The American Chemistry Council is considering an advertising campaign by ad giant Ogilvy & Mather "that would convey to the American public how essential the chemical industry is to modern life." The chemical industry trade association saw the campaign proposal, which could cost several hundred thousand dollars, at its recent exclusive membership meeting, reports Michael McCoy in Chemical & Engineer News. Ogilvy's initial market research "shows that the campaign could really 'move the needle' on the public's dim view of the industry. ...
Corporate Social Responsibility
The U.S. Supreme Court voted, 6 to 3, to dismiss Nike's appeal of a California Supreme Court decision on commercial speech. The Court said the case raised "novel constitutional questions" but was not ready for the high court's attention. The case, Nike v. Kasky, centered on whether or not Nike violated California's truth-in-advertising laws with its statements about the working conditions in its overseas factories.
Following a trend reported in PR Watch, 3rd Quarter 2002 of using PR to improve the image of global capitalism, PR giant Hill & Knowlton has formed a corporate social responsibility (CSR) group. PR Week reports,
"The CSR unit will attempt to focus on providing strategic counsel and communications support to CSR programs in areas including public outreach, internal communications, financial communications, community investment, public affairs, and environmental and CSR reporting.
Inter Press Service reports that "The recent appointment of fast food giant McDonald's to the advisory board of an environmental group has drawn accusations of 'green washing' from environmentalists and led one board member to resign in protest. Paul Hawken, a well-known activist and environmentalist respected for his strong opposition to corporate globalisation, resigned two weeks ago from the Green Business Network... .
PR giant Burson-Marsteller has hired Bennett Freeman as managing director for Corporate Responsibility in the firm's U.S. Corporate and Financial Practice.
Our First Quarter 2003 issue of PR Watch detailed the British American Tobacco company's effort to reposition itself as "socially responsible." Now the Center for Public Integrity has produced a detailed report, citing internal industry documents, showing how the tobacco industry is using "social responsibility" to "prevent the enactment of a tough worldwide treaty" regulating tobacco marketing.
"Earth Day, which began 33 years ago today as a nationwide rally to clean up the planet, has become the latest victim of the corporate takeover. From Houston to Hong Kong, companies are seeking to polish their green image by sponsoring Earth Day events, which grass-roots groups and cities struggle to fund. This year, garbage haulers, coffee companies and even missile manufacturers are underwriting Earth Day festivities, a public relations strategy that has divided environmentalists and led to protests of Earth Day itself. ... Houston Earth Day 2003, held this past Saturday ...
"As the Ford Motor Company scaled back expectations this week for its first hybrid-powered vehicle and backpedaled on a pledge to improve the fuel economy of its sport utility vehicles, Toyota was introducing its latest Prius, which will get about 55 miles a gallon and be the first midsize vehicle with hybrid technology. For environmentalists, the contrasting developments
reinforced the sense that only foreign carmakers care about
The CEO of the Business Council of Australia, Katie Leahy, citing Nike and McDonalds as examples, said that companies could be forgiven for wondering why they should make philanthropic contributions if they only became the subject of increased community criticism. "There is a concern among businesses that they don't necessarily receive the acknowledgment they think their efforts should bring them. ...
"In an effort to burnish its tarnished image on Wall Street
and Main Street, McDonald's has formed a partnership with ... Paul Newman. Mr. Newman ... has agreed to sell McDonald's a line of salad dressing,
similar to the bottled dressing made by his company,
Newman's Own. Under the same philanthropic principle that
guides Newman's Own, Mr. Newman said, all after-tax profits
from the deal will be given to charity. ... The partnership does give an aura of wholesomeness to
McDonald's and its food, said the food and science writer