The caption is priceless marketing…no, advertising speak. ‘Make you a star’? ‘Improved fits’? ‘Great prices’? Is Times of India endorsing the quality of the products at Big Bazaar? Should a consumer make Times of India a party in case of a consumer court lawsuit when he/ she’s not satisfied with a product from Big Bazaar?
Hey, don’t look at me – look at this piece – there’s no mention anywhere that this is advertising.
One prominent social media guru adds an Amazon affiliate link in one of his posts about a product he liked – and the whole web pounced on him that he’s lost his credibility because he did not disclose his affiliate link and that it could possibly color his reviews!
Pardon me for harping on the authenticity issue yet again, but this is incredible. A single guy on social media is expected to disclose his connections but a humongous publishing group can go scot-free making ads look like news pieces?
What about the plight of all those PR agencies who are trying Twitter for the first time and merely go about posting their clients’ press releases in the name of a tweet? Agreed – its a terrible way to use (abuse?) twitter, but they’re seen as fooling their (non-existent) followers by not adding a small ‘disclosure – client’ note in their tweets. Huh? This authenticity thingy works only online is it? In the real world, its simply buyer (reader) beware, is it?
I’ve seen these Big Bazaar’s ad-like news pieces in Bangalore Times earlier – Times Group may well have that dreaded Private Treaties agreement with The Future Group. Or even that much-riled Medianet deal. And I’m quite sure most metro-based readers can and will see the difference between a paid-spot that masquerades as a news item and an actual advertisement. But such blatant misuse of media is really a pity. Is not adding a ‘ADVT.’ in fine print on one corner of this piece part of the deal and that omission worth a few crores?
What next? Change your mast head to a brand that pays you the most?