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Healthcare

Suzanne Somers Didn’t Fact Check Her WSJ Healthcare Op-Ed

"Sex And The City 2" New York Premiere - ArrivalsBlog world secret: typos are not a huge deal; we make like five of them every day. Errors in a high-profile guest article, however, will seriously damage your credibility. This week Chrissy from Three’s Company took a break from bragging about how many times she has sex with her 77-year-old husband every day to write an anti-ObamaCare piece for the Wall Street Journal‘s new “experts” feature under the super-scary headline “The Affordable Care Act Is a Socialist Ponzi Scheme.

She made the usual arguments about how this convoluted attempt to make healthcare more accessible would limit consumer choice and lead to dependence on the state before dropping two quotes that somehow escaped her editors:

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 10.02.48 AM

“Widely disputed” means the first quote has been used and corrected repeatedly over the past 60 years.

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POLL: Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana for First Time in U.S. History

To paraphrase an old folk song from the 60s: “The times they are a’ baking.” It’s no secret that this country is getting more liberal with its collective ideology. That’s not to say ACLU-card carrying “bleeding hearts,” hyper-political folk. The word technically refers to people who are not necessarily opposed to new ideas or ways of behaving that are not traditional or widely accepted.

Take this latest Gallup poll as Exhibit A:

Gallup Poll

Since the 60s, when America was puff-puff-passing more than most, to now, that “liberalism” of thinking has become more pervasive than ever before. And now, as Gallup notes, more than 58 percent of America is now down with buying a bong and keeping it watered-down.

Why?

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It’s Damage Control Time for the ObamaCare Launch

HHS_HealthCare_MOBILE_BILLBOARDYou might have missed this story amidst the embarrassing failure of the “destroy the government” movement, but there have been quite a few technical glitches related to Healthcare.gov, the homepage of the only government program that could ever possibly be “worse than slavery” (these folks with their messaging). So yesterday the team that created the very thing those guys hate most decided to start cleaning up after their own embarrassing failure.

A report from the Washington Times asserts that, among other things, federal officials only tested the site for four to six days when they should have done so for four to six months—and that organizational failures left many anxious Americans unable to register for insurance on Healthcare.gov.

In a formal blog post, the Department of Health and Human Services responded by admitting that “The initial consumer experience of HealthCare.gov has not lived up to the expectations of the American people” thanks to error messages, slow-loading pages, and all the things that you’d expect from a dial-up Yahoo account circa 1998. The post highlights elements of the “product” that are working, notes improvements and promises that a coming “tech surge” will help everyone use that site as it was meant to be used.

Obama probably could have written the post himself if he weren’t busy giving a speech to the press today in order to defend and explain his signature project for the millionth time: he said that there’s “no sugar-coating“ the “unacceptable” tech issues, so someone’s been listening. Then this happened:

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The CDC’s Anti-Smoking Scare Tactics Prove Effective

When gentle persuasion and supportive encouragement fail to get the people you love to quit smoking, try shocking, terrifying, and disgusting them — it worked for the US government.

The first federally funded anti-smoking ad campaign hit the airwaves in the spring of 2012, followed by a second round this past spring. The effort left sugar-coating and consideration for the sqeamish in the dust by featuring graphic images and stories about real ex-smokers who had suffered paralysis, stroke, lung removal, heart attacks and limb amputations.

It seems that as much as people may not want to see such things, they really, really don’t want to experience them. New data released by the Centers for Disease Control show that an estimated 1.6 million Americans tried to quit and at least 100,000 likely succeeded as a direct result of the campaign’s scare tactics. The study also found that during the campaign, the CDC’s national toll-free quit line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) got 132% more calls and its website (www.smokefree.gov) attracted 500,000 more visitors than usual.

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After Public Outcry, Clear Channel Lifts Ban on Women’s Clinic Ads

Earlier this month, we told you that Clear Channel in Wichita, KS, had pulled ads for a local women’s clinic for violating “decency standards.” In response, women’s rights group Women, Action, & The Media (WAM) teamed up with the South Wind Women’s Center to create the #ChangeTheChannel campaign in order to insist that women’s health care is never indecent, and that everyone has the right to know where they can get medical care.  

Since the launch of the effort, many thousands of citizens in Wichita and across the country phoned, emailed and tweeted the Wichita Clear Channel office and Clear Channel’s corporate representatives, calling on the company to run the ads. Around 70,000 people signed petitions to the same effect.

In response to the national public outcry, Clear Channel officials met with representatives from the clinic on August 7, and promised to reconsider the ban on its ads. Then, yesterday, after a month-and-a-half of national pressure, Clear Channel officially reversed its decision to keep the ads off the air, and agreed to run them.

In light of Clear Channel’s decision, Jaclyn Friedman, Executive Director of WAM!, told PRNewser’s Elizabeth Mitchell via email: Read more

Don’t Count on BuzzFeed Sponsored Posts to Win the Millennials

The chattering classes were all abuzz yesterday about a sponsored post on everyone’s favorite site to visit for kitty pic listicles and condescending literary rants. (Wait, what?)

Here’s the story: In an amusingly blatant attempt to push its talking points to those young folks who will determine the future of politics in this country, conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation illustrated its distaste for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, with BuzzFeed‘s trademark combination of one-liners and GIFs.

OMG CUTE LOL! But will it work?

We say meh. :-/

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Can Amy Poehler Sell Young People On The New Healthcare Law? President Obama Hopes So

President Obama is spending a lot of time this week focused on reaching out to different demographics in an attempt to get back to the business of advancing his plans. Today, he returned to the scene of his first big speech as a new Senator, Galesburg, IL’s Knox College, to talk about his economic program (preschool, new energy sources, and spending on infrastructure, for instance), the needs of the middle class, and raising the minimum wage. It was an hour-long speech that brought back the familiar Obama voice — earnest, determined, passionate.

On the healthcare front, the President is speaking with a different voice. Actually, it’s not his voice at all that you’ll hear. To reach younger Americans with information about the Affordable Care Act, he’s turning singer Jennifer Hudson, Amy Poehler, Kal Penn and other celebs to give voice to the benefits of the new law and the insurance exchanges that will open up on October 1. Read more

Johnson & Johnson Loves You Very, Very Much

After a 10-year hiatus, Johnson & Johnson is back in the brand identity game. A slew of recent recalls, law suits and bad press, have undermined J& J’s relationship with the public and the corporate juggernaut knows it’s time for some damage control. That’s why it is targeting the golden goose of emotional marketing: your family.

Even the most cynical realms of the public can’t resist the emotional pull of the love felt between a mother and her child, a grandfather and his granddaughter, a teacher and her students. It’s “Terms of Endearment” meets Benadryl to the sound of a lobotomized version of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N Roses for some dulled edge (or carefully calculated demographic appeal).

Anyone who grew up with Johnson & Johnson products—who didn’t?—has had a positive emotional connection with the brand since we were babies. From the comforting smell of baby powder to shampoo that doesn’t make you cry, we were raised by our moms and Johnson & Johnson products. Don’t underestimate the power of that deeply internalized association. It makes Facebook feel like a total disheveled stranger. Read more

Here’s an Excellent Cleveland Clinic Promo Video

We know that Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic earned its reputation as one of America’s best hospitals thanks to the tireless work of the many talented professionals on its staff — but there’s also a good bit of well-executed branding and PR at play. Case in point: this promotional video, released last month. A hospital is a relatively easy place to find touching stories of human perseverance in the face of adversity, but this is a real masterpiece in the “humanizing a brand” genre.

We’re not exactly sure who’s responsible for the video (though the Clinic hired Ketchum as its first AOR in 2012), but we think some credit needs to go to the institution’s communications team.

The PR lesson here: tell a story. In fact, tell several stories — especially if they’re as compelling as these.

Branding Win: Monistat Isn’t Afraid to Talk About Yeast Infections

When watching ads for “intimate” and “sanitary” products, you may notice a trend: while it’s perfectly OK to discuss erectile dysfunction and other problems exclusive to the male gender, distinctly feminine problems like menstruation, breast exams or the dreaded yeast infection don’t get a lot of attention. Ad and media execs tend to be “grossed out” and back away despite the fact that 3/4 of women experience candidiasis at some point in their lives–which means there’s a huge market for related products.

Here’s an example: each of the major networks refused to air this Ogilvy Kotex commercial because, according to Adweek, they just couldn’t handle the word “vagina.”

In this light, a recent survey sponsored by Monistat which found that most women still hold potentially serious misconceptions about these conditions makes more sense. So how can feminine health and hygiene brands truly connect and engage with audiences when big media says “we’d rather not?”

We recently had a chance to speak about the topic with Jennifer Moyer, VP of marketing for Monistat‘s parent brand Insight Pharmaceuticals, who had some very interesting insights.

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