jump to navigation

CVS makes big move, ditches tobacco products February 21, 2014

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

CVS shocked the business world in February 2014 after announcing that it was getting rid of tobacco products in its stores. The company’s CEO called the decision “the right thing for us to do for our customers to help people o their path to better health.” Tobacco products make up about $2 billion of the company’s revenue, so it seems like a risky decision. However, with CVS entering the medical services trade, selling such products became inconsistent with its new image. As NPR’s Yuki Noguchi told Morning Edition, CVS is moving in the direction of the new pharmacy:

“Drug stores aren’t just filling prescriptions these days. A lot of drug stores are marketing themselves as wellness centers, and many, including CVS, are running health care centers and partnering with hospitals. So the company has come to the conclusion that selling cigarettes conflicts with these changes.”

Indeed, CVS Caremark CEO Larry Merlo admitted,”This decision is about much more than that. It’s about where we’re headed as an organization, where we expect to be in the future as a health care company.”

While CVS is winning praise from even President Obama for its latest announcement, critics are claiming that it should only be the first step in cleaning up its stores. According to Derrick Jackson of The Boston Globe:

“If CVS truly cares about all the sources of diabetes and other preventable diseases, soda should be the next target. Two days before Brennan’s op-ed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the most dramatic findings yet linking high sugar consumption to heart disease. The WHO and the American Heart Association recommend that less than 10 percent of a person’s daily calories should come from the added sugars found in processed foods, snacks, and beverages. But 71 percent of Americans exceed that figure.”

For more on the big move by CVS, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  How was CVS’s decision to get rid of tobacco products a clear PR move?

2.  Can CVS be consistent with its new “healthy” image and still continue to offer the basics to its customers?

3.  What else would CVS have to eliminate from its stores to be completely consistent with its new message?

Advertisements

Coca-Cola announces further action to combat child obesity June 14, 2013

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Coca-Cola released its “Coming Together” advertisement in early 2013, and formally announced that it would take action against child obesity. While it announced that it was continuing to offer zero calorie and low calorie options, the company recently announced that it would reduce advertising directed to children while further sponsoring physical activity programs. As Advertising Age reported, no timeline was given for these actions.

Is Coke finally listening to the American public? Sort of, depending on who you ask. While it is a good direction, many analysts believe that the company is making shallow promises with the hope of improving its image. As Marion Nestle of foodpolitics.com wrote, “This looks to me like a major public relations campaign to keep vending machines in schools and head off federal, state, or local soft drink taxes or soda caps.” Nestle added, “The only way Coke can really help address obesity and poor diets is to sell less soda—the one thing its stockholders will not allow.  And the company is doing everything it can to fight city and state soda taxes, portion size caps, or anything else that might reduce sales.”

For more on Coca-Cola’s new effort, see the following story from CNN:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why is Coca-Cola advertising that it wants to combat child obesity? How is this mission in the company’s best interest?

2.  Is limiting advertising to children enough to limit their consumption of sugary drinks?

3.  Will efforts like those of Coca-Cola successfully convince the federal government that further regulation of the food industry is unnecessary?

Coca-Cola tackles soda-obesity link in new ad campaign January 28, 2013

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Coca-Cola is turning heads with its new ad campaign featuring a response to accusations that soda causes obesity. In one of the most discussed ads to air so far, “Coming Together,” the company highlights measures it has already taken to ensure that customers can make good choices. These moves include putting calorie counts on the front of cans, packaging in smaller cans, and offering more diet options. The ad represents the first time that the company has addressed accusations that sugary sodas are causing rampant obesity.

While impressive to watch, the “Coming Together” ad isn’t impressing everyone. Public health lawyer Michele Simon argued, “This is not about changing the products but about confusing the public. They are downplaying the serious health effects of drinking too much soda and making it sound like balancing soda consumption with exercise is the only issue, when there are plenty of other reasons not to consume too much of these kinds of products.” Similarly, Yahoo’s Jon Thomas argued, “If Coca-Cola had admitted that overconsumption of its higher-calorie beverages has led to greater numbers of obese individuals while emphasizing its efforts to offer healthier beverage options, portion control and transparency in calorie counts, I’d applaud it (though would wonder why its message warranted a 90-second spot). But it didn’t admit the truth, and the ad didn’t stop there.”

To see the “Coming Together” ad yourself, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why do you think Coca-Cola felt compelled to respond to concerns about soda’s link to obesity?

2.  What were the strongest aspects of the “Coming Together” ad?

3.  How did the “Coming Together” ad fall short?

4.  Did Coca-Cola do more harm than good?

Strong4Life anti-obesity ad shocks, backfires, and…succeeds? January 17, 2012

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

An ad for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Strong4Life campaign created major buzz in January 2012. Running billboards and ads with statements like “being fat takes the fun out of being a kid” and “it’s hard to be a little girl if you’re not,” the campaign is being criticized for being insensitive to overweight Americans. Some critics are claiming that the the strategy makes overweight children feel even guiltier than they already do, and that the campaign does little more than produce shame. Despite the criticism, some proponents of the campaign are saying that the significant amount of attention given to the campaign proves that it has succeeded. As one health blogger for The Washington Post noted, the campaign’s strategy to shock audiences was probably the only thing it could have done to force people to pay attention.

For an example of an ad from the campaign, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  What is it about the Strong4Life ads that is shocking so many people?

2.  Are the Strong4Life ads inappropriate? If so, then how?

3.  How does the Strong4Life campaign demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of the persuasive strategy of shocking audiences?

The American Medical Association takes stand against image manipulation in advertising July 14, 2011

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

The American Medical Association (AMA) is lobbying advertisers to adopt a policy of refraining from manipulating body images in new ads. The association reported that “such alterations can contribute to unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image – especially among impressionable children and adolescents,” thus leading to eating disorders and other health problems. Reactions to the AMA’s decision have been mixed, despite widespread concerns about the problems that the group seeks to address. One eating disorder specialist quoted by The Huffington Post reported that there is no causal link between digital editing in ads and health problems among teens. Another media critic, Elizabeth Perle, argued that the ban on digital editing might lead to worse health problems overall since models and other public figures might go to extremes to look perfect for publishers who would no longer be able to touch up  images.

For more on why some media experts are concerned about digital editing and its effects on public health, see the following excerpt from Jean Kilbourne’s “Killing Us Softly.”

Discussion Questions:

1. Do you think excessive altering of images in advertisements leads to health problems among certain groups of people? Why, or why not?

2.  Is the AMA wrong in its new quest? Why, or why not?

Should fast food ads be banned during kids’ television shows? June 29, 2011

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

The American Academy of Pediatrics is lobbying Congress, the FTC, and the FCC to ban junk food and fast food ads during kids’ TV shows and on other media on the grounds that such advertising has led to childhood obesity. Victor Strasburger, MD, on behalf of his colleagues, wrote that TV is a major player in the current obesity epidemic:

“Considerable research has shown that the media contribute to the development of child and adolescent obesity, although the exact mechanism remains unclear. Screen time may displace more active pursuits, advertising of junk food and fast food increases children’s requests for those particular foods and products, snacking increases while watching TV or movies, and late-night screen time may interfere with getting adequate amounts of sleep, which is a known risk factor for obesity.”

While the ads are just one factor among many contributing to obesity, the AAP insists that it is one of the biggest factors of all.

For more on fast food advertising, see the following segment from CBS News. Then, to see the other side of the debate, watch the video featuring Bob Liodice of the Association of National Advertisers.

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why do so many health experts believe that fast food advertising targeting children is unethical?

2.  In your own words, why does Bob Liodice and others in the advertising industry feel that Congressional intervention is unnecessary?

3.  Should such advertising be banned? Why, or why not?

Advertising on kid-friendly networks makes a comeback March 19, 2011

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Kid-friendly networks like Nickelodeon were targeted by human health organizations at the end of the last decade for airing food ads for foods of poor nutritional quality. In fact, a study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest discovered in 2009 that 80 percent of the food ads on Nickelodeon fell into this category. Concerned about protecting their public image, many of these networks cut these advertisements and said goodbye to the ad revenue they enjoyed for years.

According to recent numbers, the ad money is back but the products are somewhat different. Ad revenue for kid-friendly networks in 2010 was up by 5%. New strategies are targeting parents versus kids, marketing healthy alternatives instead of the junk once pitched during Saturday morning cartoons.

To see the kind of concerns that led to the reformation, watch the following video about childhood obesity in America:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why do advertisements target children even though parents control the budget? Is this strategy unethical?

2.  What are the implications of these recent revenue figures?

3.  Will this trend continue? Why, or why not?

Are “heroin hamburgers” the next body bag anti-smoking ads? October 5, 2010

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

An Australian anti-obesity campaign is turning heads with a new PSA comparing parents who feed their children junk food to those who’d willingly give their kids addictive drugs. An Australian ad firm was also responsible for the “body bag” anti-smoking ads associated with “The Truth” campaigns that were so effective in America. The vivid imagery has proved disturbing to some media critics who’ve suggested that the ad is over the top. As one noted, “Bravo. Nothing like making parents and caregivers feel like criminals to get them on the side of your cause.” Nevertheless, the ad has gone viral, thus making it a success in the sense that it has garnered major attention.

To see the PSA yourself, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  What is it about the “heroin hamburger” ad that made it ripe for going viral on the internet?

2.  Is the ad too extreme? Why, or why not?

3.  Would this kind of ad be a success in America? Why, or why not?

Santa Clara Against the Clown: CA County debates banning happy meals May 2, 2010

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Santa Clara County in California is debating a proposition that will ban toy giveaways with kids meals high in calories and sodium. Health experts are praising the action, even though they think it could be stricter, and say it’s needed to combat childhood obesity. The problem, they say, is that parents are forced into giving their kids unhealthy foods in exchange for toys that make them happy. Not everyone is happy about the proposal, though. Critics are calling the rules arbitrary, draconian, unnecessary, and further illustration of a lunatic-liberal nanny-state.

For more on this story, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Is the act of providing a toy with certain kids meals really unethical marketing? Why, or why not?

2.  Is government regulation of nutritional content of foods really unnecessary (or…tyrannical)? Why, or why not?

3.  How could fast food companies better demonstrate that they care about the health of their customers?

Corn Refiners Association’s high-fructose corn syrup ads a mixed success January 25, 2010

Posted by admin in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

In September 2008 the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) launched an 18-month campaign to rebuild the tattered image of high-fructose corn syrup. Several television ads have been created with what Time‘s Lisa McLaughlin has identified as a common message: “High-fructose corn syrup is made from corn, has no artificial ingredients, has the same calories as sugar and is okay to eat in moderation.” Despite the knee-jerk reaction that the message is ridiculous, McLaughlin said it contains some truth: “The American Medical Association recently announced at its annual policy-making meeting in Chicago that high-fructose corn syrup does not contribute more to obesity than sugar or other caloric sweeteners.”

Critics of the CRA’s ads assail the organization for its deceptive use of evidence. Sure, these critics argue, the ads are effective at encouraging people to ask questions about the negative attitudes toward high-fructose corn syrup, but they are also neglecting the fact that it is still just as bad for people as sugar. According to ABC’s Dan Childs: “Even if it is true that high fructose corn syrup is no worse than sugar, that means it still offers four calories per gram. This may not sound like a lot. But if the punch that mom is pouring in the televised ad is anything like one popular brand of fruit drink for which water and high fructose corn syrup are the two main ingredients, that eight-ounce glass she’s pouring for her kid contains about 120 calories. For kids 9 to 13 years old, the total amount of daily calories recommended by the American Heart Association tops out at between 1,600 and 1,800.”

To see why health experts link fructose to obesity, watch the following video:

To see a few of the CRA’s ads yourself, watch the following videos:

To see why many health experts are critical of the CRA’s ads, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  To summarize, what are some of the realistic dangers of high-fructose corn syrup?

2.  Why do many people find the CRA’s ads to be deceptive?

3.  Despite these concerns, why are the CRA’s ads so effective?