This happens to be a 2-page spread ad. in the latest issue of Tamil weekly magazine, Ananda Vikatan. Nothing wrong with it, except the fact that there is no mention that it is an advertisement.

Yes, there is a small footer on the bottom right that says, ‘NANO/12’, but that doesn’t say ‘ADVT.’ as it usually should. The blurb on the top left is actually the Tamil version of ‘Spot Light’. The headline is ‘Nano and Me’ and the entire piece is one unabashed Tata Nano love-fest by someone named Karthikeyan, from Vellore in Madurai district.

The text near the headline says, in English, ‘A sentimental experience by a reader’! A ‘reader’ (Vaasagar, in Tamil) here clearly implies reader of Vikatan as a magazine!!

I’m surprised Vikatan even allowed such a blatant, TOI-style ad. spot in its magazine. Even more surprised that Tata had to resort to something like this. Are there more such ads in other regional language publications too?

Yes, the font is mildly different from the rest of the text elsewhere in the magazine, but this also happens to be an issue of Vikatan that announces in its front page that it carries a new layout. There is every reason anyone can mistake this 2-pager for an editorial write-up as part of the new layout, in slightly different font and format. And that ‘Spot Light’ could easily mean the Vikatan editorial offering the spot-light on one particular brand of car where a customer goes ga-ga over it!

As much as we get annoyed with dailies like The Times of India passing off advertisements as editorial, this instance in one of the most respected Tamil weekly magazine like Vikatan is most shocking… at least to loyal fans of the magazine… like me.

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