Friday, August 12, 2005

Good ads, bad behavior

Later today I'm going to run out and buy a copy of "Entertainment Weekly." I've never read the thing before, and may never do so again, but there's an ad running in this week's issue that I have to see.
Here's how the Wall Street Journal describes it: "The ad appears in three parts: The front and back covers will fold out, and the middle of the magazine will feature a two-page center spread devoted to the series (HBO's "Rome." ) By folding the pages in various ways, readers can mix and match scenes in the three sections to form six different configurations."
I mention this because good advertising -- which, by the way, I seldom see in print or online -- pleases me. I'm one of those folks who like TV commercials. I accept them as a distinct medium that attracts talented people. I see dozens of TV ads that I enjoy. And I celebrate the creativity that goes into the good ones.
And good advertising is becoming more important for journalists -- because good advertising is a defense against unethical behavior. If the ads in our magazines and Web sites are compelling and engaging, then the advertisers will get their money's worth. And if our advertisers are satisfied, they won't pressure the editorial side to engage in unprofessional and immoral behavior.
Folio magazine has a piece this week on ASBPE's decision to rewrite its ethics guidelines (DISCLOSURE: the Folio article refers to this blog.) I called on ASBPE to revamp its rules recently, and celebrated when the group announced its plans.
This is a crucial time in B2B media, and I applaud ASBPE (and ABM) for holding the line on journalism ethics. I'd urge everyone in editorial to follow ASBPE's progress as it enters this next stage of the good fight.
I'd also urge everyone in editorial to get a copy of Entertainment Weekly. Look at that ad. Pass it around to your advertising sales staff. Start a conversation. This is a tough time in the media business. So we should take the time to encourage and support those folks on the business side who are willing to look for solutions in creativity, not in ethical shortcuts.

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