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SI blurring the line?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Max Mercy, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. Max Mercy

    Max Mercy Member

    Anyone see the Sports Illustrated writers' "bucket list" of sporting events to see live this week, folded into a Honda CRV ad with the same concept? It was even teased on the cover. Isn't whoring out a dozen of your staffers for an advertiser a bit sketchy? It seems unlikely that they would have had this feature without the accompanying ad, no?
  2. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    I read the 1st page of that story and thought the rest of it was missing . It took me a while to realized that it was in foldout.
  3. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I noticed this and thought about it when I was reading the issue, but I don't have a problem with it. Pairing advertising with content is the way of the world these days. I don't have a problem with it, so long as the content itself wasn't altered to benefit advertisements. For instance, if the Honda Open had been on the list, there'd be a problem. If the Indianapolis 500 had been No. 1 on the list, I would have furrowed my brow a bit.

    The strangest part of the list to me was the lack of acknowledgement that the College World Series has changed venues.
  4. Quakes

    Quakes Guest

    I noticed this, and it bothered me a bit. It seemed as if the advertisement drove the content. I have no idea if this is true, but I got the sense that the article wouldn't have been in the magazine if not for the ad. The list just seemed tossed-off and familiar, and I wasn't really buying Opening Day as the purported hook for it. Perhaps I've just been reading SI too long, but I feel like I've read a lot of these writers rave about a lot of these places and events before. (I know Alexander Wolff -- whom I admire greatly -- has used the phrase "Quaker meeting house" to describe the Palestra before.) I was also reminded of the "Our Favorite Venues" package SI did in 1999; that list (of 20) also included Wrigley, Lambeau, Notre Dame and St. Andrews. (Of course, some of the things on the new list are events, rather than venues.) So if the article was just churned out to go with the ad, maybe it should have been designated a "Special Advertising Section" or something like that.
  5. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    These are valid concerns -- in 1985.

    You can hate it, and I'm not loving it, but you have a chance to make a lot of money by leveraging editorial content, you do it.

    And you're right Max, very possible it started as an advertising concept and editorial was written around it. Don't know that's the case, but certainly possible.
  6. Mulligan

    Mulligan Guest

    Who cares if the ad concept informed the content? In a struggling business, why not find creative ways to serve your ad partners while providing unique content for your audience?
  7. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    Because some places, especially one of the most-respected publications in the business, should have ethics.

    Yeah, I know that's easy for me to say, but there's got to be a line.
  8. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Because it's misleading to their audience. When you are a 40 year subscriber you come to expect certain standards.
  9. Mulligan

    Mulligan Guest

    What are readers being misled by? That Verducci's favorite fan experience is Wrigley? I highly doubt he lied in order to appease Honda. I also fail to see how this is unethical.

    If Verducci said his favorite experience was taking a CRV on a cross-country road trip to see MLB stadiums, I see the issue. But this is evergreen, non-controversial content that Honda likely didn't dictate.

    If SI stuck to its ethical standards of the pre-Internet days, that'd be more detrimental to its audience than this. SI would lose advertising revenue, leading to a thinner product with less space for real content. These sort of executions are what brands like expect expect - if SI didn't bend at all, somebody else would and steal this business.
  10. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I don't have a problem with the idea...and it was one of my first quick reads for the week...my problem is that they teased the ad on their cover.
  11. Mulligan

    Mulligan Guest

    Honestly, I didn't see that refer. Point well-taken.
  12. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    Get a grip. SI has been "blurring the line" since the early 90s, with its championship packages. The pub is a de facto business partner of the NFL, MLB and the NCAA and has been for decades.
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