Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Borrowed credibility gone too far

I was away sick yesterday which meant that between bouts of coughing and the consumption of antibiotics as big as horse tranquilisers, I dozed in front of the TV for most of the day.

This also meant I was privy to a lot of daytime advertising.... and I observed something interesting.

We are all familiar with Brand Power and Zoot Review. These 'endorsement' style interstitials have been around for a long time and have proven quite successful for many FMCG brands. What I noticed yesterday thoguh is that the Australian Women's Weekly now broadcast similar ads on not just Nine, but also Channel 7 and Ten. In fact with only one ad in between, I saw an AWW endorsed spot followed by an Infocus Segment (Ch7's version) and both of these were within the New Idea program.

This posed a few questions for me:
1. Were the drugs making me dellusional? (a quick referral to the EPG proved no)
2. Why were SMG Red and Ten allowing AWW to endorse products on their channels? Are they desperate for ad revenue?
3. Don't the traffic team notice that such clashes exist and that clients may not be happy about it?
4. What does this mean for the credibility of the 'endorsed' interstitial? Will their cut-through diminish? Will their trustworthiness decline?

It all seems a bit odd to me. The beauty of borrowed credibility is that it is usually somewhat exclusive. What I saw yesterday was a slap in the face for both advertisers and consumers. The endorsement seemed obviously paid for and entirely fake given the proximity to similar ads.

Whilst in the past I have been an advocate of this style of ad for my clients after yesterday's experience, I won't be recommending 'endorsed' interstitials for my clients anytime soon.

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