Advertising

By Tim Graham | February 14, 2014 | 8:24 AM EST

NPR is branding itself for Valentine's Day with social-media Valentine's Day messages. After some seriously lame puns with names of NPR personalities, the most liberal-friendly one states "Make my world more just, verdant, and peaceful."

For NPR regulars, this is a wisecrack about the "underwriting announcement" of the leftist John D. and Catherine T. McArthur Foundation, where the announcer says on a very regular basis they are "committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world" at macfound.org.

By Tim Graham | January 2, 2014 | 1:51 PM EST

Ana Radelat at Advertising Age magazine revealed that in the year after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, gun-control groups spent $14.1 million on TV advertising, compared to just $1.9 million by gun-rights organizations – a 7-to-1 advantage.

Radelat added that the National Rifle Association spent $6.2 million on lobbying, which “may have been the better tactic – especially in a quiet election year.” Gun-control bills failed to pass Congress.

By Tim Graham | November 27, 2013 | 2:53 PM EST

NB reader Gary Hall reports "It's not unusual to see a fake wrap front page at the LAT's - that's a full page ad that you peel off an throw away. Sometimes it's a half page that's wrapped around."  (Washington Post readers often have a sticker advertisement pasted on the front page.)

But Wednesday's Los Angeles Times is dominated by an ad for the Disney cartoon movie "Frozen." This is the first time Gary remembers seeing this kind of promotion. (Visual here.)

By Kristine Marsh | October 22, 2013 | 2:17 PM EDT

Pepsi and pop stars don’t mix, according to one food police group.

The D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ran a full page “open letter” in Variety, telling pop singer Katy Perry to stop her work with Pepsi, on account of her influencing young fans. CSPI warned Perry that, “Soda companies are using you and other celebrities.” The letter then bashed her for not caring about her fans. ‘‘Drink Pepsi and you can be cool like Katy Perry’ is the takeaway message for your young fans. ‘Live for now’ – and worry about the health consequences later.” The letter ended by urging her not to “exploit that popularity by marketing a product that causes disease in your fans.”

By Tim Graham | September 23, 2013 | 6:56 AM EDT

NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos addressed the issue of bias, but only on whether NPR should accept “enhanced underwriting” – commercials – from Al-Jazeera America. The advocate for the listeners told them they don't have "free speech values."

He basically said critics of the network are destroyers of free speech, and should stop complaining: “Whether NPR should even accept the sponsorship from Al Jazeera is a separate matter of management policy that is outside my purview. But I do have a vital interest in anything that restricts free speech, and this essentially is what the complaining listeners want to do.” The question of an anti-American bias is irrelevant:

By Ken Shepherd | September 10, 2013 | 6:08 PM EDT

The liberal website Talking Points Memo [see screen capture below] is accepting and running advertisements for a company called Freak Flags, a California outfit which creates flags designed like the U.S. flag but with the stars in the canton pushed off the side of the blue field, while symbols like the Star of David, Christian cross, or the U.S. dollar sign are emblazoned in the center. The idea of each is a left-wing critique of those who "put Israel first" or "put Jesus first" or "put Wall St. first," respectively.

But a review of the company's website's blog reveals some anti-Semitic rantings regarding the president's call for airstrikes in Syria.

By Jeffrey Meyer | July 31, 2013 | 11:41 AM EDT

The Anthony Weiner scandal has gotten so ridiculous that even MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts can’t control himself. Appearing on MSNBC on July 30, Roberts responded to a clip of Weiner’s sexting partner appearing with Howard Stern that “this chick is bats**t.

The woman who’s real name is Sydney Leathers -- yes, that's her real name, stop laughing --  called out Anthony Weiner, who claimed since his original sexting scandal, has changed. Leathers’ response, “bulls***. I’m proof that you have not changed.” [See video below.  Audio here.]

By Lauren Enk | July 17, 2013 | 12:57 PM EDT

When a singer releases a lewd, explicit, misogynistic song complete with pornographic music video through your big-name store, what do you do? Endorse it, of course! 

 At least, that’s how Target responded to the release of Robin Thicke’s new album “Blurred Lines,” which has stirred criticism even from liberal critics for its obviously exploitative treatment of women, even to the point of being called a rape song. As we all know, sex sells, so Target’s response wasn’t to drop the hip-hop singer or even this particular album. Instead, on July 16, Target tweeted excited hype for the repulsive song: “We can't wait for @robinthicke's new album, Blurred Lines. Pre-order now to get 3 bonus tracks, only at yours truly!”

By Mark Finkelstein | July 1, 2013 | 7:23 AM EDT

News organizations gotta pay the bills. Nothing's more normal than a newspaper, magazine or website—NewsBusters included—selling advertising, including ads by political or issue-advocacy groups.

But somehow it felt different to have opened my morning email from Mike Allen's "Politico Playbook" and find this message [screencap after jump] at the very top: "POLITICO Playbook, presented by the Rights and Responsibilities Tour by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly." Allen's column often features ads from issue-advocacy groups, ranging across the issue spectrum.  But to so identify the column with sponsorship by one side of a controversial political issue would seem to raise serious journalistic issues.  More after the jump.

By Mark Finkelstein | April 18, 2013 | 7:42 AM EDT

In the health-care insurance debate, one of the mantras of the left is to condemn those evil, greedy insurance companies that would charge higher rates to people with "pre-existing conditions."

But in a commercial aired on last night's Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, there was "Progressive Insurance," whose chairman Peter Lewis is a huge donor to liberal causes including Moveon.org, condemning as "rate suckers" people with bad driving records who drive up good drivers' rates!  View the video after the jump.

By Ken Shepherd | April 4, 2013 | 6:33 PM EDT

On March 23, my colleague Mark Finkelstein noted how MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry considers the unborn child a "thing" which takes a "lot of money" to "turn into a human," costing thousands of dollars to care for each year of his/her life. Now it appears that Harris-Perry thinks that, after they're born, children fundamentally belong to the state.

Narrating a new MSNBC "Lean Forward" spot, the Tulane professor laments that we in America  "haven't had a very collective notion that these are our children." "[W]e have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to their communities," Harris-Perry argued.

By Julia A. Seymour | March 13, 2013 | 2:53 PM EDT

“Large sugary drinks” got a reprieve this week after a judge struck down New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on drinks above a certain size and in only some dining establishments. But sugar is still under attack according to Advertising Age magazine.

The cover story of the magazine’s March 11, 2013, issue was headlined “Public Enemy No. 1,” and warned marketers to “beware” because “sugar may be the next regulatory target.”