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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kick the Can and Go Soda Free this Summer!

Mounds of evidence show that sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes, especially among children. This summer, Bay Area children and adults are encouraged to rethink their drink choices and choose healthier beverages, such as water, low-fat milk, and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices, over sugary sodas and other sweetened beverages.

The Soda Free Summer campaign, launched by the Bay Area Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative (BANPAC), comprised of over 300 health and nutrition professionals, helps residents enjoy a summer without the un-needed calories of sweetened beverages.

The campaign includes Be Sugar Savvy educational workshops, presentations and exhibits on soda and other sweetened beverages for teachers, youth groups, and community and health organizations. These individuals will then take the message to the public via posters, brochures and Soda Free Summer pledge cards. There will also be a raffle for a bike and $500 of healthy grocery certificates.

But the real winners will be those who change their drinking habits. According to the survey results from last year's campaign, over 5,000 Bay Area residents sent in pledges to go soda free for the summer.

For more information about Soda Free Summer, visit and follow the campaign on Facebook.
~ Nicole

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Categorizing Blog Types

Recently we set aside time here at BMC to discuss the changing media landscape and what we need to do to stay one step ahead. We talked a lot about reaching out to the blogosphere and found that comparing the many different user-generated sites on the Web was like comparing apples to oranges.

We see an online news site, like the Huffington Post, as being a lot different than a straightforward commentary on a single topic, like our own blog. Dividing these sites into categorical types helped inform our discussion when it comes to blogger relations. I thought it might be helpful to share these "blog types” with all of you.

Online News Styles:

1. Newspaper/magazine – an Internet-only newspaper or magazine, like the Huffington Post

2. Commentary – traditional blog with the author commenting on a particular topic, like the Brown Miller Communications blog

3. Community newspapers – a blog that provides news and/or commentary on a specific neighborhood, city or region, like

4. Consolidation of news feeds – aggregates blog and/or news postings on a particular topic onto one site, like

5. Traditional media online – blogs written by reporters/columnists in addition to their broadcast/print work, like the Contra Costa Times’ aPARENTly Speaking

Friday, May 15, 2009

And the Award Goes to...

Last night, Nicole and I had the pleasure of representing Brown Miller Communications at the 2009 Northern California Silver & Bronze Anvil Awards Gala at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. The awards were presented by the Public Relations Society of America's San Francisco Chapter. BMC was up for two awards for our client, the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, on our campaign winning support to implement the nation's first statewide menu labeling law.

We were two-for-two as we took home an Anvil for Best Social Media Program for our YouTube piece Brochures...Fast Food's Answer to Obesity and the top award for Best Public Service/Public Affairs Programs on the overall menu labeling campaign.

Although each campaign is run distinctively in its own right, awards like this reflect on essential characteristics of BMC's work. This campaign highlighted the importance of menu labeling and effectively brought the need to life generating strategic results such as having Governor Schwarzenegger signing it into law.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Twitter Me A Tweet

Once there was a method of communication that few people had or used. But slowly the numbers grew until it hit the tipping point. Then, seemingly overnight, everyone had one and was using it to communicate with friends and total strangers alike. But after awhile, the novelty wore off and before anyone realized it, nobody, except for a small core group used the method anymore. Sound familiar? No, I’m not talking about Twitter, I’m talking about the CB radio craze of the mid to late 1970s. But I have to ask the question, will Twitter be the CB radio of the new century?

There are reports that more people are dropping off Twitter then signing up for it. There are also rumors that ads could be on the way for tweets. If people are already dropping off the service without the ads, imagine what will happen if people have to wade through ads that are attached to all the tweets they receive.

It will be interesting to see where Twitter is a couple of years from now. Will it have become an essential part of everyday living, or sitting on the shelf next to CB radios? Only time will tell.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why Disney is leaving McDonald's behind

I read in the Daily Dog today that Disney is changing its strategy when it comes to pushing its brand via kids’ foods. Rather than plastering Snow White and Aladdin on chips and cookies, Disney is stamping eggshells with Tigger and adding Buzz Lightyear to produce stickers. Disney began its health-food promotions in 2006 and now offers more than 250 items in its Disney Garden line. Sales rose 70 percent in 2008 over the previous year and Disney is being patted on the back for being more socially responsible.

Some people aren’t exactly pleased with Disney’s new marketing strategy. Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for a Commerical-Free Childhood told the Washington Post, "If we think about children's well-being, the best thing we could do is to stop marketing any food to them and let parents make choices about what their children eat without being undermined by advertising."

Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s anyway we can get companies to totally eliminate advertising to children. I agree with Linn that it’d be great if parents could make dining choices for their children without Winnie the Pooh or Tony the Tiger pulling the puppet strings, but if I have to choose between companies throwing money behind French fries, soda and sugary cereal or fruits, vegetables and dairy products, I’m all for those stamped eggs.

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