Is it Time for Fracking to go on the Offensive?
March 7, 2011 ‐ 0 comments
Have you heard or read much about "fracking" recently? Even if you haven't, does it sound like something you'd want happening in or around your community? And does it cause nosebleeds? Earthquakes? Combustible tap water? Fracking, or frac'ing, is the shorthand name for hydraulic fracturing – basically injecting water, chemicals and sand at high pressure into rock in order to speed the extraction of natural gas. Whether fracking's critics or its supporters are right lies beyond our humble ken, but we do feel we have sufficient common sense to advise practitioners of the technique to consider coming together, breaking some bread and thinking about calling it something different. You don't have to be Frank Luntz to realize that the word "fracking" carries some potential baggage. It's a great term for roughnecks to use while they busily pump fluids into a wellbore. It's less great in the court of public opinion. Fracking isn't a product or service sold by a single organization, but industry groups like STRONGER who have a stake in the public's perception of the practice can learn a lesson from Monsanto, who marketed Nutrasweet rather than Aspartame; from Abbott Labs and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, who launched Uprima rather than Apomorphine Hydrocholoride; from the person channeling Frank Luntz who came up with the term Clean Coal (this brilliant sendup notwithstanding). Please don't construe this to mean that we advocate anything other than giving gentle hugs to newborn free-range lambs as we feed them organic wheat grass. It's just that as communicators and wordsmiths we can't help ourselves, even when it comes to organizations who are serious about fracking – shall we call them serious frackers?
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