When I was at BlogHer last weekend, I was pleased to find a Liberty Mutual booth. The company runs my most favorite television commercials today, the ones that show people helping each other along a theme of personal responsibility. Powerful humanity without the schmaltz. It's remarkable how thought provoking the content is within the short timeframe. The commercials are part of a larger campaign called The Responsibility Project.
The company was at BlogHer as a sponsor and to do some more outreach on its campaign. Liberty's PR firm, Ketchum, had folks manning the booth. I asked the Ketchum people to give me some background on the Responsibility Project, and here's what they wrote:
"Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility
Project was a sponsor of this year’s 2009 BlogHer conference. The Project was
created in 2008 and uses entertainment content to create a forum for people to
discuss what responsibility means to them. The Responsibility Project has
covered a number of topics including parenting, education and the environment,
among others. The Project never takes a stand on what we feel is
right or wrong – we are simply creating a forum for discussion. Knowing that
BlogHer ’09 would be a strong gathering, Liberty Mutual decided to sponsor the
event and present an opportunity for influential women to voice their opinions
and join the discussion on what it means to 'do the right thing.'"
Rather than just hand out toys, Liberty conducted a survey — and not just on responsibility in general but on the responsibility of bloggers.
With the FTC looking into the question of bloggers accepting products for review and whether there's some underhanded quid pro quo happening, the Liberty Mutual survey featured a quick but interesting set of questions about things like the proposed FTC revisions to the Guidelines for Endorsements and Testimonials, sponsored blog posts and appropriate blog content. I asked the PR reps to share the results. Here they are.
- 98 percent believe it's acceptable to receive a free product
- A majority of participants cited transparency, disclosure and honesty as key caveats to receiving free products and to writing sponsored posts
- 84 percent say that honesty is a key trait of a responsible blogger, followed by transparency — 66 percent, and reliable sources — 56 percent.
Liberty also conducted video interviews of bloggers, and Ketchum shared the link. Click here.
I'm not sure yet what I think of these results, except to say that the more we can discern between bloggers and journalists, the better. We are just at the beginning of this process, however, so patience is key.
By the way: BlogHer itself was a fun, interesting experience. It is terrific to see so many people dedicated to writing and to exercising their franchise for free speech as well as building rock-solid businesses. It was a good weekend for seeing the right kind of branding, from participants, to sponsors, to BlogHer itself.