The Corn Refiners Association launched an 18-month, $20 to $30 million public relations and advertising campaign "to convince consumers that HFCS [high-fructose corn syrup] isn't the evil it has been made out to be." The industry group is running ads in major newspapers -- under the banner "time for a little food for thought" -- that say HFCS has the "same natural sweeteners as table sugar and honey." The campaign, which was created by the
You've heard the term "greenwashing." It refers to corporations that try to appear "green" without reducing their negative impact on the environment.
Since 2002, the group Breast Cancer Action has promoted its "Think Before You Pink" campaign. It's fighting "pinkwashing," which is when corporations try to boost sales by associating their products with the fight against breast cancer. Pinkwashing is a form of slacktivism -- a campaign that makes people feel like they're helping solve a problem, while they're actually doing more to boost corporate profits. Pinkwashing has been around for a while, but is now reaching almost unbelievable levels.
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
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer "is preparing an advertising and public-relations campaign to counter concerns about its antismoking drug Chantix, once trumpeted as a potential billion-dollar-a-year blockbuster." So far, Pfizer has "run ads in five major newspapers in which its medical director explains Chantix's risk-benefit balance." The drug company will soon "start hosting ro
We recently received an email from someone who asked, "What is the difference between a 'product placement' and a 'video news release' (VNR)? Is a VNR a type of product placement?" Since other people might have the same question, I thought I'd post my answer here. On SourceWatch, we have articles about both topics. As our article about video news releases explains, a VNR is a piece of video that is created (typically by a public relations firm on behalf of a paying client) and designed to look like a news segment for broadcast by TV news programs. It deceives audiences by creating the impression that the "news" they see on TV was produced by independent reporters, when in fact VNRs are promotional pieces designed to sell something for a client whose identity is not always disclosed. TV news shows often deny that they use VNRs, but Diane Farsetta, our senior researcher, has done extensive research in which she found numerous examples of the practice. "Product placement" is a separate but similarly sneaky practice of getting television programs and movies to display a company's product within their program.
New York Times reporter Melody Petersen, who covered the pharmaceutical industry for four years, has now published a book titled Our Daily Meds: How the pharmaceutical companies transformed themselves into slick marketing machines and hooked the nation on prescription drugs.
Charter Communications, one of the largest Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the U.S., recently sent letters to some of its 2.7 million customers with details of a new initiative. "Charter is billing its new web tracking program as an 'enhancement' for customers' web surfing experience. ... The pilot program is set to begin next month.