Saturday, December 01, 2007

Dine magazine thumps in with all
advertorial flags flying

Last July we posted an item about plans for Dine, an annual restaurant guide that was being backed by Jay Mandarino of Toronto's CJ Graphics, and fronted by perennial foodie Sara Waxman who is publisher and editor-in-chief. At the time, we nervously quoted Mandarino extolling Dine's unabashedly advertorial mission. Well, little did we know.

Dine dropped out of the Globe and Mail in Toronto last week, two pounds of glossy, over-sized perfect-bound something or other. Creative direction is by the renowned Heather Cooper and her partner Eric Graham. (If you didn't get it, all the pages are available online.) It now has the tagline "Sara Waxman Tastes and Tells". And most of the publication consists of ads on the top of the page and a puff piece by Waxman at the bottom, logrolling the advertiser's establishment in what is headed a "review". Consider the last lines of each of several of these:
  • Bravi Ristorante -- "European style dining at its best -- where every course is a highlight."
  • Centro -- "When Mama said, 'food is love,' this is what she was talking about."
  • Mistura -- Desserts are designed for maximum effect and will make those with a sweet tooth tap their forks with glee."
  • Rosewater Supper Club -- "As a rule, historic buildings make beautiful restaurants, and Rosewater abides by the rule."
  • Tundra -- "No surprise that Tundra is an award-winning restaurant. They're creating Canadian cuisine at its best, eh?"
And so on...This is the kind of gush that used to be the stock in trade of Mary Walpole advertorials in the old Globe and Mail, but at least they didn't pretend to be a serious examination of the dining scene (as Dine does) or have the effrontery to use the word "review" to represent paid hustle. How much revenue has this publication sucked away from legitimate magazines in the crowded, competitive food and drink category?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there, love your site. I think, though, that magazines like Dine aren't really the issue. Few people would take it seriously. But I've seen worse.

Notably, I recently purchased the latest edition of Explore magazine. And I've noticed the trend developing for a while now. Gear reviews prominently based on advertisers: Inside front cover, Canada Good jackets, prominent gear review in same issue. I've never seen them advertise in the magazine prior to this, and never heard them mentioned. But it isn't even a normal gear review, it is an absurd piece of "editorial" called In Praise of Mars Bars an four other classic creations that help make our winter's wonderful. So the four creations: Mars bars, the chairlift, said Canada Goose jacket, snowcats and Sorel boots, who, of course, also advertise. I mean, really, this is an entire page of a magazine that prides itself on winning Canadian magazine awards galore. It is one of the most non-sensical articles I've read in quite some time. And all, I've concluded, to slip in a review for an advertiser. Of course, you turn to the actual gear reviews and the largest pic is of a Salomon boot that just happens to be advertising on the back cover.

Now, I expect this sort of stuff from mags like Dine, but Explore is an accomplished magazine. I know times are tight, but that is just ridiculous.

10:42 am  

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