Union Battles Moving Online?

CocaColaAlthough this does not affect small businesses in a direct manner, I wanted to share with all my readers a new public relations strategy used by corporations in their fight with unions. I think we will start to see an all out war online of unions and corporations pleading their case for public sympathy in their case. From a corporate standpoint this is a good strategy as it gives the opportunity to present the facts without the emotional involvement that many unions try to bring to the negiotation table. That being said, this converse is also the same for the unions and in fact could gain some support amoung the non-unionized workforce.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out, but here is a summary of this Coco-Cola’s fight:

Coca-Cola Counters Critics With Search Ads – read the full article at MediaPost.

FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS, Coca-Cola’s public relations department has battled charges that the company is responsible for improper anti-union tactics in bottling plants in Colombia. Now, the company has started using another tool in its public relations arsenal: search engine marketing.

Last week, a U.S. federal court dismissed a claim filed by Sinaltrainal, a Colombian labor union, stating that the accusations were too vague. Since 2001, some union activists have charged in court that Coca-Cola conspired to intimidate–and in some cases, assassinate–union leaders in Colombia. Coca-Cola always denied the charges, but the anti-Coke campaign gained traction at U.S. colleges. Around a dozen colleges–including New York University–banned the sale and marketing of the beverage company’s products.

To get the word out about its court victory, Coca-Cola purchased keyword ads on terms related to the controversy, including “Killer Coke”–a phrase contained in the url of the protesters’ Web site, KillerCoke.org. The ad copy reads: “Coke Lawsuit Dismissed: Suit against Coca-Cola bottlers in Colombia dismissed. Read more,” and users who click on the link are taken to a Coke Web site with more information. The ad also appears on political sites that have discussed the issue, including some sites that virulently attacked the company, such as DemocraticUnderground.com.

Read the rest of this article by Shankar Gupta with MediaPost.