Monday, June 9, 2008

Is It a Breach of Journalistic Integrity or Smart Marketing Research?

PHILADELPHIA MEDIA HOLDINGS, owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com ran fake ads for a faux-airline last week.

The ads for Derrie-Air (say it again slowly) offered flight prices based upon the combined weight of you and your luggage.

"There are two purposes to it,"
a PMH spokesman told Editor & Publisher. "One is to try to put a smile on people's faces and have some fun. And to demonstrate the power of our brands, in print and online, to drive traffic awareness -- in this case for a brand that doesn’t exist and is fictitious."

Is this a violation of reader trust or just good fun?

3 comments:

danielle h said...

I definitely think it's all good fun, but what alarms me is the fact that newspapers even feel the need to pull such gimicks in order to get short-term attention. Sure, their website probably received 10x the amount of traffic than usual, but how does that help newspaper journalism in the longrun?

But on a side note, this airline would definitely give me another reason to slim down before a big vacation.

Jeff Frandsen said...

It's neither a violation of trust nor good fun. It's called great market research. With newspaper revenue down, more and more research is necessary to help the ad dollars keep flowing.

Tony Azzaro said...

I feel like these kind of ads or quirks of fun can just be good humor, as long as it is stated somewhere on the page (see fine print!) that the ad is a hoax and just meant to put a smile on peoples' faces. Everyone likes to smile, and personally, I love making others smile so why keep people from bringing a little laughter into the world?