Canada's largest publisher of consumer magazines, Transcontinental Media, has apparently decided that editorial integrity is an optional extra. It says it is pleased and proud to have played a part in publishing an ad which is made to look exactly like part of an editorial spread. The ad for Premium Plus crackers is incorporated into an editorial food spread about soup shared across nearly one million copies of Canadian Living, Style at Home, Canadian Gardening, Coup de Pouce and Decormag, according to a story in Marketing magazine. A sticker of soda crackers is strategically floated on top of the soup in a pot so that, when peeled off, it directs the reader to a site called AddSomePlus.ca where there are additional recipes and product information.The ad/photo is made to appear as an integral part of the spread.
The ad was developed in collaboration with agency MediaVest Canada on behalf of client Kraft Canada and Transcon makes no secret of its role in skipping over the once-clear line between ads and edit. The ad contravenes both the letter and the spirit of the Canadian magazine industry advertising-editorial guidelines (whichTranscon played a part in developing.)
“It acts as a point of interruption and leverages editorial content to pique curiosity and inherently link soup and our crackers,” said Melissa Grant, senior brand manager for Premium Plus crackers [in the Marketing story]. “By using a captive audience of readers already looking at soup recipes, it acts as a reminder to use Premium Plus with soup and increases awareness of other Premium Plus varieties.”
According to a Transcontinental representative, the idea arose from planning sessions between the company’s national account manager, Monique Hourd, and a MediaVest Canada representative.
“We are always open to exploring creative uses for print that will capture the reader’s attention and add value to their experience,” said Janice Davidson Pressick, senior specialist, marketing and communications, for Transcontinental Media in Toronto. Asked about the apparent melding of advertising with editorial content, Pressick said: “It marries nicely with the editorial and is not much different than running a bind-in insert over the editorial magazine page or a pop-up blocker over an article online.”
“We are so pleased to be working with an open-minded agency like MediaVest, which appreciates the importance of providing unique campaigns that are so well suited to our editorial,” said Lynn Chambers, group publisher with Transcontinental.Advertising Age in the U.S. a while ago wrote that the demarcation between advertising and editorial was increasingly being worn down to a mere warning track. Uh-huh.