A new survey is reporting that about 19% of organizations that engage in marketing have come to on sort of arrangement or another with the media, under which they receive favorable news coverage in exchange for buying advertising. The info came from the sixth annual Marketing Management Survey, conducted by Millward Brown on behalf of PRWeek and Manning Selvage & Lee. 252 marketing execs were surveyed.
“Without full disclosure and transparency, media lose credibility and their value as an unbiased source of information for consumers,” said Mark Hass of MS&L. “That a substantial number of marketers – about one in every five – engage in ‘pay-for-play’ year after year is even more troubling, and that much more damaging to the credibility of news media.”
The study paid particular attention to the use of internet media. Hass noted that the digital space opens up “…whole new unsettling platform for marketers who are willing to engage unethically.”
RBR/TVBR observation: This is one of FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein’s pet areas of concern, moving into the class of concerns which also includes payola, pay-for-say and product placement. With the internet focusing a spotlight here in brand news ways, look for the noise around this issue to increase.