Crisis Management

Chemical Industry PR to Counter Health Activists

Monique Harden and Nathalie Walker, two public interest lawyers, report that they attended "the recent conference of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), called 'Communicating in a Volatile World.' ACC is the trade association for the 180 largest manufacturers of chemicals in the U.S. Until recently, ACC was known as the Chemical Manufacturers Association. The ACC conference was a real eye-opener. It revealed the ACC's genuine fears about the accomplishments of environmental health activists.

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Corporate Damage Control Turns Tough

Alicia Mundy writes that "I was about to go live on the
Today show to discuss my book on the fen-phen scandal when the host,
Maria Shriver, leaned forward and very kindly said, 'I'm really sorry
about the way we're doing this interview and the questions I have to
ask. You understand, don't you?' ... It seems that the pharmaceutical company, Wyeth-Ayerst, had been
calling. Wyeth, a major conglomerate, makes Dimetapp and Robitussin, as
well as hormone replacement products and other drugs, and was a huge

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"Media Plan" Nearly Incinerated

Officials with the British Ministry of Defence were preparing to destroy a "media plan" about Dr. David Kelly three days after his death, according to a the Telegraph. "It is not clear whether the papers were burned, but MoD officials admitted last night that ministry security guards called the police after finding the 'media plan' relating to the Kelly affair in a sack of classified waste being prepared for incineration," the paper reported.

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America, Eat Your Fries!

The U.S. Potato Board is facing a crisis stemming from the decline in french fries sales, O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports. So, they've enlisted the creative powers of the St. Louis-based firm Osborn & Barr, whose clients have included the Cattlemen's Beef Board, National Pork Board and United Soybean Board. The Potato Board is looking for "concepts aimed at opinion leaders and consumers" to be part of a $1 million campaign (run by food industry PR giant Fleishman-Hillard) to get Americans to eat more french fries.

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White House Fumbles On 16-Word Crisis

"If President Bush's White House is known for anything, it is competence at delivering a disciplined message and deftness in dealing with bad news," Washington Post's Dan Balz and Walter Pincus write. "That reputation has been badly damaged by the administration's clumsy efforts to explain how a statement based on disputed intelligence ended up in the president's State of the Union address." The shifting White House story about it's references to Iraq, Niger and uranium continues to draw attention to the Bush administration deception.

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Witch Hunts And PR Blunders In The UK

"In England, they shot the messenger," the Los Angeles Times' Robert Scheer writes, referring to the apparent suicide of British biological weapons expert David Kelly. The scientist, who worked for the British Ministry of Defense, found himself at the center of a battle between the British government and the BBC over a BBC report that the government "sexed up" a September 2002 intelligence dossier on Iraq's weapons.

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PR Firm Advises MIT Research Center On Privacy Issue

"A privacy group is blasting a unit of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for its PR plans for a controversial product-ID technology and other internal documents labeled confidential that were posted on its public website," PR Week's John Frank writes. Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) has been raising the red flag over privacy concerns associated with the use of tiny radio-frequency transmitting ID tags in consumer products.

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