Is TV Losing Its Grip on Politics?

There may be hope on the horizon, according to the New York Times, which reports that the "once-overwhelming influence of television advertising on political campaigns is declining," leading politicians "to embrace aggressively old-fashioned campaign tools like telephone calls and door-knocking in this year's Congressional elections." According to Missouri Democrat Richard Gephardt, "The amount of television and the proliferation of television channels is lessening the importance of television advertising over time.


Snake Oil Search Engines

Despite a complaint by Commercial Alert and threats of legal action from the Federal Trade Commission, most of the Web's largest search engines have not yet complied with federal requirements that they inform users about deceptive "pay for placement" deals that smuggle commercial placements into search results.


TV Drug Pushers Include Media and Advertising Lobbyists

"Madison Avenue, facing growing legislative threats to one of the advertising industry's most lucrative categories, is stepping up the fight to protect its freedom to pitch prescription drugs directly to consumers. Drug companies, agencies and their media allies who have benefited handsomely from the flood of ads beat back one recent measure in the House of Representatives. ... The category of direct-to-consumer ads did not even exist until five years ago. Before 1997, broad curbs prevented pharmaceutical makers from mounting any significant


Ad Council, Born in War Propaganda, Flacks For Freedom

The target="_blank">Ad Council, a non-profit advertising company funded by corporations, is launching an advertising "campaign for freedom" in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US. The New York Times notes that the Ad Council was launched in 1942 to propagandize for the US war effort. A Stay Free magazine interview with professor Inger Stole notes that the Ad Council bragged then it would


Nutritional Advice from McDonald's & Coke

"Fast food companies including McDonald's and Coca-Cola are helping to fund a multimillion pound advertising campaign urging Americans to eat more healthily," reports the Guardian. Burger King, Heinz, Kelloggs, Kraft, Nestle, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Monsanto, and Unilever Bestfoods are also funding the $2.4 million campaign, code-named "Activate."


Stations Won't Run Ad Exposing Ford's Greenwashing

Radio stations won't let environmentalists at the Sierra Club run a radio ad urging the US car industry to build more fuel efficient cars. The ad spot specifically names Bill Ford Jr. of Ford Motor Company, an executive who excels at greenwashing his company with rhetoric, while failing to 'walk the walk.' Ford gives lip service to fuel efficiency, but staunchly opposes laws that would require it. Radio stations doing business with Ford and running its car ads are refusing to run the Sierra Club's radio spot.


Hiding a TV Commercial in Plain View

"An NBC-owned talk show is offering marketers the chance to buy guest spots for their products and executives, further blurring the line between programming and advertising. The sponsored segments were included in about two dozen shows appearing during the 2001-02 season of the entertainment program "The Other Half," which is owned, produced and distributed by the NBC Enterprises division of NBC, part of General Electric. ...


Saudi Arabia's Ad Campaign Rates Zero Stars

Advertising Age's Bob Garfield in his Ad Review column gives the ad campaign created by Qorvis Communications for the Embassy of Saudi Arabia zero stars. "The ads are signed 'The People of Saudi Arabia,' but that's a lie," Garfield writes. "And so is the premise. For decades, the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia and other so-called 'moderate' Arab states has been a deal with the devil. We sponsor their corrupt, repressive, authoritarian regimes with cash and weaponry. They sell us oil. Such unholy alliances, dictated by Cold War realpolitik, were bound to create backlash ....


Jamming Citigroup's PR Message

In mid-April, Citigroup launched a $100 million global ad campaign titled "This is Citigroup." Using images of elderly people, and people from Hong Kong to Brazil, the ads portray a caring bank, committed to local communities. But the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), which has waged a boycott against Citigroup for the past two years, says the bank completely ignores environmental and social concerns and is one of the biggest contributors to global warming.



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