Friday, December 18, 2009

Bonus Restrictions Aren't Just for Corporate Execs: New Survey Shows Holiday Festivities and Bonuses Will Be In Short Supply at Most U.S. Companies

By: Roseanna Sonnenfeld

      According to results of a new survey, less than one quarter of American companies plan to give workers a holiday bonus this year.  This is a record low that is down almost 20% from last year.  These holiday bonuses are referring to traditional bonuses that companies often hand out to all employees.  Companies are also scaling back on holiday parties, if they're having one at all.  These bonuses are ones that basically magically fall out of the air at the end of the year based on an employer's desire to say thank you. 

      I think that not giving out holiday bonuses is the right thing to do for the companies that are doing this.  It is just a smart idea with the way the economy is going.  If not giving out holiday bonuses are going to help employees throughout the year with their income then it is all worthwhile.  They may not be getting a bonus but that does not mean that they are not going to get paid at all.  It will just be an eye opener for them as to how they need to be spending their money more carefully during the holiday season.  Not only will it be beneficial to the employees because of the income throughout the year but it will also be a benefit for the employers because they will feel a little more assured with the amount of money they have or that they are not giving away as bonuses. 


From Really Bad to Perhaps Much Worse: Tiger Woods Now Linked to Performance-Enhancing Drugs as Canadian Doctor is Probed

By: Roseanna Sonnenfeld


      Dr. Anthony Galea, a Canadian doctor who has treated Tiger Woods and other professional sports figures, is under suspicion of providing athletes with performance-enhancing drugs.  This happened after Galea was arrested at a U.S.-Canada border with possession of an illegal drug.  An FBI investigation has been opened, based in part on computer records found relating to several pro athletes. 


      After Woods had knee surgery in June, Galea had reportedly provided Woods with a platelet therapy.  This therapy was developed through a blood-spinning technique that speeds up post-surgery recovery.  This therapy has been approved by the FDA.   However several are saying and fear that there was more to this simple therapy than just a blood-spinning technique.  "The treatment Tiger received is a widely accepted therapy and to suggest some connection with illegality is recklessly irresponsible," said agent Mark Steinberg.


      The fact that Tiger Woods is already in trouble with his situation that deals with his personal life is bad enough.  But now there is hype about him being involved with illegal drugs.  Honestly, I just kind of feel bad for the guy.  Yeah, he put himself in the first situation but at the same time trying to nail him for more than what is his responsibility is not the best approach for people to be making towards him.   If Dr. Galea is the one dealing with the illegal drugs, get his business figured out before tying to nail everyone he was in association with.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tiger's Brand-Protection Days Could Be Numbered: PR Experts Say Next Few Weeks Could Be Crucial for Sponsorship Deals

By: Roseanna Sonnenfeld


      Over the next week or two, Tiger Woods' sponsors are going to have to decide whether they still want him associated with their brands.  PR experts say Tiger needs to take more professional responsibility with his business contacts.  To do this he needs to issue an apology.  "This is a tough call.  His sponsorships are based on his athleticism-not who he does or does not sleep with," said Jackie Wright, president of Rainmaker Communications in the Phoenix area.


      When thinking about his sponsorships and the companies that he is associated with, I think the right thing to do would be to issue an apology.  But like Wright says, his sponsorships are based on his athleticism.  Because of this, part of me feels as if he should issue an apology because he is in the public eye for those companies he is associated with. When he has screwed up, it somehow could make the companies seem as if they screwed up. The other part of me feels as if this is his personal life and his business, why should he have to issue an apology to the public and his sponsors when it is his own personal life?  They should be looking at how well he plays golf not how well his love life is going.  But he has put himself in the public eye and if an apology is what it takes to save his career than that is probably what he needs to do.



Trouble in Toyland: Feud Between Mattel and MGA Entertainment Rages On, But Bratz Dolls Will Remain on Store Shelves Through Holidays

By: Roseanna Sonnenfeld


      The long-running copyright dispute between Mattel and MGA Entertainment over the rights to Bratz dolls continues in court.  However there has been a new ruling that has determined that the popular toys will still be on sale over the holidays and into next year.  Originally the court found that MGA breached copyright laws.  The court then ordered the company to stop selling the dolls and transfer ownership to Mattel, but an appeals court has suspended the order.


      I think that a kind of dispute on something like this, a toy is a waste of time.  There are so many more things that could be going through court right now and these two companies are fighting over ownership of a toy.  One of the statements made was that the two companies should just come to some kind of an agreement on this dispute out of court.  I think this is exactly what should happen.  The two companies should get together, find some kind of resolution that they can agree on, and settle this argument.  The only good thing that everyone is agreeing on is the fact that the Bratz Dolls need to be sold throughout the Christmas season in order for either of the companies to get a profit from them. 



"He Said, She Said" for the 21st Century: McDonald's Catches Heat Over Discrimination for Allegedly Refusing to Hire Transgender Teen

By: Roseanna Sonnenfeld


      An Orlando Teen who changed her gender from male to female is taking legal action against McDonalds.  She claims that the fast food restaurant refused to hire her because she is transgender.  This McDonalds branch claims to have a zero-tolerance policy toward discrimination in any form.  Along with being refused an interview by the company, the 17 year old claims that a company rep left a voice message saying she would never be hired by the company.


      The 17 year old definitely has a right to be taking legal action against the company.  I am someone who does not agree with the concept of people choosing to be transgender.  I think that what you are born with is what you got, and is who you are.  I would never judge them for that choice though, but that is beside the fact in this article.  The way that the company went about this whole situation was bad all around.  They first of all were discriminative towards the teen in making the choice to not hire the teen.  Then they handled it wrong when telling the teen and explaining their decision.  There should have been better judgment made from all of the representatives in this situation.  Especially when it came to leaving a voice message on the teen’s answering machine.  It seems as if they treated the situation as a joke which it definitely was not.




Monday, December 14, 2009

In age of 'sexting,' parents weigh options for blocking content

ANN ARBOR, Mich.--As cell phone use becomes common place among children, parents express growing concerns about the content and quantity of material transmitted via the devices. One major concern is "sexting," in which sexually explicit material is shared via text messages, photos or video transmitted between cell phones.

A report released today by the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health shows that 41 percent of parents are either "very" concerned or "somewhat" concerned with the amount of time their children spend text messaging.

The poll also shows that 27 percent of pre-teens, ages 9 - 12, and 75 percent of teens, ages 13 - 17, have their own cell phones. Among these children, 87 percent send and receive text messages and 23 percent access the Internet through their phones.

"We found that 55 percent of parents guard against inappropriate cell phone activity by limiting the time children can use their cell phone," says Matthew Davis, M.D., director of the poll and associate professor of general pediatrics and internal medicine at the U-M Medical School. "Time limits are used substantially more often by parents of preteens than by parents of teens."

However, a less common strategy, used by 33 percent of parents, involves blocking the transmission of images on children's cell phones. The poll found that 45 percent of parents block images on phones for pre-teens, while only 29 percent for teens.

"While many parents have placed limits related to time spent using cell phones, far fewer parents have instituted a mechanism for blocking images," says Davis, who is also associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine in the U-M Medical School and associate professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. "Parents may not be aware of the various options for blocking inappropriate content or the potential risks of sexting."

As parents and relatives consider purchasing cell phones as holiday gifts for kids, it may be wise to consider adding image blocking safeguards to calling plans. In addition, parents should establish rules and expectations with their teens and preteens, in order to guard against sexting, Davis says.

For parents not already doing so, most national cell phone companies will block image content for a monthly fee (usually $5-$10).


Download the report:

View the figures:

Download the questions:

American Academy of Pediatrics: Talking to kids about social media and sexting:

Methodology: This report presents findings from a nationally representative household survey conducted exclusively by Knowledge Networks, Inc, for C.S. Mott Children's Hospital via a method used in many published studies. The survey was administered in May 2009 to a randomly selected, stratified group of parents aged 18 and older (n=1,471) with children from the Knowledge Networks standing panel that closely resembles the U.S. population. The sample was subsequently weighted to reflect population figures from the Census Bureau. The survey completion rate was 56 percent among parent panel members contacted to participate. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 to 6 percentage points, depending on the question. For subgroups, the margin of error is higher.

To learn more about Knowledge Networks, visit

Purpose/Funding: The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health - funded by the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases and part of the CHEAR Unit at the U-M Health System - is designed to measure major health care issues and trends for U.S. children.

News about the news -
Finally, a Weight-Loss Solution You Can Live With!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Coca-Cola Pushes Its Green Agenda By Announcing New Climate-Friendly Vending Machines to Reduce Huge Carbon Footprint

By: Roseanna Sonnenfeld


      Coke has announced it will take a huge step in its green-conscious refurbishments by rolling out new vending machines and coolers that eliminate the greenhouse gas hydroflourocarbon (HFC) by 2015.  Coke is the world’s largest beverage company.  It currently runs 10 million appliances globally that emit 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gases annually.  This is the biggest contributor to the company's carbon footprint.  


      This is such a beneficial thing for not only the Coke Company but it is also setting an example for other companies to follow as well.  It will allow others to see that there is room for climate-friendly refrigeration.  If one company starts this trend, it will most likely catch on because most companies are looking for more environmentally friendly solutions to problems.  Because HFC is blamed for global climate change, it has prompted the food and beverage industry to find other ways to cool products.  This being one of them. People are going to keep drinking a large amount of pop/soda beverages, so I don't think that there is a way to regulate the amount or number of pop machines that are located all over.  So regulating the climate-friendly refrigeration aspect is one of the best things you can do for this environmental struggle.  "Our hope is that our initial investments will trigger adoption by other companies in the food and beverage industry," said Coke's chief executive Muhtar Kent.



Thursday, December 10, 2009

College Grads, Not Meeting Standards

By: Brooke Shanholtz


I am a college student and will be the first to admit I do not attend classes at my peak appearance. My typical look in a class consists of jeans, a sweatshirt, and my hair pulled up in a pony tail. But I will soon be graduating and I realize I have to make the transition into the "real world." I will get up a couple hours before work, show up to my job early, look my best, and be in my top mindset everyday. I know that is what is expected and thought that most college students did as well. Studies have proved otherwise.

Recent studies have shown that recent college graduates are not living up to professional standards. David Polk, York College sociologist, performed a study with business executives. His findings revealed that, "many of the 500 business execs who participated in the study complained that young employees fresh out of college were disrespectful, didn’t have good work ethic and weren’t professional-looking."

Polk compared our generations complaints with that of the baby boomers; the generation gap. But as a baby boomer himself, Polk stated that, "We threw away the tie-dye shirts and bell bottoms."

Daily Dog. (2009, Dec. 10). Recent College Grads Not Living Up to Professional Standards of Last Generation's Job Seekers, New Survey Suggests. Retrieved from


Google Struggles to Protect Image

By: Brooke Shanholtz


Google has been struggling to protect their image because of scammers using their name. The company filed a lawsuit against Pacific WebWorks and other defendants because they have used Google’s name and logo in money making schemes. Google has stated that they have not produced or endorsed any money making schemes through the company.  Many have either seen the advertisements on the web or have received emails stating that they can make easy money from home through Google.


I personally never pay attention to any advertisements for easy money on the web, but recently I received a message on facebook from a friend stating that it works and she was making money. I went to the site and then researched the money making scheme before signing up for anything. I immediately found sites full of post stating it was a scheme, and many of the post stated how quickly they lost money. People need to research where there personal information is going before they submit it over the internet. I am sure glad I did, and I actually feel silly for thinking there was any possibility of it being true. But it shows how easy it is for these unethical groups to make money.



Daily Dog. (2009, Dec. 10). Google Fights for Its Image: Search Giant Sues Work-At-Home Scammers That Have Used Its Name and Logo In Fraudulent Schemes. Retrieved from


General Mills Plans for Healthier Cereal

By: Brooke Shanholtz

Obesity in children has been a highly discussed topic over the past couple of years. Cereal, such as Coco-Puffs, has been blamed for offering unhealthy cereal options for children. General Mills has recently reported that they will be reducing the amount of sugar in their cereal to single digits. Many are wondering if the change in the cereal is a marketing move because of the received criticism.


General Mills claims that the change in the nutrients of the cereal is a reaction to the consumer’s desire not criticism. Regardless of why they are changing the nutrients of the cereal, I think it is an excellent move. It is better late than never. The choice benefits the consumer and if it benefits General Mills that is great too.



Daily Dog. (2009, Dec. 10). General Mills Announces It Is Reducing Sugar in Kids' Cereals — But Is This a Health-Motivated Move, or One Designed to Skirt Marketing Criteria? Retrieved from

Tiger Woods Dominates The News...Not For Golf Though

By: Brooke Shanholtz


Tiger Woods has been dominating the news for well over a week now, and it does not seem to be vanishing. The well known golf star is not dominating because of his sports game either. His reputation has been ruined due to extramarital affairs. The article, ""Brand Tiger" Collapsing: TV Ads Featuring Golf Icon Disappearing as His Personal Business Escalates Into Image-Wrecking Scandal," discusses how some of Tigers many sponsors are reacting to the situation. Tiger has not appeared on the television since the thanksgiving incident. Many sponsors are not going to drop him, but are going to hold back on using Tiger for marketing. They are doing this out of respect for Tiger Woods and his family, and also because it is not a good time to have him as the image of a product. Nike, Gillette and Electronic Arts are a few of Tigers sponsors that for now still support him and will keep him as their spokesperson.


Daily Dog. (2009, Dec. 10). "Brand Tiger" Collapsing: TV Ads Featuring Golf Icon Disappearing as His Personal Business Escalates Into Image-Wrecking Scandal. Retrieved from

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wal-Mart Settles State Lawsuit Alleging Employee Mistreatment: Retailer Coughs Up $40 Million to Pay More Than 87,000 Staffers

By: Roseanna Sonnenfeld


      In 2001, there were claims of employees in Massachusetts that Wal-Mart denied them rest and meal breaks, manipulated time cards and refused to pay overtime.  Finally after several years of working through these arguments, the retailer has agreed to pay $40 million to 87,500 staffers.  This is a huge increase from when the company originally agreed to pay only $3 million in a deal with the state prosecutors.


      I think that Wal-Mart getting this situation resolved is definitely in the best interest of the company.  It is sad to hear that this happened even before the economy started going downhill, that Wal-Mart was short handing people while the company was still doing well financially.  It is interesting to hear that even though it is a huge amount of $40 million that will settle this, it is split up to people getting as low as $400.  Doing what this specific Wal-Mart company did in Massachusetts shows low value in how they treat their employees.  Wanting the money that they earned as employees is only fair.  Hopefully because of this litigation, this Wal-Mart company has learned the value of treating their employees with importance. 



AT&T and Verizon Agree to Stop Ad-Claim Catfight: Without Saying Why, Carriers Jointly Dismiss Lawsuits Challenging Ad-Campaign Statements

By: Roseanna Sonnenfeld


      AT&T and Verizon have accused each other of lying about cell and 3G coverage-area superiority in TV ads.  One claims to have "more bars in more places" while the others "there's a map for that" ads claim it has far wider coverage.  Even though they have been accusing and throwing arguments at each other, they have now decided to play it nice.  Without explanation, the two competitors both agreed this past week to drop lawsuits against the other. 


      I think that having the arguments and lawsuits against each other in the first place was a mistake.  These days it seems as though almost everyone has a cell phone/some kind of technology gadget or needs one.  Because of this, people are buying new phones or new pieces of technology all over the place.  I would think that with the huge amount of people that we have in this country, there would be no need for argument between cell phone companies.  Coverage within a cell phone company is a big deal to people when buying from that company.  But I'm not going to trust the ad on TV for that anyway, I would rather ask the cell phone company at the store for that information.  I really do feel like there are enough people to go around and enough people to keep the cell phone companies busy.  To me, these lawsuits are just something extra for the companies to be arguing over.




Dockers Tries to Remake Its Brand and Image with Launch of Campaign for New Line of Pants Luring Bargain-Hunting Shoppers

By: Roseanna Sonnenfeld
      Dockers has recently decided to try to remake its brand and image with the launch of campaign for a new line of pants for bargain-hunting shoppers.  A recent article has said that mroe often than not, brands that ruled the roost in a bygone era fail in their attempts to remake themselves for the younger, hipper crowd of today.  Dockers however is giving it a shot this holiday season with a new line of pants and a new multimedia campaign.  A revamped line includes new colors and fits with attractive price points. 
      I do remember the time when dockers was a big deal and then, it just kind of died in a sense.  I think that it is good to see the brand trying to come back and be something exciting for many bargain shoppers.  The brand is seeing that buyers and especially men who would be buying this product are becoming much more price concious, and taking how they look a bit more seriously.  Becuase of this, the brand is offering up this new campaign to grab the attention of these buyers.  One of the things the article talked about was the fact that they have a new multimedia campaign that includes a Super Bowl spot.  I think this is intereseting to see and very smart of the compnay.  Their target audience is aimed towards men, so putting something in with the Super Bowl is definately a smart option to have.  It is good to see that the company is promoting the bargain part of the shopping and concerned with shoppers during the difficult economic times.  Especially because is it obvious that apparel sales are still not up to where they used to be.  Dockers is launching something new in a difficult time and it will be neat to see how the target audience reacts.

What's Tiger Woods Thinking? Crisis Experts Criticize Golf Star's Silent Approach, Which Could Create a PR Nightmare for "Brand Tiger"

By: Roseanna Sonnenfeld


      There have been many things written about Tiger Woods and the incident that happened near his home, but no one knows exactly what happened.  The first rule of crisis management is to speak up and address the issue, as many brands have learned the hard way.  Lingering silence just turns little problems into giant problems that are hard to get out of.  Tiger Woods has so far been completely mum about his "incident", refusing to speak with police about what happened and why. 


      I think that it is good that Woods wants to keep his personal life just that, his personal life.  That is nobodies business but his own and he should not want other people to know.  By him, as a celebrity, not blurting out all the details, it shows that this was not just another incident put on display in order to get attention.


      However, if the police need more information from him as to what happened, that is a different aspect of the story. "When you avoid the police, it not only hurts you in the court of public opinion but it also hurts you in the court of law," says Mike Paul, president of MGP and Associates PR.  For Woods to be avoiding the police shows a sense or lack of respect for the law and for values or moral standards.  This is definitely not good for his brand.  Yes, it is important that he protect his personal life but it is also very important that he obey the law just like any other citizen. 




Friday, December 4, 2009

Despite Huge Revenues, Wall Street Financial Firms Make Extra Efforts Not to Celebrate with Luxurious, Image-Damaging Holiday Parties

By: Roseanna Sonnenfeld
      Wall Street, over the past couple of years has learned a lesson from the PR nightmares created by bailouts and bonuses over the last year.  Even some of the rich firms are excerscising some humility this holiday season.  Rather than luxerious bashes, like in years past, companies like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are planning low-key offices parties to avoid further scrutiny.  "I think the right tone is one that is low key," said David Ellis.
      I think this is such a great and smart thing for businesses to be realizing.  I think it would be very unsmart for companies to be spending money on big Christmas bashes, then because of economic circumstances, have to tell their employees, oh sorry you are all getting a cut in your pay.  We spent too much this past holiday season.  The fact that companies are realizing these things and cutting back on events like their holiday get-togethers really shows that employers and owners are concerned with theirs employees.  Whether it be for money purposes or not. 
      "Now is not the time to show off," said Brad Hintz, a Sanford Bernstein analyst who tracks several bulge bracket banks.  I think this is a very wise statement and something that some companies should really think about.  By realizing that now is not the time to show off, you are saying that you are more concerned with what is really going on within the company rather than on what people may think is going on within the company.  Which I believe is the right tone to have in this situationn and for the approaching holiday season.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lie--a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.

By Brandon Moore

Over the past few years there have been many public figures that have
been caught and/or accused of lying; some to fans, some to clients,
others to congress and the world. These lies have ruined lives
destroyed stability and caused irreversible emotional and sometimes
physical damage.

On February 13, 2008 Roger Clemens sat in front of Congress and
definitively denied using any performance enhancing drugs. During
these hearings there was also testimony from Clemens former trainer
that he personally injected Clemens with steroids. In addition to
Clemens former trainer, former teammate Andrew Pettitte also stated in
2000 that Clemens took steroids. This case is still under
investigation and if evidence is found Clemens could be charged with
perjury and obstruction of justice.

December 11 2008, Bernard Madoff was arrested after admitting to his
sons that his multibillion dollar company, Bernard L. Madoff
Investment Securities LLC was nothing but a giant ponzi scheme.
Madoff was convicted on over nineteen different counts securities
fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and perjury. For the
over fifty billion dollars that Madoff stole from his investors he
will due 150 years in federal prison.

In 2004 America's favorite stay at home mom was sentenced to five
months in federal prison after being found guilty of insider trading.
After receiving an unpublicized tip about ImClone Systems Inc., a
cancer research company. Martha's friend Sam Waksal owner of ImClone
tipped Martha off that ImClone's newest cancer drug was rejected by
the FDA. Martha then sold her 4000 shares of ImClone stock.

One of the most notorious white collar crimes ever committed was by
Jeff Skilling, former CEO of the energy giant Enron. Skilling was
convicted of 1 count of conspiracy, 1 count of insider trading, 5
counts of making false statements to auditors, and 12 counts of
securities fraud. These 17 convictions landed Skilling with 24 years
and 4 months in federal prison. Skilling started serving his term in
December of 2006. Skilling is scheduled for release sometime in 2028
when he will be 75 years old. On October 13, 2009 the Supreme Court
accepted Skilling's appeal case and the trial will begin in 2010.

Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic, attempt to shape
perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a
response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.

Though propaganda and lying are never directly correlated it is
obvious that they are in fact one in the same. Both propaganda and
lying are forms of deceitfulness intended to hurt the receiving party.
Through the cases of Roger Clemens, Bernie Madoff, Martha Stewart, and
Jeff Skilling it is plain to see what drastic effects lying can have
on the people around you as well as people that you don't know exist.

It may be a stretch to say that all propaganda is intended and/or used
for negative purposes, but the fact of the matter is that it's true.
Propaganda was used starting back in the 1600's where it was vastly
used within the political and religious circles.

Propaganda in today's society is used to sway people's opinions and
get them to see ideas in a new light. This is the exact situation that
the four people mentioned previously have done. They were all
introduced to what they thought was a short cut to success, rather it
was steroids, or money all four of these people and many others like
them find their fate being decided by the greed that once drove them.

Works Cited:
Zambito, Thomas and Smith, Greg B. (2008, Decemeber 13). Feds say
Bernard Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi scheme was worst ever. Retrieved
October 27, 2009, from New York Daily News:
(2003, June 4). Press Release. Retrieved October 27, 2009 from
Security and Exchange Commission:
Salter, Malcolm (2009, February 4). Jeffrey Skilling's Latest Lesson
For Us All. Retrieved October 27, 2009 from Forbes:
Jowett G., O'Donnell V. (1999) Propaganda and Persuasion. Thousand
Oaks CA: Sage Publications Inc.