08 May 2009 19:43 [Source: ICIS news]
By Joe Chang
NEW YORK (ICIS news)--The American Chemistry Council (ACC) will increasingly use blogs and other social media to get its messages to the public while de-emphasising its national “essential²” television and advertising campaigns, an ACC official said on Friday.
“There will be a huge change over the next year on the part of the ACC and chemical companies in the way we engage in debates and communicate our message,” said Randy Dearth, chairman of the ACC marketing committee, in an interview with ICIS news.
Social media forms include blogs, Facebook and Twitter. The ACC established a Facebook page under “American Chemistry” six to nine months ago, noted Dearth, who is also the CEO of LANXESS Corp, the North American arm of German specialty chemical firm LANXESS.
In early May, the ACC hosted a “blog summit” on plastics recycling titled “Too Valuable to Waste”.
“Over the past few years, we were naive about how our enemies and NGOs [non-governmental organisations] were getting their messages out. They were blogging, setting up web sites and dealing with social media in ways where we had no clue,” he said.
Concerns about the presence of bisphenol A (BPA) in polycarbonate (PC) had been “bubbling on the blogosphere for years,” largely unbeknownst to the industry, before coming to the surface in 2008 in the form of bans in certain applications, said Dearth.
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“It wasn’t based on sound science, and we didn’t get a chance to debate the issue. It was a done deal,” he added.
The ACC and its member companies aim to “proactively be part of the debate” when it comes to consumer awareness and activism, he said.
“We’re going to be de-emphasising the essential² ads you see on television and billboards and will focus more on advocacy and social media. You’re not going to see our message on CNN or CNBC, but Facebook and Twitter for instance,” Dearth said.
“If we can engage those people who essentially don’t like what we do and bring in sound science to the debate, and work with them and understand where they’re coming from, we can then move forward for the good of society and industry,” he said.
The ACC is considering hiring new firms to help it understand and use social media more effectively, he said.
“There are 75m people on Facebook - more than the population of
“We have had a tendency in the past to control conversations. Now we need to engage in the debate,” he added.
The ACC had been spending around $20m/year (€15m) on its essential² campaign, but the national television ads will end in June, said Dearth.
“Essential² will evolve, and you might see some targeted regional campaigns related to jobs, but you’re not going to see national ads,” he said.
($1 = €0.75)
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