This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

October 13, 2016

The separation of advertising from news

In my lifetime, advertising has been clearly separated from news. That is, if I read an article in the newspaper or in a magazine, the ads are next to the content, not inside of it. Making ads look like news has been unethical for a very long time.

The image above is from an old-time newspaper, before much consideration was given to separating news from advertising. This is the front page, where the headlines are more about advertising than news. The gas indigestion article is very obvious, but the promotion of the mine is just advertising, and even the new hotel article isn't really news.

There have been many attempts to sneak advertising content back into regular content, such as the popularity of "Infomercials" in the 1980s, and nowadays the blurring of the lines when you read an article on the internet, or follow on Instagram. And since advertising is often blocked by users, or in the case of Instagram, not given a place at all, advertising is now returning to being woven into content.

And it's a dirty trick, that makes people angry. If you think that it's subtle to trick people into looking at advertising, when they think they're looking at content, you're just being nasty. So as an ethical Marketing person, don't do that. Give people a chance to look away - clearly separate advertising from content. If your content is worthwhile, people will stay with you, and they can make the choice to look at the ads, or not to.

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