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.

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Boston Globe Joins Herald in Running Sneak Adtacks

February 5, 2018

As the hardreading staff noted the other day, the Boston Herald has of late increased the amount of its “sponsored content” while decreasing the legibility of its disclosure.

Now the Boston Globe apparently wants to join the stealthy local tabloid in profiting from ads in sheep’s clothing, running this on A12 of today’s edition. (Here’s the digital version on the Globe website.)

 

 

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, sharp-eyed observers will pick up that it’s actually an ad, but not everyone is as perceptive as you, splendid reader. For some, anything with a headline and a byline qualifies as editorial content. Which is exactly what stealth marketing counts on.

Regardless, we’re guessing that the revenue-impaired Globe and the bankrupt Herald will increasingly turn toward this sleight-of-ad as time goes on.

We hope, of course, to be proven wrong.


Boston Herald Plants Advertising Deeper Into News

February 3, 2018

The sneaky local tabloid just keeps getting sneakier.

As the hardreading staff has noted on multiple occasions, the Boston Herald’s publication of stealth marketing (a.k.a. “sponsored content”) has steadily become more and more – ah – stealthy, as the labeling of same grows smaller and smaller.

(Pop quiz: Is that an oxymoron, or are we?)

For example, here’s how sponsored content for intimate apparel retailer Rigby & Peller was labeled in March of 2016.

 

 

Then there’s this advertorial for the Massachusetts State Lottery from a year ago.

 

 

And now comes this from yesterday’s edition of the stealthy local tabloid. (Inexplicable Little Green 1 at no extra charge.)

 

 

Do we detect a pattern emerging here?

All of those ads in sheep’s clothing originated in interviews on Boston Herald Radio, which has up to several listeners but which more importantly provides the Herald with a steady stream of stealth marketing opportunities.

Given the Local Dailies DisADvantage the thirsty local tabloid labors under, that just might be the best it can do.


Boston Herald Auctions Off Editorial to Advertisers

June 1, 2017

Stop the presses! The Boston Herald has gone native again!

As the hardtsking staff has previously noted, the sneaky local tabloid has occasionally dabbled in native advertising in its print edition, but now the ads in sheep’s clothing seem to be appearing with greater frequency.

Last week there was this full-page marketing massage “presented by Primark.”

Today there’s this puffery, “presented by The Lawn on D powered by Citizens Bank” – a twofer.

Both writers – Brett Milano and Miriam Schwartz – appear to be freelancers, although a piece she wrote last year referred to her as “the Herald’s Miriam Schwartz.” (Both, interestingly, also share the link bostonherald.com/users – which sort of feels backward given what the stingy local tabloid pays for freelance work.)

Anyway, that’s not as egregious as using staff reporters to produce advertising content, but even so . . .

C’mon, Heraldniks – at least have to decency to get actual copywriters to produce this stuff.


Boston Herald Jacks Up Newsstand Price by 33%

May 8, 2017

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, we’re one of roughly 17 home subscribers to the Boston Herald, which means that virtually all of the feisty local tabloid’s dwindling print circulation comes from newsstand sales.

So it’s no surprise that this Notice appeared on page 2 of today’s edition. (Note the reverse typeface, which is harder to read, especially for us elderly folk.)

 

 

Close-up (sort of):

 

 

The sneaky local tabloid does say that the price increase “will not affect home-delivered copies of  the Boston Herald,” which has up to tens of subscribers issuing a sigh of relief.

Still, that’s a one-third newsstand hike from Saturday . . .

 

 

. . . to today.

 

 

Which means the pricey local tabloid now costs the same as the Boston Globe.

 

 

The Herald’s newsstand price is also now double that of the New York tabloids, which, to be fair, are constantly waging price wars. Rising above the fray, the New York Times newsstand price is $2.50.

Two and a half times more for the broadsheet? That seems closer to the natural order of things, no?


Boston Herald Shrinks Re: Stealth Marketing Disclose

February 3, 2017

As the hardreading staff has noted previously, the Boston Herald has never been overfastidious about distinctions between marketing and news. But the stealthy local tabloid has just gotten one level sneakier.

Today’s edition features this page topped by “sponsored content” touting special Massachusetts Lottery scratch tickets for the Patriots and other New England sports teams. (Inexplicable Little Green Number sold separately.)

 

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-4-48-51-pm

 

Even closer up, the disclosure is pretty minimal.

 

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-4-49-18-pm

 

That’s clearly a step down from the Herald’s previous perfunctory labeling.

 

screen-shot-2016-03-09-at-12-54-45-pm

 

Of course, native advertising works best when it labels itself least. The more you think it’s editorial content, the better for the marketer.

And the better for the sneaky local tabloid too.