MPA Launches 'Believe It' Ad Campaign To Fight Fake News

The magazine industry is fighting back against the spread of fake news.

Some 123 magazine brands from 30 of MPA – The Association of Magazine Media’s member companies have joined forces to launch an advertising campaign to assure both marketers and consumers of the trust and brand safety of magazine media.

The goal is to bring attention to the credibility of magazine content — how it is thoroughly researched, fact-checked, curated and produced.

It will be the largest campaign of its sort for the magazine media industry, in terms of the number of titles participating, the reach of Americans and the dollar value. The campaign, which is called “Magazine Media. Better. Believe It.” is estimated to reach 75% of U.S. adults.



Though MPA says it won't know the full dollar equivalent until the campaign has finished its run, from this month through March 2018 in both print and digital properties, the campaign has already surpassed $20 million in advertising.

“In a media world where three-out-of-four Americans say they have fallen for fake headlines, and marketers as well as consumers are challenging the legitimacy of many media outlets, we believe it is imperative to remind our customers about the tremendous resources the industry puts behind our content platforms,” stated Linda Thomas Brooks, president and CEO of MPA – The Association of Magazine Media.

The ad campaign poses eight attention-grabbing questions — such as “Can you believe what you read?” and “Been fooled by fake content?” — followed by a blurb on why magazine media is trustworthy and reliable.

“In an age of confusion, it is important to convey the power and professionalism of magazine media, driving home the fact that our industry provides news and information that both consumers and marketers can trust,” stated Michael Clinton, president and marketing and publishing director of Hearst Magazines.

While MPA is spearheading the campaign, it is an industry-wide effort. There are no MPA logos on the ads.

The companies participating in the advertising campaign include America Media, American Media, AMG Parade, Active Interest Media, AFAR Media, Bonnier, Condé Nast, The Economist Group, Forbes Media, Garden & Gun, Harper’s, Hearst Magazines, HistoryNet, Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group, Ink Global, Mariah Media, Meredith Corp., The Nation, National Geographic, New York Media, Ogden Publications, Pride Media, Rodale, Smithsonian Media, TEN: The Enthusiast Network, This Old House Ventures, Time Inc., Today Media, Trusted Media Brands and Weight Watchers.

Meredith, for example, has 16 brands participating, including Better Homes & Gardens, EatingWell, Family Circle, Martha Stewart Living, Midwest Living, Parents, Rachael Ray Every Day, SHAPE and Traditional Home.

In a LinkedIn post titled “All Content Is Not Created Equal,” Thomas Brooks wrote: “Magazine media content faces intense scrutiny, and in large part, that is the secret sauce of these brands. By imposing extreme rigor, discipline and standards upon content creation, magazine brands do a better job of putting information in context and deliver a level of superior quality that readers have come to expect and trust in their everyday lives."

The message of the campaign could not come at a more crucial period in American media. The horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday night unleashed a torrent of fake news stories, which spread like wildfire on social media. In some cases, they were even briefly picked up by mainstream media.

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