brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 23, 2012 03:42 PM
New Zealand may be small but its government apparently has got a whole lot of chutzpah.
The government’s new law that all tobacco products cannot be publicly displayed went into effect Monday, and a plan to force all tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging — which NZ's Ministry of Health calls the "single biggest cause of preventable death and disease" — is still forging ahead. The government's new "Tobacco Available Here" sign for authorized tobacco retailers, in English and Maori with a sickening photo of a gangrene-infected foot, is also fairly grim.
The hope is that the entire country will be smoke-free by 2025, according to TV New Zealand. However, the government may need to pay a boatload of cash out in order to make it happen. “Ministry of Health officials have warned the Government that defending a case at the World Trade Organization could cost taxpayers between $1.5 million to $2 million,” the website reports. And that price could go up to $6 million.
One tobacco giant is already sounding like it is ready take the government to court.Continue reading...
long arm of the law
Posted by Dale Buss on June 13, 2012 02:02 PM
As New York City enters a period of public comment on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on large soft drinks, it seems that everyone already has had a lot to say about it. What's left?
There's the contingent who's backing the entire idea, including the city's health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley. He heads NYC's Board of Health, which voted unanimously on Tuesday to put Bloomberg's controversial (and lampooned on the current cover of The New Yorker) proposal to the public.
Other avowed fans of the proposed ban include ex-Coca-Cola marketing executive Todd Putman, who has gone on a mea culpa tour to oppose the soft-drink industry and expose his earlier 'dirty' work.
"How can we drive more ounces into more bodies more often" was how Putman described what he perceived as his mission as a Coke marketer.
Meanwhile, however, the proposed ban has fallen flat with New Yorkers in a new poll by Quinnipiac University. Slightly more than half — 51 percent — are against the idea, led by older voters, with 57 percent of those aged 50 to 64 raising their hands as opposed. Manhattan lodged the highest geographic support.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on May 31, 2012 05:58 PM
It didn't take long for New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has been on the warpath against obesity, to create buzz around his plans for a ban on banning the sale of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces at cinemas, restaurants and other "service" outlets in Gotham.
Hizzoner barely had time to tweet messages such as, "Obesity kills thousands of NYers a year & adds $4 billion a year in health care costs," and, "Public health officials across America talk about fighting obesity. In NYC, we DO something about it," before one of the biggest brand targets of his proposed move, Coca-Cola, lashed back at the Bloomberg-spurred Department of Health proposal.
"The people of New York are much smarter than the New York City Health Department believes," Coca-Cola's statement said. "We are transparent with our consumers. They can see exaclty how many calories are in every beverage we serve. New Yorkers expect and deserve better than this."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 29, 2012 04:01 PM
Brand-backed campaigns against texting while driving are starting to resemble the endless campaign against obesity: Most Americans know what's best for their health and safety, but they can't seem to help doing what they shouldn't be doing. It amounts to two huge strikes against the national willpower, and a race of sorts to see which — distracted driving or eating junk food — regulators will be quicker to clamp down on more thoroughly.
In a new AT&T survey, for instance, 97 percent of teens knew texting while driving is dangerous, but 43 percent of them admitted to sending a text while driving — and 75 percent say the practice is common among their friends. Among the reasons, AT&T (which won a Cannes Lion award for its "Last Text" campaign) found, is that teens feel pressure to respond quickly to text messages. Also, adults are doing the same thing and they mimic their behavior. Partly as a result, according to data provided by Ford, the under-20 age group also has the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 18, 2012 11:51 AM
AT&T Wireless has been campaigning against texting and driving, including bringing its texting-while-driving simulator (above) to high schools. While it makes sense for mobile operators (AT&T won a Cannes Lion nod for its efforts; LG has also been promoting "Text Ed") to take on the issue of safe driving, it also behooves automakers to step up.
After all, as cars get closer to being iPads on wheels, it's the technologies and systems designed to make vehicle "infotainment" easier and more attractive that are also distracting to drivers. Just this week, for instance, Hyundai debuted a new mobile application for its Blue Link platform that allows subscribers to remotely access various features and services through compatible mobile devices.
But auto brands operating in the U.S. market could be on a collision course with federal regulators who keep warning them not to make the in-car information experience too rich or distracting.Continue reading...
no kidding around
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 17, 2012 02:09 PM
The U.S. government's campaign to help smokers quit (and keep kids from starting the nasty habit) has led to calls to quit lines more than doubling. The main mind behind the campaign, Dr. Howard Koh, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, has been a force on the anti-smoking front for 20 years. He was involved in everything from the proposal to put highly graphic images on cigarette packaging and the movement to expand health insurance coverage for tobacco cessation.
While he’s been doing that, Australia’s Attorney General Nicola Roxon has also been hard at work trying to end the world’s fascination with cigarettes. While she was Health Minister in Australia, she launched the idea that all cigarette packs in the country should be sold in plain brown paper, which of course sent the legal departments of tobacco companies into a tizzy. As Attorney General, she is requiring that graphic warnings cover the large majority of the packs.
For their efforts, Koh and Roxon are being recognized at event in Washington, D.C. held by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which works to counter tobacco brands' marketing and frowns on advertising such as characters and other kid-friendly touches, such as Camel's pinkalicious print campaign at right.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 11, 2012 02:11 PM
The obesity debate continues to dominate the public conversation in America. Policymakers and nutritionists and bureaucrats pondered "The Weight of the Nation" at a federal-government conference this week while the four-part HBO series of the same name that debuts on Monday. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are trying to position their brands as part of the solution, via the lobby group where they're the 800 pound gorilla members at any meeting.
The American Beverage Association's "Delivering Choices" campaign has already launched on TV to promote "how America's beverage companies are making it easier to choose the drink that's right for you — with more choices, smaller portions, fewer calories and clear calorie labels." (The sub-text: consumers have choices, and should take personal responsbility for their weight and health.)
The campaign is now getting more targeted with local marketing in the Big Apple. A New York-centric website talks up the Delivering Choices platform while promoting good works by the ABA's members in the city, such as Dr Pepper Snapple Group funding playgrounds in Brooklyn, and the recent Great Recycle event staged by Coca-Cola's Honest Tea brand in Times Square. Facebook and Twitter marketing are reinforcing the messaging.
Now the ABA is expanding its NYC push to the subway system, with a new campaign placing posters on trains and in the stations — New York being the same market where the mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has been promoting a healthy agenda, including a PSA campaign depicting their beverages with globs of fat and packets of sugar.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 10, 2012 04:54 PM
New York City’s health department does not want fries with that. Or with anything else. In fact, the agency would prefer that its residents don’t bother with fast food and soda altogether — and certainly not in bigger sizes.
A new set of subway posters, printed in both English and Spanish, illustrate “the steady increase in sizes of soda cups and sleeves of French fries against backdrops of unhealthy people, including a diabetic man who is missing most of one leg," as the New York Times notes. The image, as seen at right, draws attention to the amputated leg.
The objective of the city's latest public health campaign is to show how obesity and diabetes have grown as issues at the same time that serving sizes have increased, and their devastating consequences.
“The portion sizes that are marketed are often much more than humans need,” stated Dr. Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner, taking a cue from his boss — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose administration is a veteran of shockvertising to grab the public's attention.Continue reading...