National Media, Inc. released an analysis of political and issue advertisements that ran in the top 100 markets in the United States this year.
"We have already identified $6.3 million in political advertisements that spotlight the business scandals dominating today's headlines," said Alex Castellanos of National Media, a public affairs and issue advocacy firm in Alexandria, VA.
"I'm afraid this is just the beginning," said Castellanos. "We are concerned that up to $50 million will be spent in negative political advertising that not only feature the corporate responsibility scandals but also have the effect of assaulting American business as a whole. The advertising seems to leave the impression not just that Global Crossing is the problem but that American Business is the problem."
"Corporations need to continue to build confidence with Americans by demonstrating their existing and newly strengthened policies on key issues such as accountability, independence, auditing practices, stock options, and other areas of concern," said Jim Courtovich, who heads the public affairs practice at National Media. "This is not the time for America's business leaders to sit back and wait for the storm to blow over. Companies who fail to take an active approach and distinguish themselves and their good practices, risk being tarred by the same advertising brush."
"This data indicates that we are seeing the first swell of a massive wave of negative ads that could further damage America's business community and erode corporate trust," said Courtovich. "The bottom line is that members of the business community have to define themselves now -- before others do."
National Media Inc. is an independent full service public affairs and issues advocacy firm. The data was collected by CMAG (Campaign Media Analysis Group, www.poiliticsontv.com) for analysis by its clients. The survey was conducted for 2002. The majority of ads in question began airing in July, 2002.