AP Says Yes, Economist Says No to Stealth Marketing

Two major news organizations have come to a split decision about whether to run ads in sheep’s clothing.

From Brendan James’s piece in the International Business Times:

Associated Press Rolls Out Native Advertising Network

The Associated Press might look like one of the few news outlets today exempt from the tyranny of the “impression” that’s slowly eating away at media. Unlike most outlets, the AP makes most of its money not off ad revenue but via subscription services to Screen-Shot-2016-06-08-at-10.31.34-PM3-300x178its news wires.

But the AP is only as healthy as its members, and those members are still very much tied to the click economy and its diminishing returns. With that in mind, the famous global news network is getting into the ad game in a big, and somewhat particular, way: It’s opening up its digital advertising shop for its subscribers, offering an inventory of sponsored content alongside its inventory of news stories.

The Economist, on the other hand, has arrived at exactly the opposite conclusion . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PepsiCo’s Weak, Late NYT Tribute to Roger Enrico

Actually, a week late.

As the hardworking staff noted a few days ago, former PepsiCo chief Roger Enrico died last Wednesday; this New York Times obituary ran Friday. The following day Pepsi’s old Cola Wars archrival ran this full-page ad in the New York Times.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 12.07.03 AM


Coca-Cola classy, eh?

By contrast, it took until yesterday for PepsiCo to deliver its Times tribute.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.26.21 PM


Maybe it’s just  us, but the Coca-Cola ad seems more . . . heartfelt. We’re thinking Coke won the Cola Warmth, hands down.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Day the Hardworking Staff at Campaign Outsider Went Viral

Full disclosure: The hardworking staff has a small but deeply disturbed following at Campaign Outsider, and we appreciate each and every one of you splendid readers.

But yesterday something entirely unexpected happened: We went sort of viral on Facebook.

It all started with this post on Sunday.

Coca-Cola Classy: Runs NYT Tribute to Pepsi’s Roger Enrico


Former PepsiCo chief Roger Enrico died last Wednesday, just early enough to get his due before all obits were swamped by Muhammed Ali’s.

New York Times obituary for Enrico . . .

The tribute was this full-page ad in Saturday’s Times.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 12.07.03 AM


Somehow, our post took off on Facebook.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 12.17.11 AM

And resulted in 3224 views, a roughly umpteen % increase in our usual traffic.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 12.12.22 AM

So there was great rejoicing at the Global Worldwide Headquarters of Campaign Outsider.

But . . .

We picked up exactly zero subscribers to this blog in the process.

The moral of this story:

The web can be a great trampoline. But it’s also no slingshot.

(Then again, today’s views are up over 1100, so go figure.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Civilians Who Run Full-Page Ads in the New York Times (ItsTheCourtStupid.com Edition)

The latest edition in our long-running series on people with all those dollars and no sense

From yesterday’s New York Times:


Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 12.33.51 AM


That full-page ad features a certain Earle I. Mack’s piece from The Hill’s Congress Blog, self-described as “The Hill’s Forum for Lawmakers and Policy Professionals.”

(The hardworking staff strongly suspects that Congress Blog is a paid political platform, but maybe that’s just us.)

Regardless, Mack – a real estate investor and former U.S. ambassador to Finland under George W. Bush – is reportedly bankrolling the website ItsTheCourtStupid.com, which of course has its own Stupid PAC to flack for Garland.

Here’s their FEC filing:


Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 1.11.12 AM

Feel free to contact Rcole@inthefieldconsulting.com or lauraschwartz99@gmail.com at your earliest convenience. That’s more than Mack’s ad will do for Merrick Garland.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coca-Cola Classy: Runs NYT Tribute to Pepsi’s Roger Enrico

Former PepsiCo chief Roger Enrico died last Wednesday, just early enough to get his due before all obits were swamped by Muhammed Ali’s.

New York Times obituary for Enrico:

Roger Enrico, PepsiCo Chief During 1980s ‘Cola Wars,’ Dies at 71


Roger Enrico, the PepsiCo chief executive who nearly dethroned Coca-Cola in the 1980s, died on Wednesday while vacationing in the Cayman Islands. He was 71.

His death, on Grand Cayman, was sudden, his family said, and the cause was not immediately specified.

Mr. Enrico joined PepsiCo in 1971 after serving in the Navy in the Vietnam War, and he rose swiftly through the ranks. He oversaw the company’s advertising campaign during the so-called Cola Wars, making marketing deals with celebrities like Michael Jackson, Madonna and Michael J. Fox. Pepsi’s market share grew, prompting an anxious Coca-Cola to change its formula in 1985, only to quickly change it back in the face of a tide of customer wrath.

There’s nothing but warmth, however, in this full-page ad Coca-Cola ran in yesterday’s Times.


Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 12.07.03 AM


Sounds like the real thing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What the Hell’s This Pro Bono Ad Doing in the New York Times?

Well the hardworking staff was plowing through the New York Times yesterday when we came across this quarter-page ad on A15.


Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 2.47.52 PM


Feed the Pig, eh? Here’s the homepage of their website.


Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 2.51.37 PM


Fun! (You can see all their PSAs – except the one above – here.)

The campaign is a joint effort of the Ad Council and the American Institute of CPAs. And since numbers are the game here, try on these stats for the Times readership as listed in the paper’s media kit:

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 3.02.20 PM

Got that? Net worth $1,045,515? (Love the median principal home value.) Does that look like the profile of someone who needs to feed the pig?

Hell, half of them are the pig.

But maybe there’s another reason this ad ran in the Times. Let’s see how the Ad Council described the campaign.

Saving is a Top Priority for Millennials, but Two-Thirds Say Impulse Spending is a Major Barrier

Feed the Pig Campaign from AICPA and the Ad Council Collaborates with Facebook, Games for Change and IFTTT to Help Young Adults Adopt Positive Saving Habits

New York, March 24,2016: According to a new survey from the Saving-is-a-Top-Priority-for-Millennials-but-Two-Thirds-Say-Impulse-Spending-is-a-Major-BarrierAmerican Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Ad Council, one in three millennials (34 percent) ranked saving as their number one goal for the year – ahead of living a healthy lifestyle (20 percent), paying off debt (19 percent), and losing weight (14 percent). But while saving was atop priority, a majority of millennials attributed their lack of saving to impulse buying (65 percent).

Aha! They’re going after millennials! Except . . . . do millennials actually read the Times in print? (The Times media kit claims 35.9% of readers are between the ages of 18 and 34, but 1) we’re guessing that percentage is pretty top-heavy, and 2) the numbers seem to combine print and online readership, so who knows?)

Anyway, shouldn’t the ad run in – hell, what do millennials read in print? The Ad Council oughta look into that.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Comes Between Calvin Klein and Controversy? Nothing.

There’s been a fair amount of pearl-clutching this past week over the new Calvin Klein ad campaign, described thusly by Bethan Holt in The Telegraph.

Calvin Klein launches predictably provocative advertising campaign. But can sex still shock?


Calvin Klein’s new advertising campaign is boldly entitled Erotica. In the images shot by photographer Tyrone Lebon whose work is renowned for being raw and candid, supermodel Kendall Jenner squeezes half a grapefruit so that it resembles a vagina. In another image, actress Abbey Lee Kershaw is shown with her hands clasped inside her CK pants. Meanwhile actress Klara Kristen is pictured with the camera gazing up her dress in a predatory manner to show the underwear between her legs.

But, as Holt notes, “As I write these descriptions, I realise that the pictures should shock me. But they don’t. As they popped up on my facebook feed as I scrolled through this morning, I barely registered their provocativeness.”

Not even this belfie.




Whenever discussing Calvin Klein ads, of course, the control group is this fabled 1980 Brooke Shields TV spot.



But that’s small bare compared to CK’s 1995 chicken-hawk porn campaign.



The marketing of CK Jeans has always been about alienating adults, thereby attracting teens. We’ll see if that formula still works in an age of Internet porn and Facebook friending by your Mom, yeah?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weiner? Wiener? Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

The hardchuckling staff has no idea who put these two ads together in yesterday’s New York Times Summer Movies section, but we thoroughly approve.


Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 2.34.10 PM


Just to be clear: Weiner is a documentary about “disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s mayoral campaign and the landscape of today’s political landscape.” Whatever the hell that means.




Wiener-Dog, on the other hand, “[c]hronicles the life of a dog as it travels around the country, spreading comfort and joy.” So no real spot for the soi-disant Carlos Danger there, right?

Wait! Maybe there is a connection.

From the New York Post’s Page Six two months ago:

Carlos Danger wants to sell you a hot dog

The disgraced former congressman responded to Burger King’s Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 3.55.31 PMannouncement Wednesday that rapper Snoop Dogg would be their spokesperson for the forthcoming launch of grilled hot dogs at the venerable fast food joint.

“OK, I gotta admit Snoop is a brilliant pick for this,” he tweeted. “But I can think of one guy woulda been better.”

Actually, no.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Weekly Standard Pimps Out Its Cover and Writers – Again!

This is getting to be a habit, no?

As the hardworking staff has repeatedly noted, The Weekly Standard has lately become a marketing chippy for its owner Philip Anschutz, who also owns Xanterra Parks & Resorts.

As we wrote earlier:

The Weekly Standard has taken to pimping out its editorial content and its writers to Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the major concessionaire at U.S. National Parks.

At that point, we sent an email to Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, who has of course not deigned to respond to us.

So this time we’re emailing Geoffrey Norman, whose work we greatly admire but who has been knee-deep in this aditorial series, having written about Death Valley, Zion National Park, and, in this latest edition, the Grand Canyon.


Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 12.48.03 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 12.48.16 PM


The money (at least for Philip Anschutz) quote, which turns up in one form or another in all of the Xanterra branded content pieces:

It’s impossible to describe the majesty of it. The mix of colors on the opposite side, the great depth that the Colorado River has carved through the stone walls, down into the earth’s vitals, the play of light and shadow. The sheer, undeniable immensity.

Just no way. You must see it for yourself, as Teddy Roosevelt said every American must.

Right in the middle of the four-page spread “Celebrating 100 Years of the National Parks Service Sponsored by Xanterra and Produced by The Weekly Standard” comes this ad-within-the-ad:


Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 12.48.40 PM


Don’t get us wrong: This is a terrific piece that nicely captures the grandeur of the Grand Canyon.

But in the end it’s marketing material, not editorial content.

So we sent this email to Geoffrey Norman:

Dear Mr. Norman,

[We] greatly admire your work and have learned a tremendous amount from your Weekly Standard pieces about both the Civil War and World War I.

But your recent pieces for the magazine’s celebration of the National Parks Service (which are excellent in their own right) make [us] wonder: Are you comfortable producing what is essentially marketing material masquerading as editorial content?

[We] don’t mean to be disrespectful. [We’re] just concerned about the inexorable blurring of the line between advertising and editorial content. (See here for further details.)


[The hardworking staff]

We’ll let you know if he gets back to us.

Meanwhile, in the same edition, The Weekly Standard also leased out its front cover, just as it did two months ago. This time the buyer was the execrable corporate gunsel Rick Berman, whose Employee Rights Act front group has been for months exploiting the legacy of Jackie Robinson in its campaign to suppress increases in the minimum wage.

Here’s the cover the front group purchased:


Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 12.46.48 PM


The stealth marketing effort was a four-page wraparound but we’ll omit the other three, lest we do Berman’s dirty work for him. Regardless, our beef isn’t really with Berman who, like the scorpion, does what he does. Our beef is with The Weekly Standard, of which we are a charter subscriber and from which we expect better.

Or at least used to.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wall Street Journal Launches Heat Street: ‘News. Fired Up.’

The Weekend Wall Journal featured this quarter-page ad for HeatStreet.com – the second time it’s run in the Journal in the past few weeks.




The site – a product of Dow Jones & Company, parent of the WSJ and a wholly owned subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch – looks like the Journal on amphetamines.

Home page, Tuesday 1:40 am:


Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 1.39.48 AM


Better question: Was Prince actually Tourettic?

From Jonathan Lethem’s wonderful novel, Motherless Brooklyn, whose narrator has Tourette’s syndrome:

I don’t know whether The Artist Formerly Known As Prince is Tourettic or obsessive-compulsive in his human life, but I know for certain he is deeply so in the life of his work. Music has never made much of an impact on me until the day in 1986 when, sitting in the passenger seat of Minna’s Cadillac, I first heard the single “Kiss” squirting its manic way out of the car radio. To that point in my life I might have once or twice heard music that toyed with feelings of claustrophobic discomfort and expulsive release, and which in so doing passingly charmed my Tourette’s, gulled it with a sense of recognition, like Art Carney or Daffy Duck — but here was a song that lived entirely in that territory, guitar and voice twitching and throbbing withing obsessively delineated bounds, alternately silent and plosive. It so pulsed with Torettic energies that I could surrender to its tormented squeaky beat and let my syndrome live outside my brain for once, live in the air instead.

Anyway . . .

Here’s another snapshot of Heat Street:


Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 12.53.04 AM


And here’s how conservative stalwart Washington Times sees it.

Just launched: Right-leaning news site Heat Street vows to ‘mock the mainstream’


The sparse media marketplace dedicated to the needs of conservatives, right-leaners and liberty-minded folk just got a little larger. Ambitious and toting a little kryptonite: That would be Heat Street, an ambitious new online news site launched Monday by Dow Jones & Company, which also publishes The Wall Street Journal.

Ah, but step carefully. Editors Louise Mensch and Noah Kotch warn that Heat Street “is not a safe place. The pomposity of self-regarding, self-conscious, self-abusing journalists will be absent from our pages.”

We’ll see if self-regarding, self-conscious, self-abusing readers will follow suit.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments