COCA-COLA'S BELGIAN CRISIS DOMINATES NEWS

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COLA WOES: Marketing controversies, led by Coca-Cola Co.'s series of marketing and product debacles in Europe, dominated media attention during the 30-day period leading up to this column. But innovative movie marketing efforts none-the-less proved shagadelic for the media elite.

The SPINdex sample of influential print and electronic media outlets devoted 416 stories to coverage of Coca-Cola's massive product recall after Belgian schoolchildren became ill after drinking Coke. Daily newspaper and wire-service stories were particularly aggressive in covering Coke's blunders, contributing largely to the 297,248 words of copy devoted to the topic.

An equally controversial topic, a Supreme Court ruling making it legal for casinos to advertise as gambling destinations, ranked second.

And a pair of summer movie-marketing efforts-for "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" and "Wild Wild West"-ranked third and fourth. But in a true testament to media spin, a self-appointed and one-man advocacy group-Connecticut prep school headmaster Richardson Schell-scored mightily with an advertising boycott targeted at Fox's "The Family Guy."

The story originally broke in Advertising Age, then generated numerous follow-up stories when it was learned that Mr. Schell's ProudSponsors USA may have had personal motives. As it turned out, "Family Guy" creator/executive producer Seth MacFarlane had been a student at Mr. Schell's school and had been asked by him

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