Children’s Hospital Oakland just sent out a “MEDIA ALERT AND PHOTO OPPORTUNITY” extolling the goodness of Emeryville’s Pixar, now part of Disney. And what praiseworthy thing, pray tell, has Pixar done now? “The popular animated film company has generously donated beautiful Finding Nemo murals to dress up two waiting rooms” in the hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging department, it announces.
The spin doesn’t stop there. “The facelift will bring smiles to the children in our hospital. It will also create a soothing environment in the department and help lower children’s fears and anxieties as they wait to get an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan, which can be a little scary.” Okay, forgive us for being cynical bastards, but there’s something this press release neglected to note: blatant self-interest.
Now what would it be worth for a company that deals in kids’ movies, DVDs, and every sort of kiddie merchandise spinoff under the sun, to advertise directly to a captive audience of, in this case, particularly vulnerable children and their families, for an indefinite period? Well, let’s just say it’d be worth a hell of a lot more than the cost of putting up a few Nemo murals. Now if Pixar were to kick in a new MRI unit, that’d be another story. As it were, the press release might have been written thus: “The facelift will bring smiles to the Disney accountants. It will also create a soothing marketing environment in the department and help lower shareholder fears and anxieties as they wait for a positive return on their investment, which can be a little scary.”
By the way, does any company out there care to contribute to the mental health of a group of dedicated community journalists by redecorating the walls at the Express with your firm’s trademarks? The PR could be awesome. But it’s gonna cost ya.