- "The Internet is Advertising Park. We built a wonderful place with amazing technology and thought we could pay for it by keeping advertising safely behind borders where people could look at it and maybe sometimes pet its pretty fur. But the advertising has broken loose now, eating and shitting on everything. These consumervores are clever. Some sneak up on their prey by disguising themselves as real articles."— Luke McKinney, Cracked's "7 Warning Signs Of Advertising Disguised As Articles"
open/close all folders
Live Action TV
- This is the modus operandi of the locally-produced, daytime lifestyle shows seen on some TV stations in the U.S., in which local businesses pay to have their employees or spokesperson appear as "guests" to plug their products in barely-disguised Infomercial segments. These shows are almost always produced by a station's creative services or sales department and kept separated from their actual news departments. Examples include the Ur-Example that is literally called Daytime (produced by Tampa's Nexstar-owned NBC affiliate WFLA. Some of their other stations, especially those owned by predecessors Media General and LIN, air similar shows), The Morning Blend (primarily used by the former Journal Broadcast Group stations, now owned by Scripps — who has since introduced a version of it for its existing ABC affiliate in Tampa too), WKBW's AM Buffalo (they're also owned by Scripps, but this program was carried over from its Granite ownership), and Meredith's syndicated Better, which could have local cut-ins and co-brandings of this nature, a la Evening Magazine.
- The networks in Australia also like these.
- This one for OnStar's remote vehicle slowdown feature carries all the hallmarks of a video news release
- One of the most infamous political examples in the United States came in 2004, when multiple TV stations aired video news releases from the U.S. government that were produced and anchored by an apparent Washington reporter named Karen Ryan, which pushed propaganda for Medicare and the country's education system without any indication of its true source. The General Accounting Office did point out that it's illegal to use federal funds for "publicity or propaganda purposes" without the permission of Congress.
- The Philippine magazine programme Rated K is infamous for this, shoehorning advertorials for dietary supplements of questionable efficacy, or beauty products, into episodes pertaining to a specific theme, complete with liberal use of adverbs "umano" (Tagalog for "allegedly") or "daw" (apparently), along with the usual testimonials from people who, umano, benefited from the products. Don't be surprised if an advert for the supplement shows up immediately during the commercial break.
- The morning show (yes, the actual morning show, not an advertorial daytime show as mentioned earlier) on Fox-owned station WFLD in Chicago aired an remote interview with Shari Belafonte which ended up being an ad for a diet pill. It was disclosed, briefly.
- The most literal example comes from infomercials that mimic the look and feel of a news interview show. Think of the people flicking through the channels and noticing Larry King Special Report, thinking it's a Larry King Live revival, but only to find out that it's just an infomercial for a joint medication.
- Media Watch increasingly highlights how newspapers, becoming increasingly desperate for advertising revenue, are printing what are basically commercials that look like editorial content.
- There are some stations that actually present ads for local car dealers live as stories during weekend morning newscasts.
- In China, some ads ran what looked like a urgent news report, saying that the "Sibuxiang Beast," a mythical creature, was real, and attacking civilians in a city. Much like the War of The Worlds broadcast, people freaked out, and the ad maker was fined.
- Brand Power is a marketing group that runs ads that have the feel of news-bytes, completely with a newsy-sounding musical opening.
- Similar to Brand Power is MediFacts, which does the same thing, except they advertise medical products.
- After entering into a $250 million-dollar advertising and "integration" deal with the daily fantasy sports website DraftKings over the summer of 2015, practically every ESPN studio program was pimping it in some way or another. Even worse? ESPN writer Matthew Berry pretty much turned his fantasy sports column into a giant ad for DraftKings. In a follow-up, he did include a disclosure ... which ended being more praise for the site. In the midst of growing controversy over the legality of DFS, the endless ads and ESPN plugs started to die down, and ESPN later backed out of the deal.
- Kelly Rowland was interviewed by WGN's morning show, but when confronted with questions about Beyoncé's Lemonade album, she abruptly changed the topic and began to briefly talk up her partnership with Claritin and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Considering there was a small box of Claritin right next to her, preeminently awaiting its acknowledgement, it seemed to be the real point of the interview.
- Fashion and lifestyle magazines published in the United States (like Lucky, Cosmo, Seventeen, etc...) freely run advertisements that at first glace appear to be one-page features. These advertorials have titles like "10 Essential Items for Your Summer Wardrobe," "Fall In Love With Your Hair This Holiday Season," or "5 Dieting Tricks That Will Blow Your Mind." Some even take the form of interviews with average women (mothers, beauty bloggers, etc...) who only want to talk about the product in question. This "branded content" is required to have a text disclaimed somewhere on the page declaring that it's not an unbiased editorial, usually something along the lines of "This is a Paid Advertisement" or "Promotional Feature" (but only in tiny print at the very bottom of the page.)
- In a variant, some of the earliest Visual Kei bands attained their promotion and first media breaks by setting up impromptu events and inviting news cameramen or entertainment reporters to film the results, usually without everyone from the news organization knowing the event was staged. One of the most famous was X Japan's ORGASM at YASHIRO NOODLE SHOP which consisted of the band performing their single "Orgasm" in a crowded noodle shop and then proceeding to annoy the customers and break the place. This form of promotion was immediately looked down upon by the rest of the Japanese metal community at the time (which considered it being an Attention Whore) and created a split between Japanese Heavy Metal and "Visual Kei" that would not be reconciled until Turn of the Millennium, despite that Visual Kei artists were playing Heavy Metal. It also backfired severely when tried (by the same band) in a more traditional way to promote on American news programs in 2010-11, also because of the increased obvious staging and PR involvement in the US media appearances, which only appealed to fans.
- In 1999, the aforementioned Media Watch exposed that on-air personalities on a talk radio station in Sydney had been endorsing various companies without disclosure. In one case, a host was suddenly praising banks that they had previously criticized for their excessive fees.
- You won't believe what trope that online articles colloquially known as "Clickbait" fall under...
- Discussed in Cracked's "7 Warning Signs Of Advertising Disguised As Articles", where Luke McKinney dissects a piece of ad about "bulletproof coffee" showing all of the bullcrap associated with it.
- Content brought to you by Trope Co.