Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Fri, 26 Jul 2002 10:31:12 GMT

Sony: Money can’t buy you …. good staff
There are times when you read something and your brain informs you that your eyes are misleading you. So you read it again and still your brain rejects it.

These incidents are usually provoked by moments of such stupidity that it’s really hard to fathom what is going on and what the perpetrators were thinking.

What am I talking about? Two words: Sony Electronics.

The New York Times as you may have read has refused to accept ads from Sony that attempt to blue the line between advertising and editorial content.

Effectively Sony has put together the age-old Advetorial rubbish and tried to place them in editorial pages with little or no identification that they are in fact ads.

OK let’s take a little breather here. Does this strike anyone as innovative? breaking new ground? opening up the frontiers of marketing?

No, I didn’t think so. This is a cheap marketing activity that has happily filled the un-read pages of newspapers and magazines around the world since mass circulation started. It’s space filling and magazine ad reps have happily took people’s money from it for years. From an advertisers perspective it’s admitting that ‘editorial’ coverage has value.

None of what I have written is rocket science to any of you. I would never recommend advetorial for a client or employer because it’s only a space filler and to be honest I don’t personally believe it has much value.

But, let us hear what Sony’s Consumer ‘Marketing’ Officer, T. Scott Edwards, has to say:
“We’re breaking paradigms here. We consider ourselves a content provider — we are buying the space.”

What? Excuse me. What is this guy on? Buying ‘Advetorials’ and ‘Commercial Features’ is (ahem) “breaking paradigms”? Who talks like that? Oh I know marketing management at large companies who have lost their tenuous grasp on reality.

Is ‘T’ really trying to tell us that paying for advetorial and trying to sneak it into editorial content is the brave new frontier?

Of course it doesn’t stop with ‘T’, oh no, his ad agency is right behind him.

Let’s listen to what they, Universal McCann, have to say for a moment:
“We’re trying to blur the line between the adveritising and editorial boundary.”

Oh my lord (I am trying to reduce my use of expletives).

Well I’d would like to publicly praise the New York Times for their standards, and show these Sony ‘marketing’ people that they need to stop drinking the ‘Kool Aid’.

To end, not everyone of course agrees with the NYT’s stand, there are, as there always are, people only too happy to get their hands on some filthy lucre to help make their quarter, and hang the consequences.

Jack Haire, sales muppet executive extrordinaire is quoted as rallying his executives at Time and AOL for a plan to distribute Sony’s content. Well done Jack, never let standards get in the way of a dollar.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 26, 2002 at 11:31 am

Posted in General

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