Big Pharma's Poison Pill

The British medical journal The Lancet published a review of "six published and six unpublished trials" studying antidepressant use by children that concluded that, in most cases, "the risks exceeded the benefits." More disturbingly, the review found evidence that pharmaceutical companies "had been aware of problems but did not reveal them." In a memo leaked last month from GlaxoSmithKline, the company w


Baby, It's You

A survey of youth marketers, PR and advertising professionals found that, while respondents say children are "unable to make intelligent choices as consumers" until nearly 12 years old, it's OK to market to seven year olds. Just over 60 percent of those surveyed say advertising targets children at too young an age, but others feel "educational purposes" and brand loyalty justify targeting three year olds.


And Now, a Word from Our Earth Day Sponsor

"Through concerted marketing and public relations campaigns... 'greenwashers' attract eco-conscious consumers and push the notion that they don't need environmental regulations because they are already environmentally responsible.


A Not-So-Volunteer Force

In an official notice signaling their intention to launch a new "recruiting and advertising program to bolster and retain ranks in the U.S. Army," the Pentagon, Defense Contracting Command and Department of the Army observe that "the market dynamics recruiters continue to face are as challenging as any faced in the history of the All-Volunteer Force," according to O'Dwyer's PR Daily.


Bad Times for Brand Martha

"Company founders have long believed that placing their name on their company signals their willingness to stake their personal reputation and stand behind their products," observes the University of Pennsylvania's business school. "That's fine when things are going well and the company and the CEO whose name it bears are held in high regard. But what if the CEO falls from grace? What happens to a company if the CEO's name is in effect its brand o and then that name is tarnished?


Jesus Advertised on My Hotrod

Mel Gibson's controversial movie "The Passion of the Christ" is using a unique "surgical marketing campaign that has zeroed in on the Christian market and built a deafening buzz," according to the Wall Street Journal. "The promotional campaign got its start last year as Mr. Gibson hit the road and visited Christian leaders across America." Now, religious leaders are showing movie trailers and selling tickets to their congregations. But "passionate" marketing isn't just for churches.


Janet Jackson "Raises the Bar" for PR

"For those in the business of masterminding public-relations stunts... Janet Jackson's big expose during CBS's airing of the Super Bowl has raised a serious issue: how to top it," reports Claire Atkinson for Advertising Age. Desiree Gruber, whose firm Full Picture handles PR for Lisa Marie Presley and Arnold Schwarzenegger, agreed that the uproar is benefiting Jackson. "Janet is a brand, just as much as Frito-Lay is... She sells and she sells directly to the public," she explained. Sometimes more directly than others.


The Killing in Shilling

"Every holiday season, the Toy Guy, aka Christopher Byrne, appears on scores of local and national television and radio shows with his selections of the best and hottest toys," reports William Sherman. ""But what the parents and children don't know, and are not told by anchors and reporters, is that Byrne is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars annually by those toy manufacturers to hawk their products." Byrne is an employee of Litsky Public Relations, which charges $10,000 per product mention.


Drug Companies Fund Patient Advocacy Groups

"Pharmaceutical companies are pouring millions of dollars into patient
advocacy groups and medical organisations to help expand markets for their
They are also using sponsorships and educational grants to fund
disease-awareness campaigns that urge people to see their doctors.
Many groups have become largely or totally reliant on pharmaceutical
industry money, prompting concerns they are open to pressure from companies
pushing their products.
An investigation by The Age newspaper has found:


Drug Industry Spins Medical Journals Through Ghostwriters

"Hundreds of articles in medical journals claiming to be written by academics or doctors have been penned by ghostwriters in the pay of drug companies," the Observer reports. "The journals, bibles of the profession, have huge influence on which drugs doctors prescribe and the treatment hospitals provide. But The Observer has uncovered evidence that many articles written by so-called independent academics may have been penned by writers working for agencies which receive huge sums from drug companies to plug their products.



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