The future of the American Legacy Foundation's Truth campaign could be in jeopardy following a Delaware Supreme Court case next Wednesday, April 26 during which Lorillard Tobacco Company will appeal an earlier ruling which found the American Legacy Foundation Truth campaign did not, as Lorillard claimed it did, vilify the tobacco company. If Lorillard wins, the tone of the campaign may have to change dramatically and Lorillard has asked the approximately $1.5 billion in money provided by manufacturers to American Legacy Foundation be returned to an escrow account making it, the organization claims, impossible to continue with its anti-smoking efforts.
The American Legacy Foundation claims the Truth campaign is crucial to maintaining and lowering youth smoking. The Foundation claims the campaign aided the decline in youth smoking 22 percent from 2000 to 2002 resulting in 300,000 teens choosing not to smoke in 2002. There are simple truths here. Every human knows this. Smoking is bad. If a person wants to smoke, they can make that choice. But cigarette makers should not be able to stifle organizations that are trying to provide information that helps a person decide whether or not they will take up smoking. That's just wrong.
Software developer Teletype has filed a suit against the Audit Bureau of Circulation alleging the organization turned a blind eye to Laptop magazine's inflation of its circulation. The suit, filed last week according to Newsday, names Laptop publisher Bedford Communications, Bedford executives Edward Brown and John Jay Annis, defunct distributor Inflight Newspapers and former Inflight executive Remy Lehner. In the suit, Bedford is accused of paying Inflight "to accept delivery of tens of thousands of copies of Laptop magazine each month in return for paperwork showing that Inflight had 'accepted' the copies for distribution" but were never delivered.
Just as Howard Beale screamed in the 1976 movie, Network, so too are network execs, today, screaming "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore" in reaction to the FCC's piling on the final straw that broke the camel's back. After the FCC levied $3 million in fines last month for various indiscretions including a sexually charged Without A Trace scene, ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX have banded together to sue the FCC claiming, "The FCC rulings underscore the inherent problem of government involvement in deciding what viewers should and shouldn't see on television." Broadcasters claim those concerned about television content have plenty of means at their disposal to block content they individually deem inappropriate and the government need not involve itself as it does.
Against the legal powers that be, Gawker gaming site Kotaku is reporting Burger King will offer its customers BK-branded Xbox games. It's a promotion that offers one of three games (action, fighter, racing) with the purchase of a Value Meal. The creepy King will be featured in all the games. Kotaku writes, "The action game is apparently similar to Halo, while the fighter combines Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat."
Greenfield Online, the company that did preliminary research for the creation of the games, is none too pleased and has sent a nasty legal letter to Gawker headquarters asking Kotaku to remove the story. They aren't going to. I mean it's all rather pointless anyway. Once the information's out. it's out. It's not like you can erase it so move on Greenfield and deal with it.
Back in February, we conveyed former Deutsch President Steve Dworin was suing Donnie Deutsch because he felt Deutsch had broken a "non-disparagement" agreement the two signed when Dwarin left Deutsch on 1994 becasue of things Deutsch wrote in he recent book, Often Wrong, Never in Doubt. Now AdWeek reports a formal document was filed yesterday in Superior Court in Union County, New Jersey suing Donnie Deutsch, Deutsch CEO Linda Sawyer and the agency for $56 million.
The suit proves to be juicy with Dworin calling Deutsch "emotionally unstable" and ego-manial," claiming Deutsch used drugs, claiming Deutsch was given the agency by his father "on a silver platter with a silver spoon," implying Deutsch was jealous of Dworin for making the agency successful, angry that Deutsch said hiring Dworin was "his biggest professional mistake" and claiming Deutsch overslept, missed meetings and shirked his responsibilities.
A billboard in Boston featuring an image of President Bush's eyes and the URL littlebrotheriswatching.com, which points to a site about the Bush administration's domestic wiretapping program, has come under fire from Massachusetts state Outdoor Advertising Board officials who sent the board owner, John Rosenthal, a letter stating, "You are directed to remove this billboard forthwith." Rosenthal, who also owns the 252 foot long antigun billboard along the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston, feels he's "being scrutinized for encouraging free speech and democracy" because several state officials are now asking the OAB about the legality this waivered billboard - a board that's had grandfathered approval for the past 11 years. While all parties are denying it, Rosenthal and Boston Globe columnist Brian McGory wonder if there's political motivations behind these recent activities.
After eight months. the Advertising Research Foundation task force charged with defining the new measurement metric "engagement" hasn't really done so. Well, it seems simple to us. It's all about how involved one becomes with a media vehicle and how that involvement affects the brand. Hmm. How 'bout Time Spent (with medium) + Response Rate (average CTR, letters to editor, subscription/renewal rates, number of comments left on a blog) + Average Ad/Content Recall Rates + Uptick in Measured Brand Metric? And that was only after five minutes of thinking. Come on guys. It can't really be that difficult can it?
Steve Dworon, who worked with Donny Deutsch at Deutsch/Dworin from 1991 to 1994, is suing Donnie Deutsch for defamation and a breach of an agreement the two had that barred each from being nasty to each other for the rest of their live's. It seems Donnie said some unkind things about Steve in his new book, Often Wrong, Never in Doubt. The battle, which began in the pages of Page Six last week, has all the making of a crappy TV movie: office infighting, name calling, publicity whoring, crying...yes, crying, and promised revelations as to why Dworin really left Deutsch back in 1994. Hmm. We're not going to postulate lest we suffer tha wrath of defamation suites ourselves but we're happy to let you all speculate wildly in comments as to what's really going on between the two.
Microsoft's new OS Vista "Welcome Center" screen, seen by all PC users when they start their computers, will display ads. Because that practice has caused complaints, the company is facing trouble from the U.S. Department of Justice as well as states attorneys general who are considering legal action. A report was filed last Wednesday with the judge handling Microsoft's antitrust compliance.
With millions if not billions of people viewing that screen on initial boot
at least a few times a week, calling it prime advertising real estate is an understatement. While TV has died as a mass media, Microsoft's "Welcome Center" will cause marketers to drool over its reach but cause extreme concern among those who feel Microsoft will use the space to promote the company's own products.
UPDATE: Catch the "diggversation" over here where diggers crucify Adrants Farker-style.
UPDATE II: Here's the actual legal brief (pdf) that confirms the story except for our misinterpretation about the ads appearing every time Vista is booted versus just during initial boot.
Joe Jaffe says he heard from a source the reason there were so few URLs in Super Bowl ads was because ABC representatives visited each of the advertisers' sites and if they deemed the content to be too racy, URLs were not allowed in the individual advertiser's ad. While Jaffe states he has not been able to confirm his sources claim, nor have we, it certainly is a plausible explanation for the lack of URLs in ads. Afterall, why wouldn't a marketer want to extend the value of their marketing dollars by driving people to additional marketing messages.
If this turns out to be true, it certainly opens up a very big proverbial can of worms in terms of the power a network has over controlling its advertisers' content. Of course, any network has every right to refuse any ad for any reason they choose but disallowing so many URLs from so many large and trusted brands wreaks of overbearing oversight.