Record #1093

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Reel 10
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Meetings - MPPDA Advertising Committee
Additional text in Transcription. EDITORIAL COMMENT: This memo implies that the MPPDA has dealt with most of this situation by itself, and certainly without consulting the publicity machines of the companies -- which, I suppose, is what we would expect. There is, obviously, an implied criticism here, but it's one from a fairly ineffectual position, unless they're maintaining that the crisis could have been avoided had some other course of action been taken -- which is not specified here.

Report arising from a meeting between MPPDA Executives and advertising and publicity managers on how MPPDA should deal with present boycott and censorship emergency and protecting the industry against such threats in the future. They urge a cooperative, unified public relations push involving the MPPDA and all member companies to meet the "present boycott and censorship emergency." Closer relationship between publicity heads and MPPDA required. Recommend a committee comprising these heads and a representative of the Hays Office. Call to enlist the support of allied institutions and industries -- Eastman Kodak, RCA, Chase National etc. There is a stated fear here that censorship will force writers and directors to avoid dangerous subject matter thereby weakening the product released by the industry. Only A-grade films should be released for a solid three months. More effective pressure should be put on banks, chambers of commerce, press etc. Hays has tried to avoid controversy, but a more effective campaign is needed. They want a new man of high calibre to represent them.


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Report from a meeting of the heads of publicity and advertising, July 1934, "making recommendations as to the best methods of meeting the present boycott and censorship emergency and of protecting the industry against such threats in the future." "We concur in the policy thus far pursued by the Hays organization of refraining from issuing statements. However, we believe the time has come for positive action to offset the agitation against motion pictures. We think that a number of means of legitimately influencing public opinion in favor of the industry are available and that they should be systematically employed as outlined below. Much valuable time seems to have been lost. The public relations activities of the Hays organization and those conducted by the various associated companies have been, and are, unconnected insofar as positive action in the interest of the industry is concerned. "In our judgment the situation with which we are now faced demands that closer relations be established at once between the Hays office and the publicity and advertising department heads. Meetings should be held at least once a week at which plans would be outlined and progress reported. These meetings would be, of course, strictly confidential." They recommend enlisting "the active support of such great interests allied with the motion picture industry" as the Eastman Kodak Company, AT&T, ERPI, RCA, Dupont, the Chase National Bank, etc. "... The business community of every city and town realizes, or can be brought to realize, the importance of our industry and the connection between its prosperity and that of other enterprises. This was recently demonstrated in Philadelphia, where the threatened closing of theatres as a result of the ecclesiastical boycott brought forth public protest from many leaders of commerce and of general opinion. "This pressure of business opinion can be most effectively created by responsible 'key men' in different communities who should be made to see the undesirable possibilities of the current agitation. Contact with such leaders of communities can be effected by branch managers, circuit managers, prominent exhibitors, representatives of the Hays office and others connected with our industry who should be able to stimulate the desired reactions. "... The press of the country can be made to realize that censorship is possible for newspapers and magazines as well as for motion pictures, and that the success of the campaign against our industry is very likely, sooner or later, to affect theirs also." All of this calls for closer cooperation with the MPPDA: "The present publicity department of the Hays office has, we feel, carried out well its program of avoiding controversy; and, for our part, we also feel that it has been instrumental in securing much favorable publicity. Because of the magnitude of the positive program herein advocated, we urge the Board's consideration of the selection of a man, or men, of high caliber and wide acquaintance in influential circles to give undivided attention to this campaign of enlightenment on behalf of the industry. "... The motion picture industry has many more potential friends than enemies. At present there is a widespread tendency to regard it from a cynical viewpoint; the sincerity of its attitude toward the public is questioned on all sides. It is not our intention to enter into the question whether this position could have been avoided had different measures been taken in the past to 'sell' the serious interests of the industry to the American people. But we believe it is essential that, for the future, the executives in charge of advertising and publicity for the producing companies -- men who are trained in public relations and who have given their working lives to the cultivation of this field -- should be admitted to the counsels of the Hays organization and enabled to take part in shaping the general publicity policies on which so much depends."

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