Friday, September 18, 2020

Standing Up 

 Dr.  Anthony Fauci has publicly taken responsibility for an effective COVID-19 vaccine before the end of 2020.  He is the only public health official with the credibility to take on that burden.  It comes from his reputation for telling the truth and sticking to facts.  Sadly, other authoritative sources have been corrupted by politics seeking to bend evidence for an effective vaccine to come before the Nov. 3 election.  That Fauci has remained above the taint is harrowing PR for him.  President Trump has attacked him publicly for his statements to the media and would get rid of him if he could.  That Trump hasn't done it is a testimony to the mess he has made of the pandemic response.  Trump continues to make claims but no one seems to be listening.  They are looking toward Dr. Fauci's word.  It's yet another case study in what good PR should be about.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

History's Verdict 

 The reputation of an organization or individual can be increased or destroyed with the conclusions of historians who research records of the past.  Consider the Vatican in World War II.  Pope Pius XII has been lambasted for collaborating with the fascists in charge of Italy and for deporting Jews to concentration camps.  On the other hand, new evidence from its archives show the tiny nation-state was active in helping British POWs flee Italy back to England.  It puts a gloss on the country's behavior that is at odds with dealing with the enemy.  Chances are that the Vatican's ultimate reputation for its behavior in World War II will be mixed rather than damaged and condemned.  The world won't know until even more documents are unearthed and evaluated.  Seventy-five years since the war is long enough for biases to cool.  Historians might not reach firm conclusions but they can fill in a blurry picture of actions taken during the war.  That might be enough.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Time Off 

 I'm taking time off.  I'll be back later in September.  

Counting Laws Before They Are Passed 

 Democratic Senators are making plans for legislation they will pass if they win a majority in the November elections.  It is too early to plan.  There is no guarantee they will conquer Republicans who have been running the chamber.  It would be a deep embarrassment should they remain the minority party.  It is far better that they concentrate on winning now and strategizing later.  A marketer who counts successes before he has launched his campaign is bound to be surprised.  Certainly one should rehearse scenarios if everything goes right and if all goes wrong, but that shouldn't be the focus.  Rather, one should concentrate on the myriad details of rolling out and implementing communications and programs.  Head down and step-by-step accomplishment.  Right now, the political environment is looking good for Democrats, but they shouldn't be lulled into counting laws.

Monday, September 07, 2020

Publicity Or PR? 

 Several major pharma companies are planning to publish a pledge that they will not release COVID vaccines unless they are proved scientifically potent and safe.  Only time will tell whether this is publicity or PR.  If publicity, they will bend to political pressure and say their vaccines are safe and effective.  If PR, they will prove it transparently for others in the pharma community to vet and for the scientific community to study.  There is deep distrust in the country and millions have said they won't take the first vaccines to come to market.  Their fear is that President Trump in his reelection bid will force ineffective preventatives into the market.  They are trying to depoliticize the situation, and it will be difficult since there is so much in the current White House riding on it.  Some are hoping we won't get an effective vaccine until after the election in a wishful attempt to defeat President Trump.  That is going too far but it is understandable.

Friday, September 04, 2020

Without Shame 

 President Trump is at it again with his suggestion that voters in North Carolina vote twice, once by mail and once at the polls.  He failed to account for the illegality of it and that it is a felony.  State officials quickly disabused citizens with statements that explained the criminality of the act.  One wonders how anyone can practice such base PR.  It is outrage after outrage and polls show he is getting away with it among a sizable group of Americans.  Fortunately, they are not a majority yet, but no political analyst assumes at this point that a Biden victory will be a romp.  What Trump is proving is that emotional appeals work.  He has mastered the craft of anger and bullying so that he can fool some of the people all of the time.  Trump is a lesson in the dangers to democracy from those who don't respect institutions or citizens.  If he should fail in November, he will still go down as one of the worst, if not the worst, presidents in the country's history.  He already is a case example of horrible PR.  He will be looked upon by historians as a sociopath who clawed to the top.  

Thursday, September 03, 2020


 Facebook has said it will not run new candidate political ads a week before the November election but it will allow them purchased before then even if they contain lies.  The company said reporters and others will have time to vet earlier ads but will not have space to handle new content.  The decision was based on free speech.  It's a tenuous directive but might stand in a court.  Facebook is concerned about First Amendment rights, but doesn't want to be seen as a publisher.  Increasingly, public opinion sees the internet giants as subject to the same law as The New York Times and Washington Post. They are publishers in fact if not in name.  The law has not caught up with the internet, but there are rumblings in Congress.  If so, internet giants will be held to what appears on their sites and lawsuits will follow.  It's a difficult PR position to be in and will be even harder if politicians twist facts and make spurious charges.  Still, Zuckerberg should be credited for trying even if it is a half-measure.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020


Makers of cleaning products are reaching out to food and lodging companies to promote their brands.  It's a wise move in response to the pandemic.  Consumers see their labels in donut shops and are spurred to buy them in the grocery aisle because if it is good enough for the vendor, it is good enough for me.  This is a powerful source of influence and recommendation.  It appears to be third-party endorsement even though it is the result of promotion agreements between the companies.  As one marketer said, it is great publicity.  The only stronger step would be for the retailers to adapt a brand without input from a company then promote its use.  Either way, it is stronger than TV advertising and print insertions in shelter books.

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