Crisis Management

Merck Toots Its Own Horn

Merck's PR campaign around the Vioxx recall includes "three full-page ads in seven prominent newspapers," "several television appearances," and "testimony before Congress by the company's chief executive." But the president of a New York crisis-management firm says, "They really need some third-party endorsements


Painful PR

U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewer David Graham told Congress that "at least five medications now sold to consumers pose such risks that their sale should be limited or stopped." They are the weight-loss drug Meridia, anti-cholesterol drug Crestor, acne drug Accutane, painkiller Bextra and asthma treatment Serevent.


NY Times Says Wal-Mart Needs Better Story, Not More Spin

Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott recently said, "We have not gotten our story out to the extent that we need to." The head of the global super store told a retailing conference that Wal-Mart's bad reputation came from newspapers and television. But a New York Times editorial responded that "if Wal-Mart wants to improve its image, it should focus less on shaping its message and more on changing the way it does business. ... These damaging news stories are not a product of bad spin, but bad facts.


Big Box Buys Buddies

"Stung by criticism of its labor practices, expansion plans and other business tactics," Wal-Mart "has become a sponsor on National Public Radio," underwritten the "Tavis Smiley" talk show, and "plans to award $500,000 in scholarships to minority students at journalism programs around the country." A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said there's "no hidden agenda," but "we've really been in the spotlight and I think t



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