Another Alliance commercial bias case

Here's another avoiding the appearance of commercial bias case, from the session on Thursday:

    Case 2: Design and role of commercial supporter

    Burton Transplant is newly appointed executive director of the Foundation for Healthy Hearts. When interviewing for the position, he promised the board of directors a 50 percent increase in revenue generated from the next annual conference. The annual conference is scheduled in 10 months so there is ample time to achieve this goal. Mr. Transplant is excited about his new position, and in particular is thrilled by the aspect of receiving a $10,000 bonus if the goal is met. In keeping with the established organizational culture, he writes letters to the list of commercial interests asking them to pledge funds to the Red, White, or Blue levels of support. Each support level has defined benefits for participant exposure, including corporate logos on coffee mugs, conference bags, and bookmarks.

When asked via ARS how high the potential is for the perception of commercial bias in this scenario, the biggest response (40 percent) was that there was a high chance, though about a quarter each said there was a low or moderate chance. When asked which of the Standards for Commercial Support would be most difficult to comply with in this situation, 39 percent said it was #4 (appropriate management of associated commercial promotion); the next highest percentage went for #1, independence.

Is it appropriate to display corporate (not product) logos on this kind of stuff? The response was mixed, but most said while technically OK since a corporate logo is not considered advertising, it's not a good idea. One attendee added that in Canada, you can't even give a pen with a logo on it. In the U.S., the presenters said, there's no rule saying that you can or can't give a token gift like a pen; it's up to the provider to decide if they're comfortable with it, and to talk with the commercial supporter about expectations ahead of time.

Update: Apologies to all who come here from the MM Extra e-newsletter! The link to the first case is here.

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