Will the annoying practice of product placement soon breach the church-state walls separating editorial and advertising at our nation's chaste magazines? If Sears, Roebuck media planner Matthew Spahn gets his way, sure.
"They still think in terms of advertorials," which, he said, "doesn't feel like part of the fabric" of editorial.
"It's a huge challenge for magazines," Mr. Spahn conceded, but he added "they've got to figure this out. We are getting a little frustrated, frankly, trying to get them there."
The whole Ad Age article is pretty interesting, for those curious about such things, and includes this bit of dish on the lad-mag Maxim:
Dave Itzkoff, a former editor of Maxim who left that title in the summer of 2002, said that during production editorial pages "were reviewed by someone in the ad department, who would scan for mentions of any brand-name product." If advertisers' products were mentioned "in any disparaging way, [the ad staffer] would approach to say, 'Please delete it' " or make the reference more generic. And "if we mentioned a product in a favorable light that was not an advertiser" the ad-side would request "to find a competing product who is an advertiser" and change the reference that advertiser. Mr. Itzkoff said these requests resulted in several instances to editorial changes.
There are fervent denials from Maxim as well. Of course, newsprint, so often maligned as yesterday's technology, has one of the best built-in defenses for maintaining the Chinese Wall—you can't make hyperlinks. (Link via I Want Media)