Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Infomercials and Advertorials – a Purist’s Nightmare.

I remember the days when Publishing and Editorial had a firewall between them. A publication had a “publisher”, the guy (not often a woman, right?), who looked after the revenue and made sure the income was greater than the outgo, and an “editor” (more frequently a woman), whose job it was to hire great writers who delivered great content (often for very little money). And the twain were never supposed to meet.

Those were “the olden days” of the publishing world and I miss them.

Today, I am reading the August 2011 issue of Vanity Fair – good writing, interesting topics, and beautiful ads. Somewhere in the first half of the 150 pages starts an article about Groupon. Right in the middle of it is “a supplement from Vanity Fair and W I R E D”, a splendid piece about Facebook by Henry Alford. That is introduced, flanked and followed (all within 6 pages) by a gadget ad.

So, what is a purist to make of this? An ad accompanying an opinion piece that forms the heart of a – what? Maybe it’s all best described by Groupon CEO Andrew Mason: “We want to become weirder.” I think the future has already arrived; it does not need to be poked.

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