Cuba

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Here's an AP headline and lede last week: "Americans Living Longer as Most Death Rates Fall"—Americans are living longer than ever before, according to a new government report filled mostly with good news. U.S. life expectancy inched up again and death rates fell.

Cuba has proposed that a U.S. government delegation visit Havana next month for a second round of talks since June on resuming direct postal services, interrupted for the past 50 years, knowledgeable officials said Wednesday. Mail service between the United States and Cuba was cancelled in 1963 as Washington tightened economic sanctions on Havana. Letters and packages now go through third countries such as Mexico, Canada or Panama. Cuba proposed the talks be held Sept. 16 in Havana, according to the officials, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the issue.

William Randolph Hearst, who had no fear of stretching the truth to its breaking point, would shake his head in amazement if he could see what happens on social media. Sensationalizing newspaper stories to increase circulation has been replaced with controversy-stoking fires designed to increase page views and clicks. Truth in commentary is optional. "Yellow journalism," as it was once called, affects more than website traffic and print circulation. It can be used to alter brand image by manipulating social platforms, search engines and traditional news outlets. If the company doesn't respond or responds poorly, the results can be long lasting and lethal.

We signed up for a six-day cruise from New York to Nassau, Bahamas, over Labor Day. Normally we are not cruise people unless the itinerary is fascinating. But a good offer came from Norwegian Cruise Line, and my wife, Peggy, took it. We knew it would be hurricane season, but we figured if a storm hit, the ship would go somewhere else. We could take a train to New York and avoid the hassle of flying (for a change).

On Aug. 13 and 14 we received a phone call and e-mail announcing a revision in the itinerary:

Due to unscheduled maintenance on the ship's propulsion system, Norwegian Spirit will cancel the call to Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas and instead overnight in Nassau, Bahamas. Please be assured that our technical issue in no way impacts the safe operation of the vessel.

We were given the option of canceling the cruise with no penalty. Those who opted to remain would receive a $50-per-cabin credit for any expenditure on shipboard excluding service charges and casino. OK.

On Aug. 29, two days before we sailed, word came via phone and e-mail that Tropical Storm Hanna was headed for the Bahamas and we would be detoured to Bermuda. OK.

What does this have to do with PR, pricing and marketing?

Plenty.

When self-righteous people—in government and business—make self-righteous statements that have a total disregard for the truth, my teeth itch. These last two weeks have been a field day for folks who have what Hemingway called a “built-in, shockproof s**t detector.” An example is President Bush’s lecture and scold to the World Economic Forum on the Middle East at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, four days ago. He said: Too often in the Middle East, politics has consisted of one leader in power and the opposition in jail. America is deeply concerned about the plight of political prisoners in this region, as well as democratic activists

Do you have a corporate strategy for data integrity? Dec. 13, 2005: Vol. 1, Issue No. 55 IN THE NEWS FBI's customer-data use backed The Justice Dept. defended the tactic, used in spy and terror cases, which compels firms to comply. WASHINGTON - The Justice Department issued a broad defense yesterday of an investigative tool the FBI uses to compel businesses to turn over customer information without a court order or grand jury subpoena. --Mark Sherman, Associated Press, Nov. 30, 2005 Handing over confidential customer data to the FBI is the equivalent of giving the keys of a B-1B Stealth Bomber

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