From Britain, with Love - and Focus Groups

The Iranian presidential campaign of Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, "a conservative former revolutionary guard air force commander whose candidacy has the blessing of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei," is patterned after that of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, reports the Guardian.


Advertainment Reigns

Product placements on television shows are booming, with this year's market expected to total $4.2 billion. "Advertisers pay as much as $2 million an episode to get their products featured on NBC's 'The Apprentice,'" reports the Los Angeles Times. At the TV industry's annual sales drive, actor Amanda Bynes of WB's "What I Like About You" said of her show's characters, "This season we found out, like, they eat Pringles and use Herbal Essence shampoo.


BP: Beyond Published Criticism

Like General Motors and Morgan Stanley, the energy company BP "has adopted a zero-tolerance policy toward negative editorial coverage." BP's media buyer, the WPP firm MindShare, now "demands that ad-accepting publications inform BP in advance of any news text or visuals they plan to publish that directly mention the company, a competitor or the oil-and-energy industry" and give BP "the o


The Passion of Fake Radio News

"Back when Mel Gibson's movie 'The Passion of the Christ' was arousing passions nationwide, a promotion packet arrived at local public radio station KAZU," writes Karen Ravn in California. It included "a transcript of questions an enterprising reporter might want to ask Jim Caviezel, the movie's star," and "a CD of Caviezel-recorded answers." As KAZU's news director at the time, Bernhard Drax, described, "The transcript would say, 'Hi, Jim, how are you?' and on the CD, Jim would say, 'I'm fine.


Stormin' Morgan Joins Ad Bullies' League

"Morgan Stanley, whose battle with unhappy shareholders has played out on the business pages, is warning prominent newspapers that it could pull its advertising if it objects to articles." Morgan Stanley's new ad policy says the company "must be notified" of any "objectionable editorial coverage," so that a "last-minute change" in its advertising can be made. If notification is impossible, the policy directs all ads to be canceled, "for a minimum of 48 hours," reports Advertising Age.


Smokes Still Get in Children's Eyes

"Major tobacco companies agreed to stop pushing for their products to be promoted in the arts from 1998," but "the number of tobacco brand appearances in U.S. films aimed at children has not fallen significantly," according to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The percentage of "films aimed at children show[ing] tobacco brand names, or trademarks" fell slightly from 15 to 12, after 1998.


Rules Enforced; Marketers Unhappy

Perhaps due to the Vioxx and teen antidepressant scandals, "the Food and Drug Administration is pelting drugmakers with letters warning that they have run afoul of promotional regulations." Advertising Age writes that the FDA's actions are "threatening to tip the $4 billion direct-to-consum



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