Tuesday, May 24, 2011

If "all the world's a stage", "Behind the Curtain" wouldn't be so hidden after all.

Nadia Sheng

Advertisements are everywhere, including places not 'traditionally' recognized. Yet the idea of asking advertisers to forgo a certain medium, such as blogs, or specific publication, such as the New Yorker, is almost laughable and not one that is often pursued, given the capitalist root of most enterprises, as the advertisers have what news providers need: the big bucks.

As long as a publication isn't infiltrated with advertisements, and as long as advertisements are clearly marked as being such, they should be allowed the designated space; the pages “in-between” news articles, the columns alongside blog posts, and the commercial time slots in which newscasts are embedded.

What most of the commentary addressed, and rightfully so, was where to draw the line between the advertising that's overt and adverts that aren't easily recognizable- crafted as such so as to subliminally attract 'unsuspecting' consumers. And while it is argued that the responsibility of keeping informed lies in the consumer and them alone, it is difficult and unrealistic to hold each and every individual to such a high standard as many may not be savvy enough to be able to spot ads/products amid the hundreds of things they see in conjunction with the hundreds of other things on a day-to-day basis. It is therefore important and should be imperative that advertisers 'spell out' the fact their paid ad is in fact a money making endeavor and that it is intended the money sought after will come from you.

And as for the individual hired by companies wanting to promote their product through word-of-mouth, 'personal gain' becomes the overarching driving force in the individual's decision making and not 'public interest' which brings into question one's morals- and as Journalists, Ethics and the ethical codes we 'entered' into the profession with should always be at the forefront of our minds and what we try our very bests to abide by, particularly when faced with the prospect of a quick, personal gain.

The Poynter reading, “News organizations sign deals for sponsored tweets, then do not participate in them” illustrates how advertisers pair “brands” with “real people” intentionally in order to work from the inside-out by using those already apart of your community. Celebrity endorsements are case-and-point. They are a part of our daily lives whether we like it or not, and we see, if not also hear, what they have to say on multiple media platforms, for instance Twitter. Our perception of celebrities when we read their tweets and blog posts is different from when we see and read about them in magazines and on T.V. It's more direct and thus authentic which has alternately made it a highly popular marketing tool.

As Ad.ly CEO Arnie Gullov-Singh so put it, “the 'art of a well produced endorsement' involves maintaining that authenticity while providing enough disclosure to satisfy legal and ethical concerns.” And we can only hope those joining the world “Behind the Curtain” are advocates and proponents of “transparency” as well as upholders of the 'public interest'.

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