Even as the industry expresses shock at advertiser-supported publications selling advertising space to advertisers, magazines and newspapers are tripping over one another to actually, openly, shamelessly put editorial for sale. They call it "native advertising." The mechanism is that the publications' credibility -- and the readers' trust -- transfers to the masquerading advertiser. It is scandalous and ruinous, yet regarded with a shrug throughout the media and ad industries, because -- after all -- we need the money.
It is remarkable how much certainty there is in the world. For instance, consider the conventional wisdom of Jill Abramson's sudden departure from "The New York Times": Abramson was fired because there is a gender double standard that rewards tyrannical men and punishes "brusque" women. The first three words of the sentence are true. So are the last 14. The one word that may not be true -- and I certainly don't know -- is "because."
It would be pointless to gather the CEOS of Publicis and Omnicom to discuss their broken engagement, or their chief competitor at WPP. Why go through the nuisance of getting them in the same room if they can't be trusted to say what they are really thinking? So I offer an exclusive interview with John Wren and Maurice Levy -- plus one special-guest knight -- conducted without, technically, "speaking to them."
In the annual ritual of news organizations hosting celebrities and government officials for a let-your-hair-down evening of entertainment and self-importance, it was super fun to see which journalists were passing the butter to which Hollywood stars and senior officials who otherwise wouldn't give them the time of day.
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