Last night Media Watch on the ABC did a piece on the “news report” done on one of the 6.30 current affairs programs on a commercial station. The “report” was a 15 minute advertising free expose on the sourcing of the fresh produce the retailer sells.
It was a prime example of so called “Native advertising”.
Native advertising is just a term dreamt up by marketers, aided and abetted by commercially desperate media owners to make excuses for polluting the so-called news with favorable commentary. In this case, the channel concerned had a share of the retailers very substantial advertising dollars way in excess of their audience market share, and the “report” was nothing less than a glowing tribute to the quality and freshness of the produce.
Smells like advertising to me.
The “news” already seems to have been so polluted by the populist lowest common denominator “cat up a tree” stories that seem to dominate alongside sensationalist claims about today’s brand of extremist, that why would a puff piece on how fresh a retailers produce is make a difference?
Simple answer, because it is nonsense.
The retailer concerned does do a good job, works hard to deliver produce as fresh as they can given the constraints of their mass market model, competitive pressures and profitability objectives, but to put as much lipstick on the pig as the report did is really going too far.
You can watch Media Watch’s (the segment starts at 8.45) commentary for a while on the ABC’s iView, but if you are still confused about the line between advertising and journalism, and the chance of our institutions and enterprises being held accountable by the media, have a look at this satirical video by John Oliver that presses the point.
We are pretty savvy consumers of media these days, question is, are we savvy enough?