Thursday, May 04, 2006


Dayjobland, and me upcoming nuptials, are making it difficult to post with much in the way of consistency and elan (see? I don't even have enough time to work out where the accents at). In fact, for the first time ever, I was observed widely complaining to colleagues about my workload. But I'd like to draw your attention to a couple of organisations that should get out of the endorsements game right now.

1) The American Red Cross. I'm sure I wasn't the only one that did a double take when I spotted the new ads for the American Red Cross Eton Radio. The various country Red Cross organisation license the use of the symbol from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Some country Red Cross organisations are more assiduous than others in protecting the Red Cross symbol, the unauthorised use of which they claim can put humanitarian workers in danger.

The Canadians for instance, are wont to sue video game makers for using little red crosses on those "extra health" icons you see in games. Even the UK version keeps quite a few intellectual property lawyers on hand to put the screws on people who won't use crosses of a different colour. One explanation I've been given is that American pilots have mistakenly bombed hospitals because they play too many video games, rather than, ya know, being tweaked on speed.

The American version on the other hand, is late in paying its dues to the ICRC, pays its CEO roughly $650,000 a year, and allows anyone that reads the ads in the New Yorker to sport its logo in "rugged conditions". Nice. So are Red Crosses allowed to sue each other?

2) The AARP, short for the American Association of Retired People, though they prefer not to spell out the acronym any more (the link goes to a page of google results, so you can see how much cash they're spending on adwords). Not content with endorsing the convoluted and lethal new Medicare programme, the AARP also offers its own version of the new plans available under the scheme. I don't have the time to work out what sort of deal their partner DestinationRX gets from the association, but I'd imagine in general that AARP should be fleeing this mess like the plague.

It does have some guidelines for ads in its magazine. But, as this pdf from Public Citizen points out, the AARP now gets more income from licensing than it does from dues. Not, um, healthy.

3) The American Dental Association, which regularly favours certain toothcare products over others. Not as pernicious as the others, I'll grant you, but have you ever noticed that, as with razor blades, your average bodega only stocks one brand of toothpaste. In this hypothetical case, the ADA is quite literally putting the tooth and gum care of its devotees on the line. Bears some closer examination, non?

The puppy up top is an actual puppy owned by an actual relative of Gringcorp. Adorable, non?


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