The Washingon Post reported NY-based PR firm Cohn & Wolfe's campaign for Glaxo SmithKline to promote its drug Paxil as a treatment for social anxiety disorder has raised concerns. The campaign calls into question whether pharmaceutical companies, traditionally in the business of finding new drugs for existing disorders, are increasingly in the business of seeking new disorders for existing drugs.
In 1997, we noted that the anti-environmentalist Junk Science Home Page was sponsoring a Global Warming Sweepstakes as a way of opposing measures that combat global warming. Well, two can play at that game. Act for Change/Working Assets just announced its own sweepstakes, which supports measures to combat global warming.
PR behemoth Weber Shandwick Worldwide hopes its successful pitch for China to host the 2008 Olympics will lead to a long and profitable relationship between the two. According to O'Dwyer's Daily, the WSW campaign is the Chinese government's first Western-style global PR effort.
Minnesota's largest health care system Allina Health System has been under the close scrutiny of the Minnesota attorney general. At issue is whether Allina improperly spent money on outside consultants and executive perks. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Allina spent over $300,000 this spring on "crisis management" consultants.
Food First, also known as The Institute for Food and Development Policy, is fund-raising for $450,000 to undertake a three-year campaign "to rebut the questionable PR tactics used by the biotech industry to promote genetically engineered (GE) food. Specifically, we will counter the industry tactics of green washing — 'biotech is pro-environment,' poor washing — 'we need biotech to feed the hungry,' and hope dashing — 'there is no alternative.' " Ross S.
Weber Shandwick Worldwide has regained its status as the biggest PR firm following Interpublic's decision to fold BSMG Wordwide--a former True North unit--into WSW. The move creates a PR colossus with $535 million in combined fees, according to rankings compiled by the Council of PR Firms. WSW beat out Fleishman-Hillard, who reported $343 million in fees to the Council, for the number one spot.
Pacific Lumber Co. announced it had been blessed by the American Forest & Paper Assn's "Sustainable Forestry Initiative" (SFI). Conservationists questioned Pacific Lumber's claims of sustainability, saying it reveals SFI to be little more than greenwashing. "To call Pacific Lumber's ongoing liquidation of ancient forests 'sustainable' exposes the self-serving nature of this program," commented Paul Mason of the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC). The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is the timber industry's program for certifying sustainably managed forests.
To journalists in Las Vegas, the proliferation of public information officers (PIOs) within local government is a cancer on the body politic. The city of Las Vegas has the same number of PIOs as the press office of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. As a result, says veteran Vegas TV reporter Hank Thornley, the days a reporter could easily directly inspect public documents or directly contact public officials are long gone. "You're referred to public relations," he says.
Fenton Communications, a PR firm that's made a name for itself supporting public interest campaigns, has put together a booklet that outlines "the nine laws of successful advocacy communications." According to O'Dwyer's PR editor Kevin McCauley, "'Now Hear This' is an indispensable primer for NGOs looking for more professional ways of getting their messages across to the public. Of course, the 32-page book is a must-read for corporate and agency PR execs that must neutralize noisy protesters."
The Government of Chile picked top-dog PR firm Fleishman-Hillard to guide its effort to win a Free Trade Agreement with the US. Rory Davenport, F-H Senior VP in Washington, DC, expects the White House and Chile will iron out negotiations for an FTA by the end of the year. "The Congressional focus will be next year," he said. Also at this link, the most recent Foreign Agents Registration Act filings.