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PR: Advertising

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The problem with public relations campaigns is that the news media do not always buy the industry's spin. As aggressive as the CMA's research and press operations have been, the centerpiece of its image campaign has always been advertising - "paid media that guarantees the consistent accuracy of message delivery." (view entire document)

For a long time, the industry's advertising campaigns were limited to "informational" booklets and audio-visual materials. In 1975-76, for example, CMA planned to spend $26,000 for "Internal Publications" and $24,000 for "Education Exhibits" and "Education Publications," but nothing on advertising. (view entire document) But with the launch of ChemCAP in 1979, CMA began a high-visibility advertising campaign.

In 1981-82, the industry spent more than $4.7 million(adjusted for inflation) on "print advertising development, space costs, etc." (view entire document) The next year, in the midst of a recession, the ad budget was still more than $1.5 million. The industry focused its advertising in print outlets, which were less expensive than television and "because of the selective nature of [their] target audiences." (view entire document)

CMA's next big ad push came in 1990, when it unveiled the Responsible Care campaign in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of Earth Day. (view entire document) In April 1990 alone, the industry spent nearly $3 million in print advertising. (view entire document) The ad blitz included multiple full page ads in USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, People, and National Georgraphic's special Earth Day edition, each costing more than $100,000. In addition, CMA purchased a series of ads in major regional newspapers and industry publications. According to CMA research, the ads "reached 31 million households, for a readership of 62 million." (view entire document)

Starting in 1991, the industry committed $10 million per year for five years to public outreach efforts. Of that total, $8.5 million was earmarked for advertising each year. (view entire document) With that much money at stake, the industry developed a remarkably detailed and sophisticated process for developing new advertising themes - a process that apparently continues to this day. (view entire document)

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last updated: march.27.2009

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