Montioring Corporate Agribusiness From a Public Interest Perspective
A.V. Krebs Editor\Publisher
April 24, 2001
REPORTERS AKRE-WILSON AWARDED
PRESTIGIOUS GOLDMAN ENVIRONMENTAL PRIZE
CALLED “NOBEL PRIZE FOR GRASSROOTS WORK”
Jane Akre and Steve Wilson , the two Clearwater, Florida journalists who risked their careers to expose the dangers of the Monsanto-produced rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), and were subsequently fired by their FOX Network station for resisting pressure to broadcast a "false, distorted or slanted news report" favorable to Monsanto, are among eight environmental heroes from around the globe who have been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, the world's largest award for environmental activists.
The prize is frequently referred to as the Nobel Prize for grassroots work that aids the environment or calls attention to a significant environmental issue. The wife-husband investigative reporter team are the first journalists to ever win the award, given in six geographical categories, which includes a prize of $125,000 from the Goldman Environmental Foundation.
“We are both incredibly humbled by this honor,” Akre and Wilson acknowledged in receiving their award, “especially after spending the last few days meeting the other winners selected from each of the other five inhabited continents on Earth.
“The man who has saved the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, an indigenous woman who has fought an incredible battle and endured unspeakable personal hardships in her fight against an American gold mining company [Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. of New Orleans, Louisiana] that is raping her Indonesian homeland, the Greek biologist who brought feuding nations together to save a fragile ecosystem; these are some of the incredible people in whose company we are so proud to be.”
Akre also pointed out that “just as we expected, we continue to be `radioactive’ as far as getting new jobs in the mainstream media and we remain essentially unemployed. And just as they promised, FOX lawyers have filed their appeal that is slowing grinding through the Florida court system. Steve has also filed an appeal of the jury verdict with regard to his individual claim. The process at this first appeals level could take up to two years while my successful $425,000 award is untouchable to us pending the outcome.” (See Issue #91)
Founded and funded in 1990 by San Francisco philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman, the prize annually distributes cash bequests to six of the planet's most deserving "environmental heroes." Each recipient represents one of Earth's six continental regions. Prizes are sometimes awarded to more than one person in each category. This year, each recipient will receive $125,000. The awards were presented at a ceremony in San Francisco, California Monday night.
“The world is getting smaller, and the need is growing for everyone to take responsibility for keeping our planet healthy,'' Richard Goldman, founder of the Goldman Environmental Prize said in a statement.
“The winners this year illustrate how the environment is affected by wars, international business, economic policies, and the tendency to put short-term gains ahead of long term solutions. They also illustrate how the courage and commitment of a single visionary individual can make a difference for generations to come," he added.
Goldman Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a network of over 20 environmental organizations and individuals representing nearly 50 nations.
In discussing their thrill of receiving the award Akre and
Wilson also addressed their supporters throughout the world. “We want you to
share our joy in this recognition, the brightest spot in a four-year-long
struggle. We also want to say to all of you around the world, again, thank
you! Thank you for your support, your kind words, and your prayers.
We could not have survived and had the courage to go on without you. It
has meant more than you will ever know.”
AKRE-WILSON STORY DRAMATIZES
HOW THE NATIONAL MAINSTREAM MEDIA
HAVE BECOME DEFENDERS OF THE CORPORATE IMAGE
In accepting the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize investigative reporters Jane Akre and Steve Wilson pointed out that they plan to use the Prize’s generous cash award “to continue to produce documentaries and other projects to bring attention to genetically engineered foods, the state of the American media, and other important issues that the mainstream press is just not covering any more.”
Judging from the initial press coverage of their award their work is urgently and sorely needed. Throughout their four-year ordeal the nation’s mainstream media have consistently and purposely ignored their story and avoided informing the public of their plight.
Their award was for their investigation of rBGH, a genetically modified bovine growth hormone produced by the Monsanto Corp. To some environmental and science groups rBGH can be linked to human breast, prostate and colon cancer although it is widely employed by the American dairy industry while being banned in Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Japan.
FOX Television, their employer, refused to run their four-part series, because the network had been threatened with a lawsuit by Monsanto Co., the manufacturer of rBGH. FOX instead insisted the pair air a report distinctly biased to Monsanto's point of view. Akre and Wilson, however, continued to press FOX to run their original story, and were subsequently fired by the network in 1997.
Akre and Wilson sued FOX in 1998 for violating Florida's whistle-blower law. A six-person Florida jury found that FOX had indeed pressured the reporters to broadcast a "false, distorted or slanted news report” and Akre was awarded $425,000 for suffering job loss on improper grounds. Wilson has appealed his no-claim verdict and FOX has appealed the Akre award decision.
Not only has their story been nationally censored, but the initial news of their award has been similarly, if not barely, reported on and those few stories that have appeared since the announcement of the awards conveniently ignore two key elements of the Akre-Wilson story --- the name of rBGH’s producer and the name of the network that employed the couple.
Starting with the Goldman Foundation’s own press release we see such evasiveness:
“Jane Akre and Steve Wilson: Two TV journalists who researched
the potential health risks of rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone)-the
genetically modified hormone injected into U.S. dairy cows to stimulate milk
production. The hormone is among the first genetically modified products
approved by the FDA. It is banned in Europe, Japan and most other industrialized
nations. Their resulting story proved too hot for the
local TV network affiliate for which it was produced and ultimately led to their firing.”
Reuters News in an eleven paragraph story headlined “Eight Activists to Get World Environmental Prize” notes in their lead paragraph “A Rwandan who crusaded to save his country's last 355 mountain gorillas, and two American journalists who uncovered health risks of a growth hormone used by dairy farmers are among eight activists who will be awarded a top environmental prize on Monday.”
However the story waits until the second to the last and last paragraph to report:
“The U.S. winners were Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, journalists who investigated the dangers of the rBGH growth hormone, which is banned in Canada and Europe and many other countries but still used by American dairy farmers.
“Their report, which linked the hormone to cancer, was pulled by the television network where they worked after a manufacturer of rBGH raised objections. The two have since formed their own news and documentary production company devoted to exposing environmental and health issues they say are often ignored by the mainstream media.”
Likewise, the Wall Street Journal in a four column spread across the top front page of their April 23 “Marketplace” section headlined “A Tribeswoman Takes Top Environmental Prize --- and Grant From Foe.” At the end of a fifteen-paragraph story that concludes on page six of the section in very small type appears:
“Goldman Environmental Prize Winners --- North America
“Jane Akre and Steve Wilson
“TV journalists who produced story about potential health risks of recombinant bovine growth hormone, a growth hormone for cattle, for affiliate of Fox TV in Clearwater, Fla. Story was killed, journalists were fired. Last summer, a state-court jury awarded Ms. Akre $425,000 for violations of Florida's whistleblower law.”
While the San Francisco Chronicle in a bylined story by its environmental writer Glen Martin reported on the Akre and Wilson award and their suit, neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post’s April 23 or April 24 editions carried news about the Goldman award winners.
And! . . . And!! . . . And!!! . . .Associated Press distributed
an awards story on April 23 headlined: "TV Press Win Environmental Award" . .
"SUPERMARKUP TO THE WORLD"
NOW "THE NATURE OF WHAT’S TO COME"
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), long advertising itself as “Supermarket to the World” believes it needs a new image. Thus it has inaugurated a new corporate motto, which in light of its recent past characterized by a corporate culture of corruption and manipulation, might give the public pause for thought --- "The Nature of What's to Come,"
The motto and advertising campaign is intended by ADM to emphasize the company's efforts to develop new products from natural, renewable resources such as soybeans and corn, despite the fact that it still gets the bulk of its $13 billion in annual revenue from the processing of soybeans and corn.
Utilizing a redesigned logo featuring a green leaf inside of a blue diamond, instead of a symbol for a chemical molecule, the company plans commercials and ads no longer touting that it feeds the world, with large pieces of farming equipment working in the field. Rather its new TV ads will feature edgy animation and pop music which seeks to shift attention from its bulk commodity business to a growing variety of nutritional products, such as veggie burgers and soy milk, and alternative fuels like ethanol.
"The board of directors and management felt that it was time to demonstrate that we have more going on at ADM than feeding the rest of the world," G. Allen Andreas, chairman and chief executive, told a recent Chicago, Illinois news conference.
Company critics, however, point to the fact that ADM’s recent history and the fact that its profit margins on its core business are being squeezed by a glut of manufacturing capacity with its stock price near historical lows despite a recent jump, may have occasioned the efforts to create a “new” image.
Noting the company’s recent past Andreas, nephew of ADM’s past CEO and Board Chairman Dwayne Andreas, who built ADM into one of the world's most powerful corporations, reflects "I don't have any particular problem with that concern . . . It's been six years since we had those internal difficulties."
Despite its efforts to change its image from “Supermarkup to the World” where “the competitor is our friend and the consumer is our enemy,” ADM’s past still remains a fact. Three of its top executives, including Michael Andreas, the company's former vice chairman and son of Dwayne Andreas, were convicted in 1998 of taking part in a global conspiracy to illegally fix the price of lysine, a widely used animal feed additive during the early 1990s. ADM plead guilty and paid a $100 million fine in 1996 to settle the government's charges.
In its new ads, ADM will portray itself as a technology-savvy problem solver on issues such as hunger and air pollution, using soybeans and corn. "Nature has answers. Is anyone listening? Yes. ADM."
"We believe that nature holds the answer for many of the pressing problems of today's world," Andreas said.
In an April 6 Wall Street Transcript Andreas was asked:
“As you look at those growth opportunities, what role are the mergers and acquisitions going to play? Are there specific points in the overall process that you feel are more likely to benefit through merger or acquisition, as opposed to the buy or build analysis? And then, what role do you feel that will have as you look at your competition in several of these areas?”
“Extremely competitive conditions in the world's food economy are driving consolidation across our industry. With the exception of small, specialized niches, our business requires the efficiencies produced from a vast international network of information, production and transportation systems. Without significant size and diversity, agribusiness has been unable for many years to produce returns on investment sufficient to meet the expectations of the capital markets. Survival as an independent operator without the advancements in technology and a broadening global scope is increasingly difficult. New opportunities for profits in agriculture can only be produced with continued reinvestment of capital into research and growth which will add value and benefit efficiencies.
“Building new processing assets is not economic in agribusiness
today. Lack of returns on assets employed have brought financial ruin to
investors that have chosen to build new capacity these past years. The industry
is now operating at reduced levels due to surplus capacity. Today, investors who
construct new facilities anticipating increased demand for food based upon a
never-ending growth in the world's economy face extremely difficult financial
consequences. There is little doubt that increased concentration in our
industries is inevitable in the future. The beneficiaries of the consolidation
within the food chain will be farmers, processors and consumers.“
ADM AND FARMLAND INDUSTRIES
IN "CONFIDENTIAL TALKS;"
CO-OP MAY SELL GRAIN ELEVATOR NETWORK
Despite the fact that it posted a 10% drop in fiscal third-quarter net income, while sales jumped 15% to $5.13 billion from $4.47 billion, Archer Daniels Midland is currently holding "confidential talks" with Farmland Industries.
Last Friday, according to Reuters News, grain trade sources were saying that ADM was close to signing a deal to buy Farmland Industries' network of grain elevators. “It's a done deal,'' said one senior grain industry source of the ADM/Farmland negotiations. “ADM will take over all of Farmland's elevators. The talks have been going on for about two months.''
“We will confirm we are in confidential discussions with Farmland, but we cannot go beyond that comment at this point,'' a senior ADM executive said in a conference call with analysts.
In recent years Farmland, the nation’s largest farmer-owned cooperative, owns 13 elevators throughout the U.S. Plains, amounting to about 150 million bushels in capacity. It also leases or manages another 14 grain elevators. Farmland officials said late last year that they wanted to exit ownership of grain facilities as part of a restructuring of the hard-pressed co-op, which represent 600,000 farmers in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
ADM, according to its CEO and Board Chairman G. Allen Andreas, has a network of 750 grain elevators spread across the Western hemisphere with primary locations in Canada, the United States, and South America; a fleet of 15,000 railcars, 2,200 barges, 1,000 trucks and 100 chartered ships carry ADM products to 350 manufacturing facilities throughout the globe and then delivers them to its customers.
“Fifty international sales offices provide a flow of market information to our centralized headquarters to identify those areas of the world that will bring the maximum value for the products we produce,” he adds.
“Any time ADM can fill some holes in its network, it makes sense,'' according to Midwest Research analyst Christine McCracken, adding that acquisitions would probably be limited to grain facilities and terminal elevators. “I don't think they would buy any more than that,'' she said, adding that she expects to see more consolidation among agricultural cooperatives.
In 1985, Growmark, a regional co-op in Bloomington, Illinois sold its river elevators to ADM for ADM stock and formed a joint venture called ADM/Growmark to market grain. ADM pays a special “origination fee'' to co-op members who sell it grain.
In 1996, ADM formed a similar grain joint venture with CountryMark, an Indianapolis based regional co-op. ADM also has co-op ventures with Ag Processing (AGP) of Nebraska and Arkansas-based Riceland Rice.
Last year, Farmland, which is made up of 1,700 local cooperatives, attempted a merger with Cenex Harvest States, another leading U.S. farmer cooperative. But Cenex shareholders voted down the deal, citing Farmland's financial problems.
Farmland lost $29.25 million in fiscal 2000, the first annual
loss since 1993. The company has been selling assets and making many cutbacks.
Last week it reported a second-quarter net loss for the period ended February 28
of $1.3 million, compared with a $22.1 million net loss in the same period last
ANNOUNCES A TWO-FOR-ONE STOCK SPLIT;
PURCHASES NATION’S NINTH LARGEST BEEF PROCESSOR
Smithfield, the nation’s largest pork producer and processor, has announced that the company plans to declare a 2-for-1 stock split subsequent to shareholder approval of an increase in the company's authorized shares.
The Smithfield, Virginia company said it will record fourth quarter gains of about five cents a share on the sale of a processing plant in Canada and about three cents a share on the sale of IBP Inc. stock. It also said relatively high hog prices helped results for the hog production group, while it also expects earnings for the meat processing group to more than double from last year.
At the same time as its stock split announcement Smithfield also revealed that it had signed an agreement to buy Moyer Packing Co., its first venture into the beef sector. The Souderton, Pennsylvania-based Moyer, with annual sales of about $600 million, is the country's ninth largest beef processor.
“We are the leader in providing case-ready pork to food retailers, and the addition of Moyer will be the first step in becoming a significant case-ready beef provider to our customers as well,'' Smithfield chairman Joseph W. Luter III told the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Luter has sold about 28% of his holdings in Smithfield to pay for a new apartment in New York City. Luter sold 1,150,064 shares between March 14 and March 26 at prices ranging from $31.50 to $36.37, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The sell off leaves him with 2,918,943 shares, or 5.4% of Smithfield's 53.1 million outstanding shares. "He remains by far Smithfield's largest stockholder ," a company spokesman said.
In a story headlined “PORK PRODUCERS, FARMERS DEMONSTRATE AT VENEMAN RESIDENCE, NPPC OFFICES DECRY THE NEGATING OF THEIR DEMOCRATIC VOTE” which appeared in Issue #110 it was reported: “Chris Gabriele, a member of the NPPC staff, however, told the Des Moines Register’s George Anthan that he was at the council's headquarters during the protest. `It is absolutely not true’ that offices were vandalized and employees were physically abused, Gabriele said.”
Gabriele was a member of the protesting Iowa Citizens for
Community Improvement (ICCI) staff, not the National Pork Producers Council
(NPPC) staff. The regrettable error was THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER’s in
mis-reading the Anthan report of the demonstration.
MONSANTO ANNOUNCES NEW 17-MEMBER
AGRIBUSINESS GROWER ADVISORY COUNCIL
Monsanto, a subsidiary of the Pharmacia Corp., has formed a new agribusiness grower advisory council, which will include representatives from 17 U.S. farm and commodity organizations. The council will be chaired by former U.S. Congressman Tom Ewing, Pontiac, Illinois.
"The council will make recommendations directly to Monsanto management for consideration and implementation by Monsanto's business teams," the company said in a statement.
“I believe that Monsanto is setting an important precedent," said Ewing. "Opening a direct line between American producers and the senior management at Monsanto is a tremendous step toward a dialogue process that should benefit all parties."
Other members of the Grower Advisory Council are: Tony Anderson, American Soybean Association, Mt. Sterling, Ohio; John Becherer, United Soybean Board, St. Louis; Steve Censky, American Soybean Association, St. Louis; Jack Eberspacher, National Association of Wheat Growers, Washington, D.C.; Alan Foutz, Colorado Farm Bureau, Akron, Colorado; Terry Francl, American Farm Bureau Federation, Park Ridge, Illinois; Jim Hansen, Cotton Incorporated, Corcoran, California; Tim Hume, National Corn Growers Association, Walsh, Colorado; Hollis Isbell, American Cotton Producers, Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Andrew G. Jordan, Ph.D., Cotton Foundation, Memphis, Tennessee; Don Latham, United Soybean Board, Alexander, Iowa; Dusty Tallman, National Association of Wheat Growers, Brandon, Colorado; Rick Tolman, National Corn Growers Association, St. Louis; J. Berrye Worsham IlIinois Cotton Incorporated, Cary, North Carolina.
Additionally, Brett Begemann, vice president of U.S. branded products for Monsanto will join with Carl Casale, general manager for Monsanto's North American agriculture business, on the Council.
The council will give Monsanto input on business policy issues, Casale told Dow Jones Newswire’s Desiree J. Hanford., and give growers and Monsanto a forum for discussion on such issues as new uses of Monsanto's products. "This isn't about how much we should charge for a product," he said. "We want this to be independent, for farmers to be critical of us or our policies or actions."
The American Soybean Association board and the council member Anderson views the council as a good-faith effort on Monsanto's part.
"My desire is that we continue to improve communications efforts, and that we can effectively discuss very sensitive issues much better in a closed room setting than press releases," Anderson said. "The desire is to improve grower opportunities, environmental opportunities and manufacturing opportunities."
Ewing said he hoped both sides will view him as an independent chairman. There are issues both sides will agree on, such as setting standards for seed quality, Ewing said. Others, such as how long to wait for European approval of a product or technology, may not be as easy.
Casale told Hanford that he thought the council can help
Monsanto's business, because if growers have a say in the company's policy they
may buy more Monsanto products, which is currently among the world's largest
producers of seeds, herbicides and other agricultural products.
NEIGHBORS AND FOE ALIKE
DECRY NEW RURAL DEVELOPMENT NOMINEE
Billing himself as president and chief executive officer of Pine Grove Farm and a “pretty passionate family farmer,” who envisions 225,000 acre farms in his native Iowa, while his family farm neighbors characterize him as a poster boy for corporate agribusiness and they “don't know if he could start a tractor and get it across the field," Thomas Dorr has been nominated by George W. Bush as U.S. undersecretary for rural development.
In his hometown of Marcus, and throughout the state’s farming community, farmers say he would do nothing to preserve the small family farm and fear he would only speed up trends of fewer farmers and bigger farms, rather than safeguarding independent farmers.
"He would be very counter to rural development, unless you would consider that rural development is one farmer in every county," Verdell Johnson, a Republican and farmer who has known Dorr since he was a child, told the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Dukes Lee.
"Who are his friends? I don't think he's got any," said Marvin Pick, a retired farmer whose farm sits next to one of Dorr's farms. His adversaries offer measured praise. They describe Dorr as an intelligent, driven and successful farmer, but they don't want him helping set policies for rural America as the USDA rural development office is charged with helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America, which includes family farmers.
In 1998 Dorr told a New York Times reporter of his vision of a 225,000-acre farm operation. The average Iowa farm is closer to 350 acres. The operation would be "made up in three "pods," each with its own manager but sharing an information system back at farm headquarters," the Times wrote.
If farms were 225,000 acres each, there would be fewer than 140 farms in Iowa, commented Neil Harl, an Iowa State University agricultural economist who described Dorr's philosophies as "frightening."
Dorr said his comments have been misinterpreted. "It's a creative attempt to keep people actively involved in their farming units, while giving them the advantages of newer technologies," Dorr said and added that he was not advocating the elimination of Iowa farms. "This would allow them to be competitive in a nontraditional way," he said.
In 1995, Dorr charged that the Iowa State Extension Service "was bogged down in tradition" and no longer served a useful purpose.
"He wouldn't fit my concept of rural development," said Dennis Keeney, former director of ISU's Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. He said Dorr, while serving on the Iowa Board of Regents, barged into the Leopold Center's campus offices and complained about sustainable-agriculture programs.
Keeney told Lee that ISU officials had to ask Marvin Pomerantz, the regents president at the time, to explain to Dorr that he needed an appointment. "The regents can't just walk into an office and give you hell, but he was doing that," Keeney said. "You'd all of a sudden look up, and there he was. . . . He was badgering the staff."
Iowa’s Republican Senator Sen. Charles Grassley has confidence in Dorr --- "a progressive farmer who has worked hard to harness technology and improve agricultural operations in an increasingly competitive world market."
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, initially bristled over Dorr's nomination, saying, "I would be very disturbed if someone like that got into a position of power." But Harkin, who will play a key role in Dorr's confirmation process as ranking Democrat on the committee, according to the Register’s George Anthan, now sounds more conciliatory.
Scott Stanzel, a White House spokesman, said Dorr is well-qualified. "The undersecretary . . . should be someone who is an innovative thinker, someone who understands issues of agriculture, trade, economic development and technology," Stanzel said. "Tom Dorr has a unique understanding of all those issues."
Some of Dorr’s neighbors, however, who know him say Bush will have his hands full with a man they call self-centered and arrogant. "He's arrogant, abrasive and self-centered," said Johnson, 64, the farmer who lives near Cleghorn. "He's not above walking over the top of somebody."
Dorr farms about 3,000 acres. While his operation has grown, others in the Marcus community have had to take second or third jobs to pay their bills.
According to an August, 1999 USDA Economic Research Service forecast that while the average farm operator household income ($54,503) in 1999 was on a near par with the U.S. household income, farm income was only 8.6% of that total. From 1995 through 2000 the yearly average of farm income of the total farm operator household income has been 11.16%.
Dorr's farming record had led to political appointments before. Former Gov. Terry Branstad asked him to serve as a Iowa State Board of Regents. He also served on the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Dorr was a farm policy adviser for Bush during the last
presidential campaign and his two grown children helped on the
President-Select’s campaign. Dorr has been a generous financial backer of
Republicans in Iowa and Washington. He gave Bush $2,000 toward his campaign in
“IS IT REAL OR IS IT MEMOREX ????”
BELIEVE IT OR NOT !!!!!
Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble recently announced trial marketing in the U.S. of a new version of its classic Charmin bathroom tissue displaying dynamically generated and updated ads for other Procter & Gamble products.
The new ad-enabled Charmin will be free to consumers and distributed through supermarkets and other large retail outlets for Procter and Gamble products. "We're very excited about the changes in the Charmin line," explains VP of Bathroom Marketing Barry Oile. "This is an 'attention economy,' as they say, and we're looking for new ways to leverage our brands to generate attention-related revenue."
The new Charmin is made of an ultra-thin, organic electroluminescent film deposited chemically on both sides of a substrate of traditional cellulose-based tissue. Each perforated section of the tissue functions as an independent 256-color, 480x480 pixel display connected through a continuous, ultra-thin ribbon-wire "channel" to a system-on-a-chip etched on flexible substrate and sandwiched between the layers of the roll's cardboard "support cylinder." The central system is equipped with nanotube "ballasts" that orient the roll and enable it to determine which of the tissue screens are facing outward.
"One of the challenges we faced was how to cope with the fact
that some consumers are 'under-rollers' and some are 'over-rollers,'" explains
Trish Falt, director of the research team responsible for the new Charmin.
"The system has to know whether the most out-facing square--the square with
optimum ad placement--is the leading-square, as it is with over-rollers, or
whether it is a higher or 'shoulder' square, as it is with under-rollers.
The real trick isn't getting the display and the tissue to work together, but building a system capable of adapting to the variability of consumer behavior."
The first generation of the new Charmin will offer advertisements for other Procter & Gamble consumer products tailored to individual users on the basis of data gathered through bluetooth communications with the packaging of other Procter & Gamble products in the vicinity. Informed by a nearby bottle of Tide that it is reaching empty, for example, the Charmin roll will generate a reminder ad.
"For this test phase, we are working with ads only for our
existing product lines," explains Marketing VP Oile. "In the second phase
we'll begin selling ad-space. We've already lined-up a number of big
names, including Ford, AOL, and the Gap. In the third phase we'll be
looking to our content partners, including Yahoo and AvantGo, to help us
increase the stickiness of Charmin through the addition of customized news
Early results suggest significant public interest in the
colorful new tissue, and positive response to the price-point. "People
seem to be most impressed by the display quality," notes Falt, "but, from an
engineering perspective, the real challenge was maintaining the softness and
absorbency for which Charmin is known."
LETTER FROM CALIFORNIA:
ATTENTION GWB, SPENCER ABRAHAM, ET. AL.
America has engaged in some finger wagging lately because California doesn't have enough electricity to meet its needs.
The rest of the country (including George W. Bush's energy secretary Spencer Abraham, who wants Californians to suffer through blackouts as justification for drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) seems to be just fine with letting Californians dangle in the breeze without enough power to meet their needs. They laugh at Californians' frivolity.
Well, everybody. Here's how it really is:
California ranks 48th in the nation in power consumed per person. California grows more than half the nation's fruit, nuts and vegetables. We're keeping them. We need something to eat when the power goes out. We grow 99% or more of the nation's almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes, raisins and walnuts.
Hope you won't miss them.
California is the nation's number one dairy state. We're keeping our dairy products. We'll need plenty of fresh ones since our refrigerators can't be relied upon. Got milk?
We Californians are gonna keep all our high-tech software in state. Silicon Valley is ours, after all. Without enough electricity, which you're apparently keeping for yourselves, we just plain don't have enough software to spare.
We're keeping all our airplanes California builds a good percentage of the commercial airliners available to fly you people to where you want to go. When yours wear out, you'd better hope Boeing's Washington plant can keep you supplied. There isn't enough electricity here to allow us to export any more planes than we need ourselves.
And while we're at it, we're keeping all our high-tech aerospace stuff, too. . . .
Oh, yeah, and if you want to make a long-distance call, remember where the satellite components and tracking systems come from. Maybe you could get back in the habit of writing letters.
Want to see a blockbuster movie this weekend? Come to California. We make them here. Since we'll now have to make them with our own electricity, we're keeping them. Even if we shot them somewhere else, the labs, printing facilities, editing facilities, and sound facilities are all here.
Want some nice domestic wine? We produce over 17 million gallons per year. We'll need all of it to drown our sorrows when we think about the fact that no matter how many California products we export to make the rest of America's lives better, America can't see its way clear to help us out with a little electricity. You can no longer have any of our wine.
You all complain that we don't build enough power plants. Well, you don't grow enough food, write enough software, make enough movies, build enough airplanes and defense systems or make enough wine.
This is your last warning, America. Lighten (us) up before it's too late.
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