Controversy on Your Site? Let Your Advertisers Know

Planning something controversial on your Web site? Better let your advertisers
know in advance.


A new survey says that a substantial majority of national advertisers want to
be notified in advance of any potentially controversial print or broadcast
content. Presumably, the same would apply to Web advertising.


While 94% want to be tipped off to controversy, only 36% of the advertisers
believe they have any influence over editorial or program content, according
to a survey conducted by the American Association of
Advertising Agencies
.


The debate over advanced notification surfaced last year after the Wall
Street
Journal
disclosed that a major advertiser, Chrysler Corp., was
demanding to
know the contents of magazine articles in advance of publication.


Groups representing both magazine editors and publishers issued a joint
statement calling for editorial independence and Chrysler later backed off.


Marshall Loeb, editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and former
editor of
Fortune magazine, said the wall between editorial and advertising
must not be breached.


“I do not want advertisers in any way to express strong feelings about things
we should not cover,” he told Reuters.
But he quickly drew a distinction between “fact-based” publications in
which journalistic standards are applied and media with other forms of
content, such as entertainment.


The AAAA survey covered about 50 of the association’s member’s clients who
spend some $10 billion on media advertising annually.


Forty-five percent of those surveyed said Internet advertising will become a
significant segment of their advertising budget. Of those, 23% said it was
happening now, 50% said within two to five years, and 27% said in the next
5 to
10 years.

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