Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Creative Spin 

I never thought the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was creative except in legal argumentation, but this little slide show demonstrates a side of the organization I didn't know. 

It is an example of what might happen if one orders a pizza in an era when companies have collected data on individuals.  The dialogue is long but funny,  and the arrow moving about the mock computer screen provides an air of verisimilitude.  Look too at some of the purchases the poor sap who is ordering pizza has made in the past.  Those are just as funny and embarrassing.

While the ACLU has made its point, it is also an example of spin and not good PR.  The data collection issue is far more complicated than the slide show would make it out to be.  I've had some experience with large databases, and they are hellish to assemble and to maintain.  The problem with the scenario as the ACLU shows it is that data is coming from multiple databases and multiple vendors.  That is never easy to do, and one won't have to worry for some time that it could happen.  The ACLU should have made a note of that.

On the other hand, complexity would have spoiled the point and the fun, so I understand why the ACLU made it look more frightening than it is or would be.

Still, it is an interesting job of spin, and one PR practitioners could take a tip or two from.


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