“Advertorials” are content that is written by some external organisation and inserted into a media publication in such a way that it looks like content, not an obvious ad. The practice is on the rise in news papers, magazines, and TV. A perfectly natural and profitable practice says big business! No – I’m with those that are worried. This is a corruption of the media’s role – to educate and inform. (If the claims here are true then everyone should be worried!)
No surprises to find that The Herald is sliding in to these muddy waters. A friend yesterday pointed out the “Brand Insight” section on the front page of the (online) Herald (how long has this been going on?):
Brand Insight is advertorial content. The top feature at time of writing is “Sky City: Convention Centre vital for NZ” which is, of course, hard sell for the convention centre rort. There is a banner at the top of the page that includes “Paid content in conjunction with SkyCity” – but who is going to see it and realise the implications?
To add insult to injury, the “What is this” popup text explaining “Brand Insight” in the banner, and on the front page, is simply risable:
That’s right punters, Brand Insight isn’t paid content written to push someone’s agenda, rather it “connects readers directly to the leadership thinking of many prominent companies and organisations”. Well please – could this be any more dishonest and misleading?
The Herald is trying to make a profit, and times are hard, no surprises if they are getting a bit desperate. But cash for content (Cameron Slater tactics) is not the way to. We need our media to be better than that.