While the U.S. government over the years has run TV/radio public service announcements (PSAs) --- at no cost to taxpayers --- to inform or educate the public about an issue, now, in promoting ObamaCare, the public relations price tag to taxpayers will be $20 million, notes Grumpy Editor.
Surprisingly, few newspapers this week mentioned the costly promotion.
The Health and Human Services Department handed the task to global public relations firm Porter Novelli.
Based in New York, the PR agency, part of the Omnicom Group international marketing communications firm, maintains 90 offices (13 in the U.S.) in 60 countries.
What’s interesting about the assignment is that Porter Novelli co-founder (in 1972 with Jack Porter) is William Novelli, who retired in April, 2009 after eight years as AARP chief executive officer.
His departure came at a time when AARP, representing 40 million people 50 and older, was running into unexpected PR problems with some members stemming from its stance backing what was to be labeled ObamaCare.
“Health care reform is AARP’s top priority,” declared incoming AARP CEO A. Barry Rand in the July, 2009, AARP Bulletin. “We simply can’t fix the economy without restructuring the delivery of health care, expanding access and cutting costs."
The lucrative ObamaCare account was being kept secret on the Porter Novelli website. As of yesterday, no mention was made.
However, the opening page noted in bold letters that Porter Novelli is “Named Top PR Agency in Spain.”
The site described what Porter Novelli is all about:
“Combining the power of immersion with the rigor of data, we create a deeper human insight that transforms the opinions, beliefs and behaviors of those who matter most to our clients.”
That’s what probably moved HHS to sign the firm.