Friday, 2 October 2009

The Advertorial

This has to be what I would call one of the worst in terms of despicable advertising practices. Literally it is designing your advert such that it resembles an article in the newspaper/magazine, and usually the only way to tell is there is the word advertisement in very small text at the top. This is making it seem like the newspaper condones and supports the issues the author is raising, giving his/her position more authority than an opinion piece would.

And strangely enough those that practice this deceptive form of advertising seem to be those that are already attempting to deceive people (or themselves) in other ways about the quality of their product or service, such as alternative medicine (alt med) providers.

Now this might seem a tad harsh on alt med people, but then if the alt med had been shown to work, then it would not be alternative medicine but rather simply medicine.

One recurring example of this practice is seen in a local free weekly (one of many my locale seems to have) I get in my mailbox The Star (digital online version can be found here). Almost every week without fail either on page 3 or 5 (usually at the bottom right) there is an advertorial by a local chiropractor - laying down how we should manipulate our spines to prevent swine flu or some such (perhaps I will scan some in point you to the online version find them on the chiropractor's website and deconstruct them at some point in the near future - it seems just to richer source of fodder to ignore).

Taking the example of this particular chiropractor, on his website under "health news", which is where he says to look for the archive of his ad, he clearly states (emphasis mine):

Here are some of the latest developments in the world of healthcare, with chiropractic commentary from Dr Tat Loo. Tat also contributes occasional feature articles and commentary for the weekly Dunedin based paper The Star which we will be included on this page.
This is exactly the sort of deception which is being practiced in these advertorials trying to pass off ads and opinion as "feature articles".

Any way enough for now... enjoy your weekend, I think I will spend some time looking at the relevant acts and laws regarding false advertising.