I’m gonna come out with it – I’m a huge fan of ABC’s Media Watch. It’s a 15 minute show that exposes any wrong-doings and miss-reports in Australian media. If you’re a marketing, communication, humanities, PR, or journalism student, then this show is for you.
I wanted to share the following story that was aired on the 27th of June 2011. Media Watch uncovered how a Channel 7 news report was actually a well orchestrated PR campaign by the smart folks at Ogilvy. It was a promotional piece for a new ‘wonder’ drug called Movectro. Under current Australian law, drug companies are not allowed to promote prescription medicine to the general public, meaning that traditional advertising methods just wont do. What Ogilvy did instead is they presented a favourable media release which was plugged by Channel 7 news, calling for its viewers to make this drug available to potential customers (or “patients” if you like) under the current health benefit scheme (get the government to subsidise the drug, so it is available to more people, yet the company still makes the same profit because the government pays the bill for the product). The final result of this campaign was that Movectro manufacturer got hit with a $20,000 fine, and the drug is no longer available here in Australia (I wonder if Ogilvy got fined as well – not sure about that…).
It’s a very interesting look into ‘alternative’ advertising, and the whole idea of “what you see on the news isn’t always news” comes to mind. Anyway, enjoy the show.