John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Google: Until Next Week, the Balcony Is Closed

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Google’s informal motto is “Don’t be evil,” but a more apt one might be “don’t be stupid”–at least for the company’s advertising department. In a blog posting this weekend, Lauren Turner, an account planner in Google Health, suggested the health-care industry consider using Google’s ad platform to do battle with “Sicko,” Michael Moore’s scathing indicitment of the U.S. health-care system. “Moore attacks health insurers, health providers and pharmaceutical companies by connecting them to isolated and emotional stories of the system at its worst,” Turner wrote in a post titled “Does negative press make you Sicko?” “Moore’s film portrays the industry as money and marketing driven, and fails to show health care’s interest in patient well-being and care.”

“Moore’s film portrays the industry as money and marketing driven, and fails to show health care’s interest in patient well-being and care.” Wow. Since when does Google’s Health Advertising Blog do movie reviews? And how do the folks operating it even have time for such things when they’re so busy providing strategic advertising advice to the health-care industry? “We can place text ads, video ads and rich-media ads in paid search results or in relevant Web sites within our ever-expanding content network,” Turner continued. “Whatever the problem, Google can act as a platform for educating the public and promoting your message.”

Ah. So not only is Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, it’s to act as an ad agency for Big Pharma and health care. To be fair, Turner later penned a follow-up post noting that the opinion she expressed about “Sicko” was her own and not Google’s–even though it was prominently posted to one of the company’s corporate blogs. “Advertising is an effective medium for handling challenges that a company or industry might have,” Turner explained. “You could even argue that it’s especially appropriate for a public-policy issue like health care. Whether the health-care industry wants to rebut charges in Mr. Moore’s movie, or whether Mr. Moore wants to challenge the health-care industry, advertising is a very democratic and effective way to participate in a public dialogue. That is Google’s opinion, and it’s unrelated to whether we support, oppose or (more likely) don’t have an official position on an issue.”


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