BadAds Calls to the Carpet Misleading Ad Practices in Magazines
The ever watchful (have I used that phrase before) BadAds.org writes about an advertising practice in magazines whereby the ads are disguised as editorial. We have all the fairly innocuous "Adververtorial" which is usually labeled as such but BadAds digs further into the Fitness segment of the magazine industry. BadAds explains how some magazines run multipage articles that are, in reality, ads:
Scott Puckett offers another example of hidden ownership in his fantastic article for Clamor Magazine titled "How Much Did You Pay for Your Identity?". As Puckett explains, in addition to covering cool, socially conscious topics such as Zapatistas, AIDS in Africa, and environmental racism, The Fader magazine has featured bands such as The Strokes, Outkast, Finley Quaye, and Roni Size � musical groups who all happen to be represented by Cornerstone Promotion, publisher of The Fader.
Says Puckett, "It's really quite a brilliant strategy. Cornerstone bills its clients for publicity. It sells ad space in what amounts to a catalog for its clients and then sells the product to consumers who think they're buying a magazine. Unless you poke around Cornerstone's site and start reading The Fader's masthead, it's unlikely that you'll ever learn otherwise. And it's really quite simple: people who read The Fader are reading content that can't even pretend to be objective. Frankly, The Fader's readers would find more objectivity in a press release. At least you know where a press release comes from."
Advertising and PR have their place but at times, they do cross the line.