown is how effective it will be and so funding has also been provided for an independent evaluation of the extent to which the group’s efforts actually reduce calories in the marketplace.

Nestle and Pepsi will no doubt be mightily relieved that we here at Marketingheart applaud this initiative, but rest assured dear readers, we will be watching it closely for signs of phoniness and will be the first to report any sign of cheap message exploitation and inauthenticity. However 1.5 trillion reasons to be more healthy sounds good to us at this point…now let’s see what happens here in Australia where our obesity problem has apparently caught up with the USA’s.

The dirty marketing technique of Astroturfing

Posted in Marketing, advertising, ethics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by marketingheart

Michael Kiely who shows awful judgement by calling himself “Australia’s only marketing guru’ has written about ‘Astroturfing’ a most unethical practice being used by big polluting industrialists.
polluters pr
Citing two recent books – Scorcher by Clive Hamilton and High and Dry by Guy Pearse – Kiely posits the dirty mining, coal and smelting industries spend big but hidden sums sponsoring ‘faux grassroots’ campaigns to block or delay any action on global warming. This has apparently been very successful and is behind the coal industry’s confidence it will receive big Federal compensation for the cost of reducing CO2 emissions.

The technique involves funding lots of small, usually right wing organisations to hire PR firms to run their agendas, creating an overall impression that they are part of a grassroots revolt.

Kiely claims all sorts of industries with unpopular agendas use the technique, including those pushing genetically modified foods, against gun control, against the link between cancer and asbestos and, of course, against the notion of climate change. Standard tools include conferences, white papers by ‘experts’ and self-published journals claimning to be objective and per reviewed and sporting titles like World Climate Review and Energy & Environment.

Related and similarly unlovable PR industry techniques: are ventriloquism and the echo chamber. Ventriloquism is hiring ‘independent’ scientists to position questionable messages as science. The ‘echo chamber’ is the repetition of key messages until they get noticed.

Unfiortunately as Media Watch so often shows, the media’s tendency to mindlessly reprint press releases almost verbatim creates easy opportunities for such techniques and a lazy approach to balance sees more space given to sceptics’ views than is reflected in scientific or community views. For example an analysis of articles in the most influential American dailies found that 53 percent expressed doubt as to global warming. However of a sample of over 900 articles dealing with climate change and published in peer-reviewed, scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, none expressed doubt as to the existence or major cause of global warming.

Kiely reasonably likens these public relations campaigns to the tobacco companies’ campaign to create doubt about the role of cigarettes in causing disease and the rearguard actions by earlier generations to defend lead and asbestos, slavery and wife-beating.

I’d really like to get a response to this unappetising stuff from the PR industry.