In a post earlier today, I argued that there is no difference between Lucy & Desi promoting cigarettes on their TV show, and a blogger talking about K Mart on his blog.
Not everyone agrees with me, however. Stowe Boyd:
That was in the era of payola: it was a commonplace. It is less acceptable now, just like smoking indoors and trying to hook kids on cigarettes.
There is still a place for celebrity endorsements -- Clive Owen wearing a Tag watch in a magazine ad -- because the placement with a gazillionaire is understood to be totally mercantile, and everyone knows he can afford any damn watch he wants. And he has sixty of them. It's a no op.
But for a opinion leader to do this raises [too] many questions, in today's world.
I've been thinking, however, and have realized that there are modern-day occurrences in which this practice still happens, and is totally accepted. I alluded to it in my earlier post:
Or just listen to any talk radio show for more than a half an hour and see how many products are being hawked there.
This applies to both political talk radio and sports talk radio, and for that matter news radio. I live in the Los Angeles area, and I have heard repeated commercials from Bill Handel, John Kobylt, Tony Bruno, various traffic reporters, Vic "the Brick" Jacobs, and so forth. Here are there we have some exceptions - I don't think I've ever heard a commercial from Gene "Bean" Baxter, for example - but I don't think less of, say, Richard Blade for doing commercial work when Bean doesn't.
In fact, KLAC AM 570 has even changed their format; while claiming that they only have two commercial breaks every hour, you'll find Petros Papadakis or Matt "Money" Smith suddenly launching into a commercial in the middle of their conversation - frankly, it's just like the radio and TV shows during the 1940s and the 1950s.
Well. If people argue that bloggers who are paid per post are diminishing their credibility and authority, then what will happen when the same people go after the radio guys who are doing commercials all the time?
(heard recently on a non-existent radio station)
Hello, I'm Will Offthehandle from radio station K-DOLLAR, and in this commercial message I'd like to talk to you about 405 Internet Service Providers, providing you with the fastest and more reliable high-speed Internet service on the west side of - hey! Who's that guy?
YOU CAN'T DO THAT!
YOU CAN'T DIMINISH YOUR REPUTATION AS A TALK SHOW HOST BY PIMPING 405 INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS!
Listen, buster, in case you don't know, advertisers pay the bills around here! I'm just doing a commercial.
COMMERCIALS ARE OK, BUT YOU SHOULDN'T BE DOING THEM.
NO, COMMERCIALS SHOULD BE DONE BY A THIRD PARTY, NOT ASSOCIATED WITH THE ON-AIR STAFF OF THE RADIO STATION.
And why not?
BECAUSE USE OF ON-AIR HOSTS FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES REDUCES THE TRUSTWORTHINESS OF THE ON-AIR HOSTS TO ZERO. IF YOUR VOICE IS USED TO PROMOTE SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BEING PAID FOR IT, THAT'S - WELL, THAT'S PAYOLA!
Hey, the folks at K-DOLLAR are presumably intelligent enough to realize when I'm doing something for pay, and when I'm just venting my own opinion.
I'M SORRY, BUT YOUR ACTIONS ARE COMPLETELY UNCONSCIONABLE.
But I engaged in complete disclosure!
SORRY, BUT...I CAN NO LONGER TRUST YOU ANY MORE! (SNIFF)
Listen, buster, let me do my commercial, and why don't you just relax? Go watch a movie or something. I hear "You've Got Mail" is playing. Sphere: Related Content