New England Patriots Bust Local Rip-Off Roofer

August 20, 2017

As the hardtsking staff has extensively noted, for several weeks the Boston Globe has let an outfit called Northeast Home & Energy run this ad suggesting the roofing company has some association with the New England Patriots.

 

 

Except it doesn’t – a fact that Emily Rooney at WGBH’s Beat the Press passed along on Friday’s edition (around 5:15 of clip).

 

 

The upshot: The Pats sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Roof Bros, and here’s what appeared in the Globe yesterday and today.

 

 

No Patriots jerseys. No football. No Gillette Stadium.

No consequences for the Roof Bros or the $tately local broadsheet?

Dunno.


Boston Sunday Globe Inserts: Ads in Sheep’s Clothing

October 28, 2019

Branded content comes in many forms, as our kissin’ cousins at Sneak Attack have extensively chronicled. The New York Times has been particularly adroit at all forms of branded content, which Sneak Adtack noted earlier this year.

For the past four years the hardtracking staff has chronicled the drift by the New York Times toward cross-platform integration of native advertising, a.k.a. Russian Nesting Ads. A company runs an ad in the paper’s print edition that promotes an online ad that the Times’s T Brand Studio has created to look like editorial content. (Representative sample here.)

 

The Boston Globe, on the other hand, has only flirted with native advertising up to now, as in this bit of UMass marketing from a few years ago. Given the evidence of the past week, though, the $tately local broadsheet seems ready to dive into the deep end of the stealth marketing pool.

Last week’s Boston Sunday Globe included this eight-page Advertising Supplement produced by Boston Globe Media’s BG BrandLab.

 

 

With branded content, the first thing you want to look at is disclosure – how clear is it to readers that they’re looking at marketing material and not editorial content?

Give this effort a C- in transparency. “Special Report” is about three times the type size of “Advertising Supplement” on the front page, and this sort-of masthead – buried bottom left – occupies about five percent of page two.

 

 

Inside there are six unbylined articles along with four “Provided by” items that are presumably paid content.

 

 

Not surprisingly, the advertising supplement’s “Knowledge Partners” at the bottom of Page One also occupied some of the inside space, starting with this American Cancer Society advertorial atop page two.

 

 

Then the Boston Breast Cancer Equity Coalition got its ad turn.

 

 

And, of course, Susan G. Komen New England also made an advertising appearance.

 

 

There were also traditional ads for Lady Grace, Avon, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Then yesterday came this Special Report on cybersecurity.

 

 

In terms of transparency, this one gets a D. Start with the top of page two, which looks very much like a standard Editor’s Letter.

 

 

(Note to BGniks: You might want to standardize the spelling of your name. The front page has BG BrandLab, the foreword is by BG Brandlab, and the sign-off is The BG Brand Labs Team. Details, people.)

The sort-of masthead that was small in the first insert is positively minuscule in this one.

 

 

See that tiny band at the bottom? That’s it.

Other differences: There are a couple of bylined articles; “Provided by” has mostly turned into “Sponsored by” (one of them is on election security from Brianna Wu, although it does not identify her as a primary challenger to Stephen Lynch in Massachusetts’ 8th district – bad investment); and the Knowledge Partners on the front page – the National Cyber Security Alliance and Mitre – don’t have ads inside.

Oh, yes – and the whole thing looks a lot more like an editorial section than the first one.

But at least those two inserts are marginally transparent about being marketing material. Far worse was last month’s Globe wet kiss to Boston Children’s Hospital in the form of A 150th Anniversary Special Issue. It’s just the latest instance of the Globe’s playing footsie with BCH over the past few years, although it’s an especially egregious one in that it required the participation of the Globe newsroom.

It’s one puff piece after another, interspersed with dozens of costly congratulatory ads.

But no mention in those 68 pages of the hospital’s wanton destruction of the beloved Prouty Garden, or the battle over the hospital’s questionable expansion to service a projected – but by no means assured – international clientele.

 

To recap:

The BG BrandLab inserts strike us as Misdemeanor Misleading. The BCH 150th anniversary issue was Felony Failure of editorial integrity.

Court is adjourned.


Boston Globe Packages Self-Promotion As News

September 28, 2019

The hardreading staff has diligently chronicled the Boston Herald’s tendency to turn publicity material into editorial content (see our ongoing series Hark! The Herald! for details of the selfie local tabloid’s puffery).

But, truth be told, the Boston Globe is not immune to that same temptation. As we noted not long ago, “the Boston Globe has lately done its share of self-promotion as well. There was all the hubbub in the newshole last month over the paper’s HUBweek festival, and this wet kiss for ‘Globe Live’ in the Names column last week.”

Now comes this front-page piece in yesterday’s $tately local broadsheet.

 

 

C’mon, Globeniks – that’s not news; it’s PR.

Rather than make poor Andy Rosen “report” your press releases, why not promote HubWeek the same way you do the GlobeDocs Film Festival?

 

 

Perhaps because . . . Linda Pizzuti Henry, the Globe’s managing director and wife of Globe owner John Henry, is also cofounder of HubWeek.

Perhaps.


Boston Globe Love Letters No Longer a Kept Column?

July 3, 2018

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, the Boston Globe is increasingly willing to rent out its editorial content willy-nilly to marketing sponsors.

Exhibit Umpteen, as related in this space last month:

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, the $tately local broadsheet has allowed a marketer to get to second base with Love Letters columnist Meredith Goldstein. As we previously noted, ever since April the column has been leased out to – sorry, presented by – the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Today, the relationship got even chummier.

 

Beyond that, the Globe has relentlessly flogged the Kripalu-sponsored Love Letters podcast in quarter-page ads.

So imagine our surprise when we saw this, well, naked edition of Love Letters in today’s Globe.

Wait – have the Lovebirds torn the (broad)sheets?

And was the breakup really necessary?

Not to rub it in or anything.


State of the Cuisinart Marketing in the Boston Dailies

June 5, 2018

It’s not as if the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald have stuck advertising and editorial into a blender and hit puree. But they’re getting closer. Take, for example, today’s editions of the local dailies.

Here’s page 23 of today’s Herald.

 

 

What we have here is a half-page ad for Parker Professional Driving School right beneath an article about the school with this sort-of byline.

 

 

So, from all appearances, Parker paid for roughly five-sixths of the page but only half of it is clearly an ad. About a week ago there was a similar aditorial in the Arts section of the stealthy local tabloid.

 

 

(To be clear graf goes here)

To be clear, transparency is the responsibility of the media outlet, not the advertiser. Here’s how the aditorial dance works: The less it appears to be an ad, the better it is for the advertiser, since the content can bypass the consumer’s factory-installed skepticism about advertising. As the hardreading staff has previously noted, the trend at the Herald is definitely toward minimal transparency.

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, the $tately local broadsheet has allowed a marketer to get to second base with Love Letters columnist Meredith Goldstein. As we previously noted, ever since April the column has been leased out to – sorry, presented by – the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Today, the relationship got even chummier.

 

 

(To be clear graf #2 goes here)

To be clear, there’s no stealth involved in this pairing – it’s all entirely transparent. But there’s a growing monetization of editorial content occurring at the Globe (see here and here) that brings to mind the term “slippery slope.”

Watch this space.


Boston Globe Runs Aditorial to Preserve Yawkey Way

April 22, 2018

As the hardtsking staff has repeatedly noted, the Boston Globe can be a bit loosey-goosey about drawing a sharp line between advertising and editorial content.

So we were less than surprised to find this on Metro B2 today.

 

On the left are all the charities given donations by the Yawkey Foundation. At lower right is this body copy.

(There’s only sketchy information available about the Connors Family Office, but it’s clearly associated with local macher Jack Connors, who has adamantly opposed the Yawkey Way name change.)

Here’s the thing, though: On no part of the page does the word “advertisement” appear.

And here’s the other thing: Back in the 1960s legendary adman David Ogilvy postulated that 80% of people read only the headline of an ad. Fifty years later, do we think more than one in five read the ad’s body copy?

Fewer is more like it.

Our kissin’ cousins at Campaign Outsider have a long-running series, Civilians Who Run Full-Page Ads in the New York Times, in which 1) all the ads look more like ads than the Connors one in today’s Globe, and yet 2) all of them are labeled “Advertisement.”

It’s a good guess that Connors didn’t want to spoil the visual effect by having his ad labeled an ad, but the $tately local broadsheet really should have higher standards than that.

Shouldn’t it?


Boston Globe Leases Out Even More Editorial Content

April 20, 2018

The Boston Globe is selling itself for parts.

For three years now the hardreading staff has chronicled the $tately local broadsheet’s slapping corporate logos on a series of editorial material – from lending Capital to Suffolk University to mortgaging part of its Business section to Rockland Trust to double-dipping on the Prouty Garden dustup at Boston Children’s Hospital  to ensuring that Cross Insurance could “present” part of the Globe’s Arts section.

Now comes the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health‘s mash note to Meredith Goldstein in today’s Love Letters column.

Close-up for the presenter-impaired:

Just last week we noted how relentlessly the Globe’s print edition was flogging the Love Letters podcast in quarter-page ads that are also Kripaluscious.

Stay tuned – we’re guessing the Globe next sells The Metro Minute to Swatch.


Boston Globe Likely Didn’t ‘Resort’ to Pay-for-Play

April 16, 2018

One of our splendid readers alerted the hardreading staff to an interesting twofer in yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe.

First, this “suspiciously glowing” review of RiverWalk Resort in New Hampshire, which ran on Page One of the Travel section.

 

 

Then this full-page ad on page three of the Address section.

 

 

Splendid reader asks: “Coincidence?”

Most certainly not, although not in the way you might think. We’re guessing the piece begat the ad, rather than the other way around.

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, the $tately local broadsheet has played footsie with its advertisers on numerous occasions, as the hardtsking staff has repeatedly noted.

So we’re not saying pay-for-play is entirely out of the question; we just don’t think that’s the case here.


Boston Globe Auctions Off More of Its News Pages

March 12, 2018

As the hardreading staff dolefully noted over the past few years, the Boston Globe’s editorial content has increasingly been playing footsie with marketing partners ranging from Suffolk University to Steward Health Care System to Rockland Trust to the Star Wars franchise.

Now comes Cross Insurance to “present” this page in yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe Arts section.

 

 

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, the hardreading staff has seen no Cross Insurance tit-for-tad in the $tately local broadsheet. But there is this sponsored content produced by BG BrandLab, the Globe’s in-house shop for producing ads in sheep’s clothing.

 

 

Yes yes – we’re aware that a disclosure line sits atop the website, albeit as inconspicuously as possible.

And if you click on the Information doohickey, this drops down.

 

 

Raise your hand if you ever click on that doohickey. Yeah, us neither.

Regardless of the level of transparency, we’re just uneasy overall about attaching financial interests to editorial content.

Never the twain should meet, right?

Or are we just hopelessly out of date?


Boston Globe Keeps Letting Roofer Rip Off Patriots

August 18, 2017

As the hardtsking staff noted earlier this week, the Boston Globe has been running ads from an outfit called Northeast Home & Energy flaunting a nonexistent New England Patriots connection.

Yesterday, the Globeniks made patsies of the Pats for a third time.

 

The Roof Bros even have a special welcome on their website for Globe clickers.

 

 

Isn’t that special?

Apparently the $tately local broadsheet has no problem with paying customers hijacking a local sports team for fun and profit.

Rumor has it that the fine folks at WGBH’s Beat the Press will tackle this licensing end run on tonight’s episode.

Stay tuned for further details.