Categories for Rants

When There's Cadmium In Your Kids Cup

June 18, 2010 1:36 pm Published by

Recalls are so much in the news. Cars. Medicines. Spinach. Now our kids cups.

No doubt you’ve heard about the McDonald’s recall of 12 million Shrek Foever After 3D promotional glasses due to unsafe levels of cadmium in the paint pigments on the glasses. In case you’re wondering how the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) found out about the toxic metal… an anonymous tipster (two in fact) with access to some pretty state-of-the-art equipment tipped off Rep Jackie Speier. The info was then brought to the CSPC for confirmation before the fast food giant was notified.

Before you blame non-U.S. manufacturing, the Shrek glasses were made by ARC international — Millville, NJ. A company McDonald’s has been working with for 15 years. Ouch.


Reversing Direction On BPA (Bisphenol A)

January 30, 2010 4:16 pm Published by

The ungodly screech of brakes that you’ve been hearing since mid January just happen to be the wheels of government as it shifts gears and reverses itself. Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it had come to agree with the U.S. National Toxicology Program after all, and indeed there was reason for “some concern” about the safety of industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) exposure for fetuses, infants and children.
We’ve talked before about BPA… the worrisome results of research, the bans by several U.S. states and the Canadian government, and the questionable accuracy of media reports on the subject. As a business owner who may be using re-usable water bottles as a promotional tool, or to help your business be more “green”, the most recent reversal in position by the FDA should have you prepared to answer questions about BPA. Educating your staff and your customers about the issues, and how to use water bottles safely are very important now.

Facing Down The Disdain Of A President

July 1, 2009 11:17 am Published by

It’s not that anyone expects a President coming from the Democratic party to suddenly recognize the contribution, and necessity of business… that’s as realistic as expecting Republicans to support more government. But to see such glaring evidence of the disdain in which business is held by the current administration is discouraging to say the least. 
Just recently there was a CBS piece on President Obama and his attitude toward business — and profits — that every business owner ought to see. Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard uses four simple criteria to support the idea that the President is not a friend to business — his policies, his decisions, his appointments and lastly his own words.

Super Bowl: Mediocre Games, Great Ads

January 30, 2009 7:08 am Published by
Let me admit right off the bat, that while I’m a football fan, neither the Pittsburgh Steelers nor theArizona Cardinals are my team of choice to be in the biggest game of the year — Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIII. Though I’ll admit, grudgingly, to a bit of admiration for the story of Cardinals QB Kurt Warner, and a purely female approval of the red and white uniforms over the harsh, bad-guy colors of the Steelers.
What I watch the Super Bowl for, as do most of the growing female audience I’ll wager, is the commercials. Shunned as useless hawking during any other program, the spots that air during the game are an entirely different animal. These are not boring… repetitive or annoying re-hashes of messages we’ve heard a zillion times before… these ads are actually good. They show us what could be if only corporate America would always try for greatness… for humor and creativity. Developing these ads takes no small effort to be sure, and offers the tantalizing, though elusive, potential to deliver a knockout advertising punch in front of a huge audience.
Or to fail miserably in front of many millions of potential customers.
Not all the spots all can be winners, and there are more than a few Super (more…)

The Message In The Re-Useable Bottle

September 18, 2008 1:04 am Published by
Bottled water has become an unnecessary convenience that’s wasteful and thoughtlessly consumed. In fact, I’ve got a fresh supply of tiny little bottles in my fridge right now, even though, like you I have come to know that many bottled water brands are nothing more pure and natural than what comes out of my own tap. You might be (I was, at first) surprised to learn that your tap water is quite likely of better quality…  cleaner and safer than what’s inside those oh-so-necessary plastic bottles.
Worse yet… we pay for what we can get for free. Out of our tap.
Estimates put our consumption of bottled water at 30 gallons per year, up from a mere 2.7 gallons back in 1980. That’s a lot of water. And a lot of water bottles entering our landfills. A lot of energy to make those bottles, not to mention the gallons of gas to transport them. 
At the end of last year, two New York area businessmen started a campaign to change all that. The website, launched in October 2007 points out the many benefits of tap water over the bottled kind. It’s right there in your kitchen, requires no transportation or takes up any space in landfills. Best of all — it may be far safer to consume as the Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for what comes out of your tap, while the Food and Drug Administration handles the bottled kind.

Political Conventions And Corporate America

September 6, 2008 12:00 pm Published by


It’s an uneasy pairing, these two, made all the more so by the strident calls for reform in corporate funding of political candidates. Money should not mean access, but we all know it does. Reform has been accomplished and we’re all supposed to feel better… though nothing really changes. Big companies (and some well known trade unions) continue to have deep pockets and the resources to get themselves and their brands before an audience of politicians, officials and assorted hangers-on who want to belive.
Or at least look like they do.
A recent online New York Times piece by Leslie Wayne pointed out the marketing opportunities open to corporate America during the political conventions in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul. While the new ethics rules passed by Congress in 2007 prevent big business from making direct political contributions — an attempt to try and limit the access corporate donations bought — nothing says they can’t “sponsor” political gatherings like the conventions.

Curbing The Almighty Influence Of The Pen, Pad & Mug

August 6, 2008 11:30 am Published by
In what might be considered a pre-emptive attempt to monitor itself, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Board of Directors adopted measures to enhance the PhRMA Code that governs interactions with healthcare professionals and their staff. The voluntary code, set to go into effect January 2009, states that interactions between company representatives and health care professionals “should be focused on informing thehealthcare professionals about products, providing scientific and educational information, and supporting medical research and education.”
Silly me, I thought they already were.
While the revised code mentions limits on the speaking (and consulting) fees a doctor can receive, (more…)

A Paws For Product Placement

July 15, 2008 11:20 am Published by
While dogs have “The Dog Whisperer”. their feline counterparts were left woefully neglected on the small screen. Which makes news of a TV show, “Housecat Housecall“, soon to debut on Animal Planet at 8:00 AM Saturday mornings all the more exciting. The program will feature a team of feline behavior experts who will observe a cat’s undesirable acts (climbing the curtains, clawing at the furniture, scratching, etc.) and come up with a solution to help the family cope and visit to help put the plan into practice.
Think “Super Nanny” for cats.
Sponsored by Purina Cat Chow the program is seen by the company as a way to give their products exposure beyond traditional TV commercials. Though there won’t be any hard sell, the line of cat foods will be mentioned or shown occasionally on the program. Though the cats watching aren’t likely to notice, the show offers us yet another variation of product placement — an advertising strategy that puts recognizable products or brands within the plot of your favorite program. (more…)

The Ads That Won't Go Away

June 17, 2008 10:47 am Published by


This month’s Advertising Age carried a news story about pharmaceutical companies and their advertising of prescription medications to consumers. They’re the commercials we’ve all come to hate… the ones that have us explaining certain “dysfunctions” to our curious 8 year old, or trying desperately to talk over the discussion of herpes played out on our family room TV in front of a teenager mortally wounded by embarrassment. Surely this wasn’t what the FDA had in mind when they relaxed the advertising rules for prescription medicines back in 1997?
Most members of the American Medical Association dislike direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug ads because they give patients the idea they can diagnose and treat themselves, and that there’s a pill for every ailment. Neither is true, and both are dangerous. Patients come in insisting on the drug they saw on TV, without being willing to consider generic drugs that are often cheaper and work just as well, or an alternative therapy that involves no drugs at all. (more…)

A Fashion Faux Pas, Quickly Corrected

May 30, 2008 8:45 am Published by

This week, Dunkin Donuts pulled an online ad featuring benign and smiling TV hostess Rachel Ray. The reason? The black and white scarf (chosen by a stylist for the advertising shoot) Ray wears in the ad looked too much like a garment known as a keffiyeh — a traditional headdress worn by Arab men and often associated with jihad. 
Look at the photos here to judge for yourself if the garments are similar. 
Many who saw the ad, thought the scarf looked very much like one often worn by Yasser Arafat, and seen continually on beheading nad hostage taking videos. And while some claim the keffiyeh is a common fashion accessory in parts of the world, others wonder how those same souls might feel if a KKK style hood was to appear on the runways of Paris or Milan. (more…)