Thursday, October 27, 2005

Is Chatelaine crossing the line?

Media in Canada reports that Baxter's Soups has a campaign running in subsequent issues of Chatelaine, complete with perforated stitch-in recipe cards opposite the full-page ads. So far, no big deal. But the interesting phrase that jumped out of the report (bold-face emphasis added) is the following, quoting Ed Weiss, media director at The Brainstorm Group, the Toronto-based agency behind the deal:

"Each issue will have a different theme," says Weiss. "In December, it's holiday ideas and February will have a winter theme. We worked with Chatelaine's own food editors and photographers to create the ads. We wanted it to appear like an advertorial."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for blowing the whistle on this kind of stuff, BD.

I'm one of those people who think that behaviour like this is unethical only if it's undisclosed. If Chatelaine expects its editorial staff to pimp for the advertisers, they should make the relationship transparent. That way readers and other interested partners can make informed choices as to whether they wish to engage with commercially compromised editorial, or prefer to read editorial prepared by bonafide journalists, not marketers.

In Canada, thank goodness, the editorial values of A-list magazines such as Chatelaine are expected to put reader interests foremost. If Chatelaine decides to do otherwise, that's their choice. It's not illegal. Just don't pretend to be something you're not.

12:49 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is exactly why the former editor-in-chief (sorry, her name escapes me right now) quit. and loudly so- her protests over publisher interference even ran in the globe.

12:08 pm  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

Lest we forget, her name is Kim Pittaway.

12:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

chatelaine already looks like a big Kraft ad -- stepping closer editorially doesn't surprise me, do you really think their demographic cares?

9:45 am  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

There is no way to know, of course, but Chatelaine carries with it a long legacy of first rate journalistic clarity and feminism going back to Doris Anderson. Some changes have been forced on it by advertising demands,particularly its search for a younger demographic) to but at least until now there was a clear church and state separation. Perhaps the younger age group has fewer scruples about these things. Mind you, I'm not aware of any research that says so.

4:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think if anything the "younger group" is more cynical about editorial integrity, likely becauase we have grown up with a magazine industry that has pushed its editorial teams to get friendlier to advertiser interests.

As Kim P. said at the CSME mixer last week, we in editorial have to work harder to convey to our readers the unbiased work we're trying to do for them. We have to claw that trust back, not trade the last remnants of it for ad dollars.

10:22 am  

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