The same guy who drank a glass of fat to demonstrate the lard-inducing effects of soft drinks is back. This time he shows how long you have to walk to burn off the calories from a can of soda. It takes three miles! That’s the distance from Union Square to Brooklyn in New York.
This recruitment video for McDonald’s is simply amazing. It is a full-on miniature drama tracing the arc of a young woman who starts at the bottom at McDonald’s, overcoming the snark and condescension of her friends and her mother, and rises to become a floor manager who trains other new employees, joining part of a community of other happy workers. All who doubted her are forced to eat their words. The production is slick, with emotive cinematography and lots of rising crane shots. It should get the Oscar for best internal corporate propaganda.
The group Consumer Watchdog is pushing hard for Congress to establish a “do not track” list for online consumers, which I’m all for. I’m not sure whether releasing a ridiculously unpleasant cartoon in Times Square is the right strategy, though–especially when you use the very service you’re warning people about.
Like it or not, advanced imaging technology (AIT)–capable of producing highly detailed pics of your naked body–is expanding rapidly throughout U.S. airports. Last month, there were at least 142 AIT units deployed in eleven airports, but by the end of the year that will jump to more than 450 nationwide, spread across at least forty airports (see full list below). The TSA has tried to downplay privacy issues by saying that the units won’t save images, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t. In fact, the U.S. Marshals Service in Florida says they’ve got over 35,000 AIT scans of people saved. They also say that an AIT unit tested in the Washington, D.C. federal courthouse was sent back to the manufacturer with images still stored on it.
Kevin Robinson at the blog Chicagoist was curious about a commenter who sounded suspiciously on-message on some recent Walmart posts. Walmart wants to come into Chicago, and Walmart’s opponents are fighting the retailer at the community level to prevent that. In return, a pro-Walmart community group has formed called “Our Community, Your Choice” that argues, “Everyone else but Chatham and the South Side are making the decisions – It’s OUR CHOICE, NOT THEIRS.”
No. You do not want to watch this video. Just promise the New York City Department of Health people that you won’t drink sugary soda so much. Then we’ll all be healthier, happier people, and nobody has to watch this video. (Video is embedded below.)
Earlier today, a public relations person sent in the following suggested “follow up” story about the explosion in overdraft fees. She was quite friendly and complimentary and made it clear she just wants to help educate consumers about banking fees. The only problem is, the entire story is a jumble of propaganda designed to spread FUD about any attempt to change current overdraft policies. We figured it might be fun to see how the banking industry wants you to think.
Maybe you forgot about the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency in all the health care sound and fury, but it’s still out there, and financial companies are still very much against it. Now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching an ad campaign that shifts the focus from credit card companies to smaller businesses that they insist will be affected, although the scope of the proposed agency is still kind of unclear.
Check out these ridiculous corporate propaganda films from poor, sweet Circuit City, back when it was still struggling to differentiate itself from Best Buy in some way other than “worse.”
Yesterday, Consumer Reports noted that an anti-health reform politician is trying to convince senior citizens that they’ll be required to take lessons in euthanasia if any reform is passed. Regardless of what side you come down on with health care reform, this is flat out wrong. We care about this lie, which is still bouncing around the media, because it might interfere with the very real and useful tasks of setting up living wills and determining health care proxies—things that matter to both the elderly and the terminally ill.
Remember Harry and Louise? I don’t, but apparently they were a fictional couple in an early-90s TV commercial, produced by the insurance industry to help sway opinion against the Clinton health plan. Now banks and other financial companies may be pooling resources to create a new “Harry and Louise” style ad to convince Americans that Obama’s proposed agency to monitor abusive financial practices will limit choice and ruin lives.
Either this Burger King in Miami takes the competition really, really seriously, or the owner is into some pretty freaky s#@t. The store gets bonus absurdity points for framing it so handsomely.
Self-identified rational people take pride in the fact that they can’t be easily manipulated, but of course that’s the pride part of their dumb monkey brains talking. Here’s an interesting study that measured whether hard-to-pronounce words were perceived as riskier than words that were easier to pronounce—in this case, by comparing fake additives in food and asking which ones were more likely to be harmful.
Strapped for cash and time, local news stations are turning to a quick fix to slap together news stories. They’re called VNRs or “video news releases.” Basically a PR firm puts together a package with background footage, interviews, and even helpful scripts. The package seeks to promote products, persons, or to massage public opinion on issues in ways favorable to corporations. All the local station has to do is have one of their reporters do a voice over and boom, you got yourself some news. The problem is that news is being shaped by a subjective entity with a commercial interest at stake, and there’s no disclosure to the viewers that they’re not watching independent reporting.
According to an inside source, Comcast is trying to hunt down who leaked the internal BitTorrent memo to us last week. The rumor is that they’re interrogating supervisors and then customer service representatives. Memos regarding the dire consequences of providing internal information to the press are being distributed.
When we posted about “30 Rock” last Friday, a reader SHOUTED IN ALL CAPS that someone—either NBC, or Tina Fey, or maybe The Consumerist, we’re not sure—is a government shill for basically being paid by the gov to write about financial advice. Turns out Mr. Shouty is right, sort of: the U.S. Treasurer, Anna Escobedo Cabral, was on the radio news program “Marketplace” a couple of weeks ago to talk about how she’s been meeting with the creative teams of soap operas and telenovelas to find ways to incorporate financial storylines into their plots.