Nick Nichols

Like millions of other Americans, I have contributed copious amounts patriotic energy and a good deal of couch-potato time to observing every minute of Olympic coverage offered by NBC and its various progeny—including, of course, the advertisements produced by numerous sponsors.

In my opinion, Exxon-Mobil deserves a medal for its decision to use advertising time to focus the world’s attention on the malaria pandemic that kills one-million children each year, and the company’s efforts to fight the disease. Here is a corporation doing the right thing because it benefits its employees (many in Africa), customers and shareholders—not because some activist group has threatened to protest.

The only thing missing from Exxon-Mobil’s television ad is an acknowledgement that many of the children who died of malaria in the past would still be alive today were it not for the lobbying efforts of radical activist groups who succeeded in denying DDT and other pesticides to poor people who live in mosquito-infested areas of the world.

Under the guise of Corporate Social Responsibility, these same groups demand that companies embrace their socialist political agenda. Fact is, they deserve a massive dose of “shame on you” from the world community. However, unless you are Michael Phelps, do not hold your breath! The news media and the current crop of global politicians are too busy kissing the activists’ self-righteous, ignominious butts to pay attention to the damage done to real people by these world-class Nannies.

A classic example of companies being subjected to the activist group whipsaw occurred on August 19th when the self-proclaimed Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization attacked Olympic corporate sponsors such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Panasonic for disregarding human rights abuses in China.

“Being a good corporate sponsor of the Beijing Games has sadly not meant being a good corporate citizen,” twittered Sophie Richardson, HRW spokesnannie. Clearly, Ronald McDonald failed the Corporate Social Responsibility litmus test by not impaling himself pole vault-style in Tiennanmen Square. Perhaps Coca-Cola should have DQed all of its operations in China—putting thousands out of work—in protest over the treatment of Tibet. Possibly Panasonic should have stopped exporting DVD players to the Peoples Republic making it impossible for Politburo members to watch their Netflix selections. That would teach ‘em a lesson.


Nick Nichols

Nick is a retired crisis communications executive. He also developed and taught graduate-level crisis management courses at the Johns Hopkins University. Nick is the author of Rules for Corporate Warriors: How to Fight and Survive Attack Group Shakedowns. He is a Vietnam veteran.