Edition, December 20, 2000, Page 1
SALMON JOINS APCO
Republican Congressman Matt Salmon, who once introduced
legislation to put Ronald Reagan's likeness on Mt. Rushmore,
is joining APCO Worldwide, Washington, D.C., when his term
is up Jan. 3.
The three-term Congressman from Arizona is to open an office
in Phoenix, where he will concentrate on PA projects in
the Southwest and Asia. Salmon, 42, served on the international
relations committee and focused on U.S.-China relations.
The Congressman served in Taiwan as a Mormon missionary
during the late 1970s.
Salmon did PA work for US West before he was elected to
the Arizona Senate.
HULL TO MONSANTO CO.
Sarah Hull, VP and senior partner in the Kansas City office
of Fleishman-Hillard, will join the Monsanto Co., St. Louis,
as senior VP, public affairs.
Pharmacia Corp., parent of Monsanto, is spinning off Monsanto
as a separate company.
Monsanto, based in St. Louis, is a client of F-H. Pharmacia's
h.q. are in Peapack, N.J.
The search for the top PA post at Monsanto was made by Warren
Hendriks of DHR Int'l, Chicago.
Joan Walker, who was senior VP-global PA at Pharmacia, is
leaving the company after the first of the year. She said
she will take some time off before deciding on her next
She was a senior VP at Monsanto before it was acquired by
Pharmacia & Upjohn, which later changed its name to
Earlier, Walker was senior VP-corporate communications for
Ameritech, which was acquired by SBC (Southwestern Bell
FORMS MED-ED GROUP
Hill and Knowlton has formed a Medical Knowledge Group because
"there's a fine line between PR and medical education,
especially when a drug is in its pre-launch stage,"
Joan Garcia told this NL.
She is senior managing director of MKG's "New York"
office, which is based in Riverdale, N.J.
The group's services include message development, publication
strategy, sales force training and outreach programs targeted
at both professional and patient audiences.
Garcia, who has a nursing background, joins H&K from
parent company's WPP Group's CommonHealth operation.
LOVING & WEINTRAUB SPLIT UP
Mary Loving and Harriet Weintraub, who have run Loving &
Weintraub since 1988, are going their separate ways. Each
is setting up her own firm, taking along individual clients.
Weintraub, who handles Burberry and Guerlain, among others,
plans to establish a new business partnership with former
L&W employees Veronika Ullmer, Jennifer Wolinetz and
Loving's new firm, which is called Mary Loving & Co.,
will handle such clients as Echo Design Group, Samsonite,
La Perla and Target.
She plans to lease new office space and to bring about 10
people with her.
TALKS DEAL WITH CAA
Omnicom Group is discussing a takeover or joint-venture
with Creative Artists Agency, one of Hollywood's most powerful
talent agencies. CAA has 400+ staffers, and had $200M+ in
The companies have held talks off and on for a few months,
but negotiations have heated up during the past two weeks,
according to the Hollywood Reporter.
CAA represents Tom Cruise and Gwyneth Paltrow, among others,
and offers marketing services via its 40 percent-owned Shepardson
Stern & Kaminsky unit.
SS&K, on its website, lauds its CAA connection as a
means to get a handle on the "twists and turns of popular
Selvage & Lee could be hurt by General Motors' decision
to phase-out its 100-year plus Oldsmobile brand, according
to Tom Kowaleski, a GM spokesperson. Oldsmobile "avails
itself" of MS&L's services, he said...Global
Communicators has been selected by the Croatian National
Tourist Board to "introduce" Croatia, a former
Yugoslavian republic, to American travelers. GC CEO Jim
Harff handled Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo when he was at
Ruder Finn in the early 1990s.
Edition, December 20, 2000, Page 2
CUTS OUTSIDE PR COUNSEL HOLTZ
The International Assn. of Business Communicators has suspended
the $8,333 monthly counseling contract with Internet specialist
Shel Holtz, who also provides workshops and seminars for
Holtz, who was paid $83,330 for the first ten months of
the year, providing about 55 hours of counsel and work each
month, put on about 18 full-day workshops for IABC this
year via his own firm.
He also worked for IABC via NetGain, a group of communicators
who put on two-day "New Wave" conferences "in
association with" IABC.
Holtz is paid $2,400 for web-related workshops he conducts
himself that attract up to 25 participants. This rises to
a limit of $4,500 for those that draw 46 or more registrants.
NetGain, which puts on more elaborate meetings ($795 for
members and $895 for non-members), is "a virtual consulting
consortium helping clients to communicate online."
NetGain Principals Listed
Its principals, including Holtz, are "six of the communication
profession's most noted information technology experts,"
says NetGain's website.
The others are Craig Jolley, formerly of Mead Data Central,
who has his own firm in Springboro, Ohio; Peter Shinbach,
a member of PRSA who has a firm in Birmingham, Mich.; Tudor
Williams, a member of IABC; Daniel Janal, Internet specialist,
and Carol, Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. The next New Wave conference
is Feb. 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Holtz said he did not immediately know what his total income
was from IABC in 2000. He was initially hired as a consultant
to focus on its fledgling e-business called "TalkingBusinessNow."
TBN has cost IABC about $1 million for research, planning
and other preliminary expenses and currently needs $300-$400,000
to reach the next stage of launching. It will cover the
communications aspects of various business situations. IBM
Global Services and Nine Dots are major consultants to IABC
Holtz said that soon after he started with IABC he learned
of the first of the financial issues confronting the group
and much of his time went into that.
IABC last Sept. 17-19 co-sponsored the "Fifth Annual
Strategic PR Conference" with Lawrence Ragan Communications.
CBS' JACQUELINE ADAMS JOINS C&W
CBS News correspondent Jacqueline Adams is joining Clark
& Weinstock as managing director in the new year. She
is to advise C&W clients on media and grassroots strategies.
Adams said C&W, which is owned by Omnicom, is at the
"intersection of business, media and politics."
The 50-year-old journalist visited the 50 states while covering
the Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson, Mondale/Ferraro and Bush/Quayle
presidential campaigns, according to C&W's website.
She also covered the Bush and Reagan White Houses.
She spent less time on politics during the 1990s, contributing
a broad range of stories to "48 Hours," "CBS
Evening News," "Sunday Morning" and the CBS
DRUG ADS FAIL TO EDUCATE CONSUMERS
Consumer Rx ads fail to educate, miss the basic points and
may obscure the facts about prescription drugs, according
to a survey co-authored by Robert Bell, professor of communications
at the University of California/Davis.
The results appear in the Journal of Family Practice.
The research team studied 320 ads from 1989 through 1998
in 18 magazines ranging from Business Week to Vogue.
found 95 percent of ads named the condition for which the
drugs were prescribed, but only 27 percent mentioned the
causes or risk factors for the condition.
"The ads leave you largely uninformed about the medical
condition that drug is intended to treat," said Bell.
Among the facts missing in the ads are success rates, how
long the drug must be taken and how long it takes for the
drug to work.
"If the purpose of these ads is just education, they
would be saying a lot of other things," said Richard
Kravitz, director of the UC Davis Center for Health Services
Research in Primary Care and a co-author of the study.
"The purpose is to encourage patients to use these
drugs, which isn't always bad," he said.
Y&R PULLS PLUG ON TREND UNIT
Young & Rubicam is closing its trend and brand consulting
unit by the end of the year.
Marian Salzman and Ira Matathia, who founded Brand Futures
Group three years ago, are leaving the company, while the
other ten staffers in the group are to be transferred to
Y&R spokesperson Liz Reilly cited "legal reasons"
as her reason for not being able to elaborate on the shutdown
of the Intelligence Factory, which is BFG's revised name.
Scores of Y&R staffers have left the company since WPP
Group completed the acquisition of Y&R in October, according
to the Dec. 11 Adweek, which says more cuts are expected.
PLAYS BALL WITH THE GLOBETROTTERS
As part of a campaign to promote the anniversary of the
Harlem Globetrotters, The Lee Solters Co., Beverly Hills,
arranged for the basketball team to meet with Pope John
Paul II Nov. 29, before a crowd of 50,000 in St. Peter's
The team presented the pontiff with a team ball and commemorative
jersey inscribed with his name and the number 75, representing
the team's anniversary.
"The photo opportunity was as good as it gets,"
said Solters VP Jerry Digney, who oversees the Globetrotter
"The Vatican was very receptive to the idea because
the Globetrotters are a very positive force and the pontiff
has always loved sports and the arts," he said.
The Associated Press, AFP, Reuters, CBS, ABC, CNN and Fox
all covered the event.
Edition, December 20, 2000, Page 3
SPOTS BAD RELEASES
Thanks to a San Diego-based PR firm, publicists now have
an online tool to help them write journalistically correct
After more than six months of research on the words most
hated by the media and those most commonly mis-used without
definition or elaboration in technology company news releases,
the Gable Group has launched jargonfreeweb.com
to promote clarity in PR and provide a quick tool-the Jargonator-for
measuring the jargon content of copy.
"The daily deluge is so bad many media have created
bozo and jargon filters on their e-mail to automatically
delete messages that contain words such as `solutions, first,
leading, cutting-edge, best, first mover, state-of-the-art,
and end-to-end,'" said Gable.
At jargonfreeweb.com, anyone can submit copy to the Jargonator
and get an instant reading of its suitability for publication
on a scale of 1 to 6, with 1 being jargon-free and suitable
for publication, to a 4 which is barely fit for human consumption,
to a 6 which is destined for the bottom of a bird cage.
Gable said the words were selected from media interviews,
media sites such as buzzkiller.net and the firm's own research,
which analyzed news releases issued during one week over
PR Newswire and Business Wire.
A new `solution' was promoted every eight minutes on average.
More than half the companies claimed to be `leading providers'
of something, but never submitted evidence to support the
Rob Calem, who is an editor for The Wall Street Journal
Interactive edition, said: "Please don't write
to me about solutions anymore... they have become a problem."
"The website also gives examples of what reporters
call lame-ass quotes, or LAQs-self-serving statements found
in the second or third paragraph of most news releases,"
said Gable, a former financial journalist.
"Read them aloud and if a human being wouldn't say
it, dump it. Good quotes should bring a story to life, not
kill it or cause an editor to laugh so hard he herniates,
if he or she even reads it," said Gable.
FAIR OFFERED "BEST-DRESSED' LIST
New York fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert has offered to
turn over her annual International Best-Dressed List to
all happens when I die," the 97-year-old Lambert told
Cathy Horyn, who covers fashion for The New York Times.
She has told the editors she will not accept a penny for
the list. "I've always tried to keep the list pure
from commercial interests," said Lambert, who said
the list has never cost her much to produce.
Horyn said other people, including publicist Paul Wilmont,
have expressed interest in taking over the list, which Lambert
has been producing since the early 1940s.
Each spring, Lambert meets with a committee of journalists
and prominent social people in her Fifth ave. apartment
to decide in secret who will be on that year's International
Steven Alschuler of Linden Alschuler & Kaplan
said the challenge in pitching news is to "know the
media well enough to be able to present your company in
a way that coincides with the publication's or program's
need to provide interesting material to its audience."
He also believes badly written press releases, that are
difficult to understand or full of techno-jargon or never
get to the point, are the surest way to lose a reporter's
Review, which was relaunched two and a half years
ago by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, goes monthly
The magazine's editor, John Benditt, has decided to put
an emphasis on stories about emerging technologies. He said
stories that focus directly on technology rather than the
people, organization and strategies involved in innovation
resonate most strongly with readers of the magazine.
TR is read by 875,000 affluent CxOs, senior technologists,
investors, entrepreneurs and innovators, who believe technology
drives business success.
Benditt heads a staff of nine editors, including Tracy Staedter,
managing editor, based at 201 Vassar st., Cambridge, MA
02139. 617/253-8250; fax: 256-8778.
Economist magazine has begun a new Technology Quarterly
supplement. The 44-page launch issue appears in the Dec.
David Hanger, publisher of the Economist, said the new supplement
is designed to offer readers a "foretaste of new developments
that are threatening to disrupt the way we do business in
the years ahead."
The supplement's co-editors, Nick Valery and Jeff Carr,
are based in the magazine's London office.
David Burgin, 61, has replaced Martha Steffens,
who resigned as editor of The San Francisco Examiner.
Burgin's title has not been determined. No replacement was
named for Susan Herbert, who resigned as editorial
Koepp, 44, previously executive editor, was named deputy
managing editor of Time magazine.
Juliet Buck has resigned as editor of French Vogue
to return to the U.S.
news continued on next page)
Edition, December 20, 2000, Page 4
PROS PICK BEST REPORTERS
PR professionals picked John Markoff, who covers technology
for The New York Times, as the top business/consumer
reporter in this year's Press Access PRESStige Awards.
Marcus + Co., a PR firm that publishes the Marketing With
Honors directory of awards competitions, administered the
competition for Boston-based Press Access.
The winners in the other categories were: Healthcare-Adrienne
Burke, BioInform; Technology-Mark Ferelli, Computer
Technology Review; "Most Prominent Cyber Writer"-Michael
Fitzgerald of Redherring.com; "Pioneering Syndicated
Columnist"- Jeremy Caplan, Yahoo!Internet Life;
"Most Visionary Editor-in-Chief"-James Daly, Business
2.0; "Most Discerning News Reporter"-Mary
Jo Foley, ZDNet; "Most Astute Product Reviewer"-Timothy
Dyck, eWeek; Finance-Adam Lashinsky, TheStreet.com,
and "Up and Coming Journalist"-Stephen Shankland,
PR and marketing professionals nominated journalists for
the awards. The winners received the most nominations in
their respective categories.
Only journalists whose coverage dealt with the business,
consumer, technology, healthcare, or finance industries
and whose work has been published within the last 12 months
Marcus' directory lists 450 U.S. and international high
technology awards competitions sponsored by publications,
trade shows, associations and organizations, national and
state governments, and private individuals.
CREDIBILITY GAP IS WIDENING
The findings of a new Gallup Poll show 65 percent of the
public does not believe the press "get the facts straight"
when covering political news.
The margin of disbelief has never been greater than now
in eight Gallup Polls asking this question since 1985.
The respondents see the Democrats as the media's favored
party. Some 29 percent of the respondents to a recent Gallup
Poll said the news media favored Democrats; 15 percent said
Republicans got the benefit of any bias; four percent said
neither political party was favored in news reporting.
Gallup found all-news cable TV channels are the source of
news viewed most important by most people who followed the
Florida recount battle.
Some 53 percent rated cable channels like CNN, MSNBC and
the Fox News Channel "extremely important" or
"very important," the highest categories on a
The network evening news programs ranked in the top two
categories with 44 percent, followed by local TV news with
38 percent, local newspapers (33%), morning network news
programs (28%), and national newspapers (24%).
STOCK ANALYSTS FACE NEW RULES
Financial analysts who make stock recommendations in print
or on TV, may face new Federal rules that require them to
disclose whether they or their investment firm could profit
from such advice.
Regulators for the Securities and Exchange Commission plan
to work with the National Assn. of Securities Dealers, which
runs the Nasdaq stock market, and the New York Stock Exchange
to draft new disclosure rules for financial analysts, according
to a Dec. 11 report by The Associated Press.
Dec. 7, NASD's board of governors approved a resolution
supporting disclosure by analysts of potential conflicts
of interest during public appearances.
"It is important for investors to have confidence that
a recommendation made by an analyst or other financial services
professional is based solely on the merits of the investment
and not that person's financial interest," said Robert
Glauber, NASD's CEO and president.
SEC chairman Arthur Levitt, who said last April that he
favored disclosure by analysts, said he believes TV bestows
a certain power and celebrity status on those who appear
need to know whether financial analysts,<%0> who reach
millions on TV, have "compromised" that power
by holding significant positions in stocks they recommend,
Levitt told the AP's Marcy Gordon.
CNBC, a financial TV network, already requires analysts
appearing on it to make such disclosures.
JUDGE FINES 'ANONYMOUS' LIBELER
A former Emory University school of medicine urologist has
been awarded $675,000 against an anonymous libeler.
The urologist, Sam D. Graham Jr., who was the subject of
a posting on Yahoo, had resigned in July 1998. He saw the
posting seven months later which suggested he had taken
kickbacks from a company and had been forced to resign.
The message was later determined to be from a pathologist
who operates his own labs.
The Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch said lawyers believe
it is the first libel judgment against someone who made
an anonymous Internet posting.
WABC RADIO ADDS NEW SHOW
WABC radio has added a new show, "The Trouble Shooter,"
with Tom Martino.
It airs every day from 9-10 a.m. and for three hours every
Tuesday through Sunday, starting at 2 a.m., replacing the
overnight show, "Coast-to-Coast," hosted by Mike
Martino, who is known for his fiery personality and willingness
to battle for the consumer, takes caller complaints about
products and services. He also tries to get the business
on the air to tell its side and tries to work out a settlement.
Edition, December 20, 2000, Page 7
The bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2000 had its effect
on the PR/ad worlds.
Closest to home, two dot-com investments of Omnicom that
were once worth $1.2 billion all but vanished. Agency.com,
briefly $98 last December, hit $3 on Dec. 15, 2000 (off
22% in one day); Razorfish (once $56) sank 50% last week
to a new low of $1.37 in what the New York Post said
was a "mass sell-off of more than 10 million shares."
Luckily (!?) OMC had unloaded four million RAZF shares on
March 14 for a profit of $110M while they were still worth
Young & Rubicam's Brand Futures Group last December
told what's in and out for 2000 but forgot to include itself
in the "outs." It folded.
Oprah Winfrey won a libel suit in Texas, saying "Free
speech not only lives, it rocks." But staff said they
had to sign strict confidentiality agreements and were "ruled
Hedgefund titan Julian Robertson, who sued Business
Week for $1 billion in 1997 because the mag portrayed him
as a flawed genius with a temper, closed his business after
its investments dropped.
The May Red Herring (out just when the dot-com
market was imploding) said high-techs were being "fleeced
of huge fees by PR firms."
No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies said the
U.S. is again a slave economy only this time the slaves
are farm girls in the Far East working sometimes from 7
a.m. to 2 a.m. for 13-30 cents an hour making our clothes,
sneakers, electronics, etc.
Cluetrain Manifesto said the web has restored the
"banter of the bazaar" and that "markets
are conversations: talk or die." Company websites are
"screen after screen of fatuous self-praise."
"Wild West" message boards (Yahoo! has the best)
are under attack. Anonymous postings can be traced and their
authors sued for libel (a doctor just won a $675,000 suit
for a posting on Yahoo!).
The Wall Street Journal, reviewing "cat"
scanners that let readers scan bar codes in ads to access
websites, said most sites are not worth accessing. Ten million
"cats" were to be distributed.
York Times ad columnist Stuart Elliott, in a cry of pain,
urged PR pros to stop sending e-mails with multiple attachments;
stop pestering him with details once he agrees to do a story,
and start providing basic facts with news releases. His
day goes from 8 a.m. to midnight (when he finally reads
the Times), he told PRSA/NY.
George Lazarus of the Chicago Tribune, an ad columnist
for more than 35 years, died suddenly at 68; Farley Manning,
a founder of Manning, Selvage & Lee, died at 90; writer
Claudia Kirschhoch disappeared on a press trip to Sandals,
and IABC dropped their top staff execs, Ray Gaulke of PRSA
making a "soft" landing (shifted to fund-raising
for the four years left on his contract) while Elizabeth
Allan made a "hard" landing (out as of Jan. 15).
Both groups also skipped an issue of their printed directories.
Renewals were down for both, PRSA's dropping to 69%/66%
for June/July from normal 86%.
Fourteen big ad agency-owned PR firms got together and
ranked themselves, bloating their "PR fee" totals
with up to 49% in issue and corporate ad commissions.
SEC, hoping to break up the love affair between IR pros
and Wall Street, letting the press get some of the action,
instituted "Fair Disclosure." NIRI, seeking a
delay in implementation, said the SEC showed "gross
insensitivity to the reality of today's volatile market"
in turning down the NIRI request.
NIRI's board reaffirmed the group's refusal to set aside
(defer) a portion of a member's $425 dues for future services.
NIRI says dues are a "gift" used at the sole discretion
of the board.
after fighting demands for nearly a dec<%-2>ade that
it again have a deferred dues account (it once<%0>
totaled about $1 million), reversed itself, citing the advice
of the Amer. Soc. of Assn. Execs. and CPAs.
Young & Rubicam, newly public, saw its stock dip
from $70 to $40 and was bought out by WPP Group. The purchase
put Hill and Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller into the same
Stanley Dean Witter said that in the event of a "hard
landing" of the economy, "no marketing stocks
would be worth owning" except long-term...Donaldson,
Lufkin & Jenrette says the conglomerates will start
buying each other, the ten crunching down to about five
or six...the name Creamer Dickson Basford, dating
<%-2>back to 1935, was laid to rest when CDB was merged<%0>
into French-owned Havas...a 15-year veteran PR pro said
he never had an expense account for lunching with reporters
and that most of what he did could be described as "tele-marketing"...Pam
Alexander of Alexander Ogilvy was the only PR pro among
50 "eEstablishment" execs picked by Vanity Fair<D>...Ron
Levy of North American Precis Syndicate gave stock options
to daughter Dorothy York and she exercised them. After a
dispute with her father, she ousted him and took control...Howard
Chase, the last living founder of PRSA, said the Society
has "lost sight of the field" because there is
"too much emphasis on marketing and not enough on social
institutions" ...Bostonian Terence Clarke, returning
from a trip to Eastern Europe and Russia, said PR pros there
feel PR in the U.S. has "lost its soul" and cares
only about "money-making"...Harper's Bazaar
said high-tech PR pros tend to be "attractive women-it's
almost part of the job description"...high-tech
exec and author Charles Ferguson said high-tech PR is
dominated by "attractive women-various combinations
of dragon lady and bimbette"...critics replied that
PR is "gender blind" and urged Ferguson to
"get some therapy."
Edition, December 20, 2000, Page 8
Bush family has strong roots in Greenwich, Conn., where
we have lived for 20 years.
H.W. Bush, former president and father of president-elect
George W. Bush, went to school here before going to prep
school in Andover, Mass., then Yale, and moving to Texas
in 1948 to enter the oil business. H.W.'s father and mother,
Prescott & Dorothy Bush, had moved here in 1924, residing
in the Deer Park section. Prescott presided over the governing
body of Greenwich for 17 years and in 1952 became senator,
serving ten years. He died in 1972. Dorothy Bush was a resident
of Greenwich until her death in 1992. Prescott Bush Jr.,
brother of H.W., still resides here.
So it was with interest that we picked up the Greenwich
Time to see what it had to say about the disputed election
of hometown grandson George W.
"There was no need for the selection to be as arduous
as it was," said an editorial Dec. 15.
"A statewide recount of votes in Florida should have
been conducted once it was clear that the margin of victory
between Bush and Gore was smaller than the margin of error
produced by the voting machinery," it continued. That
margin was micron-thin-1,655 votes as of Nov. 8 among 5.8
"Quick movement" by all concerned could have allowed
uniform standards to be set for hand-counting votes in the
entire state in time for the Dec. 12/Dec. 18 deadlines,
said the editorial.
Another take on this is that the courts, fighting turf
battles and confused themselves about which of many
contradictory legal principles to apply, simply ran out
the clock. The biggest court of all said there was no time
left to do anything and threw up its hands. New York
Times columnist Thomas Friedman said "meaningless
dates" came to matter more than the "sanctity
of votes." Another Times columnist, Anthony Lewis,
was appalled that "a case of this magnitude" was
decided with "such disregard for reason." Bill
Safire, Robert Novak, A.M. Rosenthal and other columnists
felt the right thing had been done by the courts.
Among the many commentaries we read on the election battle
was one that said doctors, police, firefighters, lifeguards,
reporters and other public service people are required to
do their jobs quickly lest they fail at their duties. Why
should the law be an exception, it asked? PR that is too
late is too little...the Supreme Court that handed the
election to George W. Bush is the same court that allowed
a sitting president, Bill Clinton, to be hauled into court
by the Paula Jones civil lawsuit. This partisan decision,
blind to the fact that the lawsuit had virtually unlimited
funding from the ideological enemies of Clinton, led to
the country being in an uproar for more than a year as Clinton's
sex life was endlessly probed. His ideological enemies,
using the courts for several other cases, saddled Clinton
with $11 million+ in personal legal bills.
Among the trends and developments in 2000 was this one:
the shift in PR from urging clients to provide information
to their customers to urging them to "build relationships"
with their customers. PR firms are also spending a lot of
time (and client $$) "building relationships"
with their clients...milk took a PR hit this year,
activists claiming that it is fattening, hard to digest
and that needed vitamins and minerals are better obtained
elsewhere. Milk sales have been declining despite the "milk
moustache" ad campaign ...this was also a bad year
for sodas, especially the No.1 brand, Coke. Sodas are
at best a minor vice, pleasurable but fattening. Americans
are suffering from an epidemic of fatness, especially in
children. Georgia, home of Coke, is the fattest state of
all. Bottled water sales are growing at a 30% annual clip...marketing
often has little to do with communication and much to do
with coercive tactics such as the exclusive contracts
Coke and Pepsi have in school systems. A Wisconsin system
this year ended such a contract with Coke...while dental
floss used to be sold 300 yards at a time for $2.50,
it's hard to find a floss longer than 50 yards and the price
is $2.50 or near that...misleading information is another
popular marketing ploy. For instance, "2% milk"
has become a favorite but buyers probably don't know the
milk has 64% of normal fat content...ad conglomerates
continued their acquisition policies in 2000 but Newsweek
columnist Daniel Kadlec noted that there is an opposite
trend-spinoffs. Expected "synergies" may not happen
and the acquirers start to spin off their purchases, especially
when they are in areas far removed from the areas of expertise
of the acquirers. Managing such units takes too much time
from "core" businesses...the current cost for
a family health plan of Aetna/U.S. healthcare in New
York is $999 a month. A New York Times article said
HMOs are planning 20% hikes in 2001...the O'Dwyer website
had three "instant" polls during the vote-counting
battle. Respondents thought Bush had better PR than
Gore but that Gore actually got more votes in Florida than
Bush. By a 3-2 margin, they thought the final U.S. Supreme
Court ruling was not "fair"...we played nine holes
of par three golf in downtown Chicago during the Oct. 21-24
PRSA conference. But the land has been sold for condominiums,
meaning the end of one of the most unusual golf courses
in the world...our United Airlines flights were the worst
ever because of the tight seats We later read people
are dying because such seats can cause fatal blood clots.