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.


Bottoms Up! Wine-Store Ad War in Boston Globe!

July 15, 2019

Think of it as a behind-the-bar brawl.

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, the Total Wine chain of liquor stores has dropped a bundle over the past two years on full-page ads in the Boston Globe, sometimes cheek-by-jowl with critical coverage of the retailer’s attempts to change state alcohol rules nationwide to work more in the chain’s favor.

(For a lively debate in this space about whether the Globe should have disclosed its financial connection to Total Wine in those news reports, see here.)

Regardless, Total Wine had pretty much the run of the stately local broadsheet until last Thursday, when this ad appeared on page A16.

 

Here’s the body copy in the New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet ad.

Something all serious winemakers and distillers have in common is great pride in their work. Read the label – they’re very eager to tell you all about their history, their traditions, their culture. Oh, it’s not on there? Maybe you’re looking at one of Total Wine’s private-label “house brands” from an unidentified source.

At New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets, you will find brands you know and trust at everyday low prices.

 

Whoa – that’s some serious liquor store shade, no?

This being Boston, we expected a serious smashmouth response, but here’s what appeared on page A3 of yesterday’s Globe.

 

 

Average savings of six bucks vs. New Hampshire prices?

That’s all you got, Total Wine?

Total Wimp is more like it.


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 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?