Bids for Understanding New Dimensions – General Electric

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The National Association of Manufacturers has had clergy-industry projects on its public relations roster year after year. One of them was the compilation of a booklet on industrial-chaplaincy practices in the U.S.

General Electric is a big business. The company has done a lot of important defense work. And it often has been criticized on the premise that big business squeezes out small business. To combat this, GE ran advertisements with headlines like "Who Gets the Dollars You Pay for Defense Contracts?" The ads showed that some 17,000 small businesses worked with GE subcontracts. Some 60 per cent of each contract dollar went to small subcontractors.

The Champion Paper and Fiber Company undertook one of the most interesting PR projects of the decade on the problem of communicating and understanding. It was a motion picture Production 5118. The theme was that everyone should attempt to make himself understood by those with whom he associated. The story struck beneath the surface of relationships between families and employee groups. Its conclusion was that mutual understanding was the difference between cooperation and forced obedience.

A Supreme Court decision threatened to give to Federal Government the states' power of taxing, policing, and conservation of natural gas. A Natural Gas and Oil Resources Committee, formed to combat just such situations, got up pamphlets seeking restoration of regulation under the Natural Gas Act of 1938-1954.

The Partnership of Industry and Education

Most universities conduct no all-out fund campaigns among the general public. Nonetheless they need research subsidy. They depend on industry's grants. California decided to show industry that research grants were well invested. They published a "results" booklet. In it were detailed all research projects and who had paid for them.

Swift & Company gave fellowships to 12 economics professors for a two-week course comprised of group discussions with officers and department heads. The "students" were shown the intricacies of livestock buying, plant operations, and selling.

The banks in Culver, Argos, and Lapaz, Indiana, took 200 high-school students to Chicago. The field trip was to study banking. The young people went through the eye-opening Continental Illinois National Bank, and the Board of Trade.

The National Association of Manufacturers thought it would be in order to tell educators exactly how it felt about education. They published a forthright pamphlet "This We Believe About Education." Topics included (a) the purpose of education, (b) support of education, (c) responsibilities of educators, and (d) responsibilities of industry to education.

Procter & Gamble reprinted a University of Chicago Round Table "How Can Medical Education Be Better Financed?" The round-table discussion favored more private endowment to escape more federal aid.

Misunderstood Professional Practices

Parke, Davis & Co., drug house, took up the cudgels to improve the doctor-patient relationship. In national consumer advertisements people were told not to be bashful about asking the doctor how much his service was going to cost. One headline read "Is There One Question You're Too Shy to Ask Your Doctor?"

Boric acid had a record of serious results on more than one occasion when applied to babies with broken skin from diaper rash. The same to a lesser degree with borated baby powders, some of which were not labeled as to per cent of boric acid content. Home-maker's Products Corp., manufacturer of Diaparene Chloride, a nonborated product, lashed out in ads which decried improper labeling and emphasized absolute safety of its own product.

The Ohio State Bar Association undertook a series of television shows on film. The purpose was to correct widespread misconceptions that give people cause for worry. The series Living under the Law contained 15 scenes, each a few minutes' duration. Each scene illustrated a legal problem commonly encountered by laymen, from the importance of having a will to workmen's compensation. Possible solutions were discussed.

As one of its contributions to the medical profession, Procter & Gamble published a text. Its subject was medical uses of soap.

International and Interracial Good Will

Trailmobile, Inc., loaned the Crusade For Freedom a trailer. It was used to exhibit a homemade armored car. The car had been built by a Czech who escaped with seven others from behind the Iron Curtain.

Winston Churchill became a sort of free-world citizen during World War II. To encourage good feeling between Americans, Canadians, and British, Allis-Chalmers transcribed Churchill's speeches. On his 80th birthday excerpts were aired by Allis-Chalmers for an hour over NBC, U.S., and CBC, Canada.

The United States Chamber of Commerce was aware of the many misconceptions in this country concerning our Canadian neighbors. They created a booklet, "Are Canadians Reallv?" It was packed with eyebrow-raising facts. For example, it pointed out that among 4,500 Canadian Mounties, there are no more than 200 horses.

The Kalif Temple of Masons in Sheridan, Wyoming, regularly sponsored Ail-American Indian Days. In the program were ceremonies, dances, sports, and a contest to find and crown Miss Indian of America. Proceeds of the event went to a Shriners Hospital for crippled children.

Candor in Welfare Activities

Details of American Red Cross financial expenditures were included in the organization's Annual Report, widely distributed to congressmen, government officials, newspapers, libraries, business, professional, and civic organizations. But in spite of this wide distribution, many people criticized the Red Cross for not reporting its expenditures. As an added step, the national organization prepared a financial advertisement outlining national and chapter expenditures. Chapters placed the ad locally in sponsored newspaper space.

The American Red Cross was plagued by a wave of unfounded complaints, rumors, and misunderstandings about its World War II services to members of the Armed Forces and their families. Steps were taken through every available means of communication to make the true facts known to everyone. One of the most successful devices was a small questions-and-answers pamphlet entitled, "Since You Asked Me." Millions of copies were used by Red Cross chapters throughout the country. Result: rumors, criticism, and misunderstandings were lessened.

The Red Cross Chapter in New Haven, Conn., was plagued with rumors and false statements that Red Cross workers were charging for food and relief supplies to victims of the Eastern States Floods. A group of leading citizens took the matter into their own hands. They placed an advertisement in the New Haven papers offering a $500 reward for proof of such charges. Five weeks later, with still no takers, the reward money was returned to its donors. Newspapers editorially proclaimed that the Red Cross had been completely exonerated. Red Cross disaster help is invariably a gift of the American people. No charges are ever made for anything.
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