Archive for the ‘Trade Associations’ Category

Beverage assoc: using tobacco industry methods?

April 25, 2009

Okay, I have an issue with these guys and their egregious blog, “Sip and Savour.”  Today’s entry is “weird science” and how consumer don’t know what to think about all these conflicting studies regarding the health impact of soft drinks.  They cast a negative light on the Harvard School of Public Health by saying, “(you have to love the science-by-press-release of today; adds even more to public cynicism).”

Um, its their job to release information about new scientific research.  How is that adding public cynicism?  And talk about bias?  The trade association for big corporate beverage companies is talking about bias?  That’s rich.

“Sip and Savor” blog entry

Restaurant association forecasts sales uptick

April 16, 2009

“The NRA forecast predicts a national growth in sales of 2.5 percent over 2008, the numbers translate to an inflation-adjusted decline of 1 percent. However, NRA points out the restaurant industry remains a cornerstone of the economy, representing 4 percent of the gross domestic product and employing 9 percent of the workforce.”


Soft drink association:tobacco industry revisited?

April 14, 2009

Back in January I posted  about the American Beverage Association and its blog, “Sip and Savor.”  I was critical of the blog then because it seemed like a pointless, anonymous blog with a chirpy, irritating tone.  But now after reading this article about the American Beverage Association CEO, Susan Neely, I think the blog is more than irritating, it bashes those pesky negative health studies  that showing soft drink to be harmful and channels populist rage about taxes to campaign against taxes affecting soft drink sales.

It turns out that Neely was with the health insurance industry trade association behind the insidious Harry and Louise ads that doomed the Clinton healthcare program.  More recently she worked in the Bush administration directing the communication strategy for Homeland Security under Tom Ridge.

I wouldn’t be surprised if “Sip and Savor” was Neely’s idea to harness the power of social media to disseminate a more positive image for the soft drink industry.  But despite its friendly tone, many of the postings bash taxes and health studies and the people behind them.

Here is sample from some recent posts:

“It is especially vexing that states and localities are seeking new ways to take people’s money in this already difficult economy. President Obama, in his speech accepting the Democratic nomination said, “In an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.”

We agree with the president and we stand with the citizens who are saying “enough is enough”. Taxes take money out of people’s hands who are trying to pay their bills and maybe buy some new clothes. These are tough times in America and forcing people to pay more in taxes will only make it tougher.”


It’s usually a tell-tale sign that when one person or group starts attacking someone, or in this case, something – there’s an ulterior motive. There’s something in it for them.

So it came as no surprise to us that a New England Journal of Medicine opinion piece advocating a soda tax is fraught with ulterior motives by the authors Kelly Brownell, of Yale University, and Thomas Frieden, the New York City Health Commissioner.

Let’s start with Kelly Brownell.

Fact 1: He makes his living by bashing food. It’s his profession. It’s the source of his income. It’s his bias. He’s published a book bashing food. He gives speeches bashing food. He operates the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, which bashes food. He’s paid to bash food and bash it hard. Now, we’re sure Kelly is a nice guy, but he has a clear financial stake and motivation in bashing food.

Portland Cement Association is national

March 19, 2009

Portland Cement Association


The Portland Cement Association represents cement companies in the United States and Canada. It conducts market development, engineering, research, education, and public affairs programs.

Associate membership: membership is unclear.  There is a membership home page and it looks like you can become a “member” by purchasing an item from their store but I couldn’t find anything on the website that discussed how that worked. “D”

Public membership directory: Yes and it a good tool for understanding the cement industry; can see what types of cements are manufactured, the states where the company is located and service area.  No individual contact information is provided. “B+”

National conference? Yes, and non-members can attend at nearly the same price as members, only a $100 difference. “A-”

Chapters?  Yes, they have regional councils.  “A-“

Industry news or reports? Yes, the website provides extensive information about the cement industry and related topics.  They also have a bookstore where more is available for purchase.  They also provide free newsletters on cement related topics.  “A”

Glossary?  Seems like they should but I didn’t find one. “D”

Provides a good sense of the industry? Yes, an excellent sense of the industry, the issues, public advocacy role. “A”

Overall:  This is a good industry site however its unclear how one becomes a member.  It appears to be a very public-facing association not one so concerned about serving a membership.

Restaurant Assoc. offers safe serving program

February 7, 2009

Given the seemingly increasing number of foodborne illnesses, this program developed by the National Restaurant Association, called “SafeServ” is a great idea.  It offers trainng and certification to any food managers from restaurants to retirement homes and private clubs on how to handle the myriad of issues related to food safety.

Remember, you can find a trade association report card on the National Restaurant Association, here.



January 31, 2009

Super Ads Will Add to Super Sunday Fun

 “This is a fun industry. It makes fun, refreshing products. It enhances fun times (like watching the Super Bowl). And it makes some downright fun – and often funny – commercials.”

Entire blog entry courtesy Sip & Savour, the “blog” of the American Beverage Association.

Distilled Spirits Council: exclusive club

January 22, 2009

Distilled Spirits Council of America

Overview: The Distilled Spirits Council is the national trade association representing America’s leading distillers and nearly 80% of all distilled spirits brands sold in this country.  This is not a typical trade association that welcomes new members and hold typical trade conferences.  Yet its website provides some good industry information.

Associate members? No. That’s not its purpose.  “C”

Public membership directory?  Yes, but its just a list of member companies and their websites.  There is no contact people listed. “C”

National conference? No, again it doesn’t appear to be that kind of trade association. “C”

Subchapters?  No “C”

Industry reports or news?  They have a news section but most of it is consumer or public advocacy related.  However, they do have several short reports with statistics and a breakdown of the industry.  They also have a slide show that provides statistics about how well the industry performed in 2007.  “B”

Glossary? No “D”

Provides a sense of the industry? Yes and no.  Yes, in that the Council shows its extreme sensitivity to a perception that its not socially responsible and much of the website is devoted to that issue.  That is useful in pitching to the industry and making sure that you use the appropriate language.  They also have extensive public advocacy information.  On the downside, the site seems more focused on consumers and educating them than providing information to members. (There is a separate member login) “C+”

Overall:  For a website focused more on reaching out to consumers to educate them about their industry than member issues, it has a few, good resources.  Particularly the slide show and the industry sheets that provide strong information about the industry as whole.  It is also useful to know that the members of this organization are the top players in the distilled alcohol industry and to have a list of the member websites.  “B-“

American Beverage Association’s new blog: why?

January 21, 2009

I just got an announcement about this new blog although there have been posts since Jan. 6th.  My first question is why?  Just because you can blog doesn’t mean you should. 

*I don’t like anonymous blogs.  ABA isn’t “blogging” they have a person(s) doing it for them.  Take this section of a post for example:

“He’s a good guy. A smart guy. A caring guy. And clearly he can convey complicated medical issues in terms the common guy or gal can comprehend. “

When an entity blogs in the style of a precocious teenager, I want to know who it is, see their photo and their Facebook profile. 

*Their Mission statement is: “Welcome to Sip & Savor – our new blog about what’s happening at the intersection between our industry’s beverages and your daily lives.”  Yet most of the blog entries have had little to do with beverages, the beverage industry or the beverage consumer but policies issues between New York Governor Patterson and Obama.  So I return to my question, “why?”

*Finally, there is the small issue of branding.  You give your blog a name like “Sip & Savor,” you send out press releases about your blog, “Sip & Savor” but no where on the blog do you even feature the name, even going to the extreme of having a category for postings called “ABA Blog.” 

I don’t get it.  I’ve issued a report card on the association which echos my feelings about the blog.  Why is a trade association whose members are retailers and manufacturers so focused (badly I would say) on consumers?  Read American Beverage Association Report Card to find out more.

Trade Association Thursday: Retail

January 8, 2009


I’ve reference the National Retail Federation’s cheery holiday shopping statistics so I thought they would be a good candidate for a report card:

Overview:  The National Retail Federation NRF represents an industry with more than 1.6 million U.S. retail companies, more than 25 million employees – about one in five American workers – and 2007 sales of $4.5 trillion.

Associate members?  Yes, annual membership is anywhere from $500-8,000 for commercial entities. “B”

Public membership directory?  No, looks like you need a membership.  “D”

National conference?  Yes, and they provide a detailed conference schedule with helpful biographical information on the speakers.  “B+”

Subchapters?   Yes, NRF also represents over 100 state, national and international retail associations but not easy to find links to those associations on the main website. “C+”

Industry reports or news?   Excellent list of reports and news. “A”

Glossary?  A limited glossary of retail labor terms: “C+”

Provides a sense of the industry?  Excellent, from the detailed information about their annual conferences, news, reports and government relations, there is lots of information that provides a strong sense of the industry.  “A”

Overall:  The website isn’t that easy to navigate, partly because there is so much information and it appears to be a collection of other website with their own navigation but the content makes it worthwhile. “B+”

Trade Association Thursday: Beverages

December 18, 2008

Drink up!  Today’s report is on the American Beverage Association:

Overview:  American Beverage Association represents more than 220,000 workers selling products worth more than $110 billion and includes hundreds of brands such as soft drinks, bottled water, juice drinks and the like.

Associate members?  Yes and also allows for international affiliate members.  No pricing on the website.  “B-”

Public membership directory?  Lists active members but doesn’t include company overviews or contacts.  However, they do make that information available for associate members.  “B-”

National conference?  Yes, every two years they have a conference called “InBev” which is attended by thousands.  Just basic information available on the website.  “C+”

Subchapters?  No sign of them on the website.  “D”

Industry reports or news?  They don’t list their publications but do list other industry publications.  Very little industry news.  They focus on environmental and nutritional issues.  They also provide a few flash pages about the various types of drinks but its hard to use and aimed more at consumers than industry folks.  “D”

Glossary?  No.  “F”

Provides a sense of the industry?  Not very good.  The association’s public website appears aimed at consumers with whatever real content they have for members shield behind a firewall.  “D”

Overall:  Not very useful for research purposes beyond knowing categories of beverages, the names of the industry members and more detailed information about suppliers.  “C-“