Seminar on Handling Negative Consumer Publicity on Supplements Captures Interest at NNFA

DSEA Hosted Public Relations Pros in Discussion of Key Industry Issue

More than fifty retailers and manufacturers attended a seminar on “Handling Negative Media on Supplements: Practical Tools to Educate Your Customers” hosted by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) on June 27th during the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA) Conference & Trade Show in Las Vegas.

The panel discussion featured public relations professionals and an experienced grassroots organizer who presented varied strategies for counteracting negative media about dietary supplements. Participants in the presentation were Bobbi Schlesinger, president of Freeman Public Relations; Ana Micka, president and CEO, Citizens for Health; and Suzanne Shelton, president, The Shelton Group Public Relations. The discussion was moderated by Susan Haeger, director global industry affairs, New Hope Natural Media and chairperson of the Alliance trade PR/communications committee.

Noting the active interest and lively question-and-answer session that followed the 40-minute panel discussion, Haeger said “It was apparent that this is a topic of vital interest to the audience. Speakers and attendees alike clearly considered negative consumer publicity to be one of the most critical issues facing our industry today. One suggestion all three speakers agreed upon was the need to be active in countering this attack ---we can’t afford not to respond.”

David Seckman, NNFA executive director and DSEA board director agreed. “The DSEA’s response is to counteract the negative media by aggressively pursuing positive publicity about supplements,” said Seckman. “Our national publicity campaign has reached millions of consumers so far this year, making Americans aware of the health benefits available to them through the quality products our industry provides.”

In 2002, the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) reached over 80 million Americans with good news about supplements in stories appearing on 130 television news programs and in more than 1,500 newspapers and magazines according to Jon Benninger, who is DSEA vice president and acting chairperson of the Alliance PR committee.

“ It’s gratifying to see industry support of our efforts continue to grow, with new international donors such as KTT Corporation and Marine Bio from Japan, as well as Botanical Laboratories and Nutrition 21 in the U.S.” added Benninger.

Over 15,000 users each month access the DSEA’s Web site, , which provides consumers with accurate, up-to-date information maintained through IntraMedicine. The DSEA’s thirteen-member Scientific Advisory Board includes scientists, researchers and medical practitioners who represent the nation’s leading experts on nutritional supplements.

“One of our primary objectives in 2003 is to dispel the myth in the press that there is ‘no research’ on dietary supplements,” said Benninger. “We’ve put together a major program to counteract that perception, including a monthly newsletter to the media covering a broad spectrum of important research results in all areas of supplementation. We’ll to continue to develop interview opportunities for MDs and other experts who support supplements.”

For information about joining the DSEA, contact Deb Knowles at (941)349-9044 or e-mail her at [email protected].

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