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SPINDEX;POLITICAL ISSUES HOG COVERAGE; WHEATIES TAKES SILVER MEDAL

Published on .

News about free media coverage generated the greatest amount of free media coverage in the two-week period leading up to this week's column.

The Clinton/Gore campaign's decision to accept an offer for free prime-time network TV time captured the attention of news outlets and generated 2.5 minutes of free national TV time from four network newscasts covering the story.

With seven major daily newspaper articles and three wire service feeds, the free presidential TV time story inspired 8,742 words of copy and a SPINdex of 240.

That was just enough to squeeze past the week's next biggest marketing story-Wheaties' decision to feature a bevy of U.S. Olympic gold medalists on its cereal boxes.

News about the first Wheaties boxes to feature such a multitude of athletes captured six minutes of network TV news time, seven daily newspaper articles and 5,507 words of copy for a SPINdex of 236.

But political maneuvers attracted the most media coverage of the marketing industry in this week's results.

The Clinton Administration's hosting of a sound-bitish summit of TV, programming and advertising executives on the topic of children's TV programming drew two minutes of network news time, 14 daily paper stories and 10,406 words of copy for SPINdex of 216.

In keeping with the theme of presidential marketing, SPINdex also looked at one of the major issues leading into this week's Republican National Convention: Bob Dole's selection of a running mate. Mr. Dole is on record as considering the selection the most important decision of his campaign.

At presstime last week, Mr. Dole was expected to have announced his decision of the past weekend and if he picked Michigan Governor John Engler, then he picked SPINdex's favorite.

Of the seven figures considered early last week by the Dole campaign, Mr. Engler generated the most spin during the one-month period leading up this column. Coverage of Mr. Engler's prospects generated one minute of national airtime on two network newscasts and more than 20,000 words of copy in daily newspapers, newsweekly magazines and wire stories contributing to a SPINdex of 226.

Though campaign officials acknowledged the field of vice presidential contenders could be expanded before a decision was made, it was likely the choice would come from the list of seven, one of whom-Florida Senator Connie Mack-generated no coverage in the SPINdex sample of influential media outlets.

Joe Mandese is senior VP of Myers Reports. Mark Weiner is VP of Medialink PR Research.

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