Words Can Heal looks to cure US of its gossip addiction

WASHINGTON: Words Can Heal, a new nonprofit group, kicked off its

national campaign last week to reduce "verbal violence" and gossip in


The campaign, which has elicited supported from the likes of Senators

John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), and Tom Daschle (D-SD), as

well as a slew of entertainers, consists of a small ad buy and a larger

earned-media blitz. The latter is being handled by Washington, DC agency

Laszlo and Associates.

The group started coming together in March of this year after Cleveland

Rabbi Chaim Feld took out a small ad promoting the message behind his

lecture series on the subject of reducing verbal violence. Following its

success, he and fellow Rabbi Irwin Katsof began raising money and

recruiting staff and celebrity spokespeople. With almost $1

million raised from concerned parents and community leaders, Katsof and

Irwin plan to spend several years spreading their message through the


Early hits have included AP and Reuters wire articles, as well as

mentions in over 100 national newspapers, including the LA Times and

Chicago Tribune.

The group's principals also spent the week making appearances on the CBS

Early Show and ABC's World News Tonight.

Jennifer Laszlo, president of Laszlo Associates, said the campaign faces

a tough challenge ("Gossip isn't going away tomorrow," she said), but

added that her firm had done polling that showed wide support.

Other Laszlo clients include The Democratic National Committee and the

National Education Association.

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