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.
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.
Boston Properties and Delaware North Wednesday officially launched construction of a massive new complex on Causeway Street in front of TD Garden and North Station. Dubbed, “The Hub on Causeway,” the first phase of the complex underway will include a new grocery store from Star Market, a 15-screen movie theater from ArcLight Cinema, office space, and underground parking.
The first phase is to open in late 2018.
Additional phases would bring a 38-story residential tower, and two shorter towers for offices and a hotel.
The developers are also building a new entrance to North Station as well as an underground connection between the train and subway stations.
Sure sounds like a press release to us.
That reminded the hardstashing staff of a post we uncharacteristically held off publishing several weeks ago:
And now, not surprisingly, the stealthy local tabloid wants in on the auction – in this case via Boston Herald Radio, the streaming audio service that up to dozens of people listen to.
Today’s Herald, page 17:
The frosty (cashword) local tabloid has often run excerpts from BHR interviews alongside its daily promotional ad. But this is the first time the interview is “Sponsored Content” – that is to say, an ad itself.
We get it that newspapers have to come up with creative ways to generate revenue, which is one reason all this sponsored content is suddenly popping up.
We’re just wondering if there’s any bottom to that well.
But now Day Hop U has transferred out of the flunky local tabloid and enrolled in the Boston Globe’s Capital section.
Page One of today’s $tately local broadsheet (see bottom).
And Page One of the Capital section (see top and bottom).
Inside, readers get a fuller picture of the Globe/Suffolk collaboration, especially the Suffolk Solutions – what to call it? – marketing initiative that also include Globe reporter Joshua Miller’s Political Happy Hour (which now features a Suffolk University logo). The ad on page 3:
For the body copy-impaired:
If you go to the Suffolk Solutions site embedded in BostonGlobe.com, you find this “Sponsored” home page:
And here’s the video, which features Rachel Cobb, associate professor and chair of Suffolk University’s Department of Government, who’s also featured in the print ad.
Don’t be surprised if Dr. Cobb also finds her way into some of the Globe’s editorial coverage of local politics.
The Suffolk alliance is the second of these sponsorships the Globe has recently unveiled (the hardreading staff noted this one with Rockland Trust in the Business section last month).
But – wait – there’s yet a third, comfortably nestled in the Globe’s front-page News in brief column:
Yes, apparently the $tately local broadsheet has also auctioned off James Pindell’s Ground Game vertical covering the presidential primaries. The highest bidder? Steward Health Care System.
We look forward to further leasing out of the Boston Globe’s editorial content. Your suggestions go here . . .
The two largest retail banks in Massachusetts have some of the least satisfied customers, according to an annual survey of financial services firms.
Bank of America, the largest retail bank in Massachusetts, scored the equivalent of a D+, or a 68 on a 100-point scale of customer satisfaction, according to the survey by American Customer Satisfaction Index, LLC, a Michigan research firm. The survey asked 70,000 consumers about the quality of service at their banks, from whether tellers are helpful, interest rates are competitive, and websites and mobile applications are easy to navigate.
That’s below other major national banks, including Wells Fargo & Co. (with a top score of 75), Citigroup Inc. (73) and JP Morgan Chase & Co. (71).
Customers gave Providence-based Citizens Financial Group, Inc., the second-largest bank in Massachusetts by deposits, the equivalent of a C, with score of 70. It was the lowest among large regional banks, including Capital One Financial Corp. of Virginia (77) and TD Bank, NA of New Jersey(75).
The Rockland Trust arrangement is different, though. Citizens Bank accompanied its embeds – embads? – with a traditional ad at the bottom of Page One. Rockland Trust’s ad runs alongside the Talking Points column in the Globe’s Business section.
But wait . . . there’s more . . .
Check out the details in the ad:
See? It’s Business Journalism. There are Events. And there’s Advice. All right here at a native advertising site.
A new level indeed.
Oh, yes – there’s also a native ad on the Globe’s Today’s Paper page (see lower right).
Lots of talking points here. Discuss among yourselves.