Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Josiah Spaulding and CPAC Board Meet The Sharp Cereal Professor

"Nope, nothing wrong here."
Perhaps the most nihilistic of Stephen King's novels, and one that is often overlooked, is Cujo. I remember reading the book in my adolescence and finding it ripping, relentless and thoroughly depressing.

In his memoir/advice book On Writing, King reveals that he wrote Cujo in a periodof alcohol and drug abuse, and admits that he can't remember writing it.

Of course, the idea of a large Saint Bernard going rabid and attacking people was an especially tangible nightmare for me. We had two of these huge dogs in our neighborhood, Lance and Tina. Lance was always dirty, roaming the streets and wearing large bare patches of skin where he had been hit by cars.

But, more indelible than even the image of Cujo, the image of the Sharp Cereal Professor lingers as my introduction to the idea of corporate image and marketing.

In a subplot of the novel, kids are crapping and vomiting the dye from the "Red Rasberry Zinger" cereal they are eating. (Read Frankberry Cereal.) The Sharp Company is in a major crisis, and as kids continue to get sick, the company runs commercials with a genial character called The Sharp Cereal Professor who tells the kids: "I know they are good for you and your parents know it too." The professor then eats a scoop of the cereal, smiles and adds, "Nope, nothing wrong here."

As the Globe reports today, the Citi Performign Arts Center has sent a letter out to their donors and the media, (I received one by e-mail from the PR Firm Weber Shandwick) You can read the complete text of the letter at Geoff Edgers Exhibitionist blog here.

I have read the letter and, basically, all the CPAC Board would like for you to know is this:

"Nope, nothing wrong here!"

Well, driving into work this morning, I did hear a report on WBUR that the Massachusetts Cultural Council, (of which Josiah Spaulding used to be the Chair,) has found at least something wrong here as they are making a 60K payout to the CPAC conditional. The report didn't really elaborate on the conditions, and I haven't been able to find a supporting print story and there is nothing on the MCC website.

The battle may be over though, Weber Shandwick, the PR firm that sent the letter on behalf of the Citi Board is a worldwide powerhouse in Public Relations and so CPAC will be getting the very best. Got to be willing to spend money to make money right?

Here are previous posts and links regarding this story:

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