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Arment Dietrich

Spin of the sponsors

By: Arment Dietrich | June 10, 2008 | 
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Blog written by Elizabeth Holland

When I think of sponsored campaigns, I think of likely pairs such as Nike and the Chicago Marathon,Haagen Dazs and honey bees, Home Depot and Trading Spaces. On the other hand, some sponsorships are funding organizations with oppositional principles in order to gain favorable recognition.

For example, Discovery Communications has recently budgeted $100 million to re-make its home television network into “Planet Green” a 24 hour lifestyle channel devoted to ecological programming. You would think that the sponsor would be Toyota Hybrid. Nope, the sponsor is gas guzzling GM the auto company planning to roll out the largest version of the Hummer this fall. That’s a fuel inefficiency of 16 miles per gallon according to NewCars.org.

Another hypocritical pair is the Ligget Group cigarette brand maker and their grant to The Foundation for Lung Cancer. The 3.6 million in grant proceeds went to fund a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine saying “80 percent of lung cancer deaths could be prevented through widespread use of CT scans”. Clearly the Foundation for Lung Cancer has entered into a conflict of interest.

While most sponsorships are visible, as with the GM and Discovery Communications, the problem arises when the background sponsor is not transparent. When it comes to medical research, corporate financing can lead to various biases.

Just goes to show, honesty is the best policy.

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