NewSpeak


the Journal to "Teamster Lords." These Lords
won because, "Modern media politics isn’t about
substance or subtle distinctions. It’s about spin and
sound bites…" Pretty shocking. Makes it tough for the
corporate message to get out. In this shallow media
spin-controlled world, the public bought "the alleged
injustice of part-time work." But before you start
worrying about the public buying into even more heinous
"alleged injustices," the Journal has a
message of hope. "The economic forces that have weakened
unions and strengthened the U.S. economy since 1980 continue
to move ahead…" (WSJ 8/20)

No Free Lunch

In Florida, a state court has ruled that jails may charge
money for meals and medicine, thus allowing the Marion County
jail to continue their innovative program of teaching
economics to prisoners. This was an important victory for the
county’s program, because, said Sheriff Ken Ergle,
"We’re not some backwoods, seat of the pants
operation." No, the Marion County approach has one very
unique element of fairness that show-<R>cases its
modernity. Prisoners in the 13,000 bed facility are allowed
to pay for their meals whether they are guilty or not.
"If you’re in jail," Sheriff Ergle said,
"it’s because you went in the initial stages of due
process and a judge found there was reason to hold you. Even
if you were found innocent, you were still lawfully and
legally detained." It’s all done by the book, just
like in the big city. (Reuters, 8/29)

A Win-Win Situation

A rare case of collective amnesia swept through Congress.
When it was announced that the newly passed 15 cents a pack
tax on cigarettes could be deducted from the $387 billion
tobacco industry settlement, no one in Congress could
remember who had written it. All they knew was that a single
sentence granting the crediting of $50 billion was tucked
away in the miscellaneous section of the budget. This on top
of the fact that the $387 billion fine is tax deductible has
helped produce a "fairer" result for tobacco
companies. But how about the tobacco company executives? Will
they be treated fairly for their roles in selling a drug that
Phillip Morris CEO Geoffrey Bible says "might have"
caused 100,000 deaths? The answer is yes. The Institute for
Policy Studies released a report showing the industries top
15 executives stand to make an extra $206 million, according
to Wall Street analysts, from their stock options if the
tobacco settlement goes through. So every- body gets to win
in this script, just like in a Hollywood movie. (AP 8/22, Boston
Globe
7/31)

Love It or Leave It

The Allied Insurance Company struck a blow for the use of
the English language when they fired two workers for speaking
Spanish without authorization. Unfortunately a little
confusion was created because of the fact the two workers
were hired for their ability to speak Spanish. Or more
precisely, the two Spanish speaking women were hired, said
co-owner Linda Polk "to speak Spanish to non-American-
speaking people" but not to each other. Despite their
outreach efforts to "non-American- speaking
people," the company held firm to the principal that it
was an English speaking office. They even sent out an
official memo about their policy, but to no avail. The two
offenders refused to sign the memo because they didn’t
want their heritage taken away, or some such trivial reason,
and had to be fired on the spot. The bottom line? Basic
etiquette. Polk said the two were "being very rude for
speaking in a language we don’t understand." (AP
8/14)

The Stones’ New Logo

Sprint has joined forces with the Rolling Stones, the
pioneers of corporate-sponsored rock tours. In return for
about $6 million, Sprint can not only advertise itself as the
official sponsor but actually offer its customers first crack
at Stones tickets. To demonstrate the creative potential of
deals between popular bands and giant corporations, the two
unveiled a new logo—the famous wagging tongue impaled on
the Sprint pin. Surely a symbol of free speech in the 1990s.
But will corporate sponsorship impale the rebellious spirit
of the Stones? Or will the musicians’ antics sully the
good reputation of Sprint? Not to worry, says David Jacobson,
editor of the IEG Sponsorship Report, "They have
a certain business savvy so they’re not as likely to run
afoul of the law and embarrass them- selves and their
sponsors." Meanwhile, the U2 tour is being sponsored by
Wal-Mart, notorious for its censorship of rock lyrics. (AP
8/18)

Latin America Modernized

The U.S. will finally be selling advanced weapons to Latin
American nations. Traditionally, our government has been
loathe to set off local arms races between prestige-seeking
dictators, but the current menu of stable democracies has
brought changes in policy. In the words of Assistant
Secretary of State Thomas McNamara, the U.S. had to allow
Latin American countries to modernize their militaries
"as any modern democracy would." Try to imagine a
democracy without the latest Stealth bomber? But the prize
for best use of the English language in defense of enlarging
the military porkbarrel for Lockheed goes to White House
spokesperson Michael McMurry. Just listen to his
scintillating prose: "It is in America’s national
security interest to promote stability and security among our
neighbors in the hemisphere by engaging them as equal
partners as they modernize and restructure their defense
establishment." How could we ever be "equal
partners" with nations that don’t have their own
F-16 fighter planes? (NYT 8/2)

Loan Sharks Go Respectable

Not only are Jim Palmer and the Money Store providing
loans for poor people at 25 percent interest, but now a host
of our leading corporations, like the Travelers Group,
General Electric, Ford Motors, and Key Bank, are competing to
supply money to those in need. Last year Ford made $2.8
billion, two-thirds of their profit, from the practice now
legitimized as "subprime lending." The unregulated
business of providing poor people with credit at sky high
interest rates has grown into a $300 billion dollar industry
serving 50 million Americans who don’t qualify for
standard loans. Lenders like Key Bank have been real leaders
in this field, closing 140 branch offices so they could
concentrate on buying up other subprime lending companies.
Keycorp CEO Henry Meyer says "Our branches are now sales
centers, and their goal is to sell, sell, sell." Even
better is the news that middle-class people can participate
in loan sharking by buying packages of loans safely labeled
"subordinate mortgage- backed securities." Only in
America. (Village Voice 7/15)

Youth Outreach

Advertising Age recently saluted the
"Marketing 100," the key ad executives whose ideas
have helped build strong brands. Prominent in this select
group was Victor Lindsley, who has navigated Newport
Cigarette’s "Alive With Pleasure" ad campaign
for the Compton Partners. Newport has slowly risen to become
our second most purchased cigarette thanks to its commitment
to maintaining high ad spending while other tobacco producers
have had "waffling ad budgets." But in our quote of
the month, Ad Age goes on, citing industry analyst Roy
Barry, to praise the fact that "Newport has a younger
smoker profile than Kool, an elusive but important growth
factor in tobacco marketing." Just how young that smoker
profile was, they didn’t say. But it would seem logical,
the younger the profile, the more Ad Age would be
singing praises. A further note, Seagram’s Whiskey also
won accolades for the "boldness" of its
"groundbreaking" return to TV advertising. (AA
6/30)

Newspaper Cooperation

While many complain the boundary between news and
advertising is collapsing, others give awards for bridging
the gap. The Newspaper Association of America and Advertising
Age
teamed up to present this year’s Newspaper
Marketing Achievement Award to the Seattle Times.
Faced with increased competition in their eastern suburbs,
the Times formed an interdepartmental team to meet the
challenge. News reporters worked with marketing and
advertising people to make their news coverage more relevant
to the paper’s marketing needs. Reporters not only wrote
more eastside news stories, but they created and participated
in eastside community events. Said Times corporate
marketing director Robert C. Blethen, "It’s fairly
unusual to have the involvement of the news department to go
after a challenge like this…but that is how we are going
about solving problems." We can hardly wait to see the
next marketing challenge the Times news department
"involves" itself in. (AA 7/21)

More Newspaper Cooperation

The New York Times web site announced a valuable
new service they will be providing for their advertisers.
They will be making their entire data base of information on
users available so that advertisers can deliver personalized
banners. Melissa Bane, senior analyst with the Yankee Group,
reports that "Personalization is a very hot topic
now." And the Times is right at the forefront.
Not only will the Times site select appropriate ads
for your viewing according to your income, gender, age, etc.,
but the Times will track where you go and keep records
of it. Ami Goodhart, K2 Design’s media director, said in
a glowing testimonial, "with the New York Times registered
data base, we were able to target the banners and know 100
percent that they were reaching the correct people." You
can just imagine the relief they must feel knowing that
"incorrect" people are not reading their banners
thanks to the Times cooperation. (AA 7/14)

Beer Industry Earns Praise

The Wall Street Journal showered accolades on the
makers of beer commercials for having "made beer not
only benign, but hip." Despite the fact that 80 percent
of excess drinking involves beer, according to the Alcohol
Research Group, the beverage has managed to maintain a
wholesome image thanks to the efforts of ad agencies like DDB
Needham. This is the Anheuser- Busch ad agency that has
brought us frogs, ants, Clydesdales, and Spuds McKenzie.
Needham has, says the Journal, "sought to woo a
younger generation" with ads that look and feel like
soft-drink commercials. But not all of beers’ wholesome
reputation is due to image-making. According to an unnamed
spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch, "The public understands
that beer is different. Beer is the beverage of
moderation." Still on a roll, the same spokesperson adds
that beer can be part of "a healthy lifestyle." (WSJ
8/14)

Little League Goes Prime Time

If 11-year-old Little Leaguers did not have pressure to
win before from parents, they may find things a little
different with the announce- ment by ESPN2 that they will be
broadcasting a slew of games next year. The Disney- owned
channel will show regional finals from four cities, the
Little League World Series, and the All Star game. All of
this has been made possible because advertisers have become
interested in the well being of our youth. The Wall Street
Journal
gushes that "it’s the very innocence of
Little League games—kids playing simply because they
love the sport—that has drawn increasing notice from
major advertisers." Like sharks drawn to fresh blood,
less objective cynics might add. Don Hintze, sales manager
for Major League Baseball Publications says, somewhat
obscurely, that "It’s a very wholesome audience
that advertisers want to reach." Wholesome audience? For
the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what he meant
until learning that Little League is failing to draw kids
from the inner city. (WSJ 8/12)