Sunday, November 30, 2008

BoSacks Speaks Out: ASME Sets New Edit-Ad Guidelines

BoSacks Speaks Out; As the article suggests, the jury is still out on whether ASME will tighten or loosen the rules for keeping ads and edit apart.

Here is a firm promise and a prediction from BoSacks: if they loosen the rules, I will go editorially and ferociously ballistic. The industry has been on the edge of having or not having integrity for years. If the American Society of Magazine Editors takes the low road and decides that honor and integrity need have no place in the magazine industry, then they will surely reap what they sow.

There are reasons for the separation of church and state in both government and publishing. Integrity is a simple thing, and I make it a practice not to do business with those to whom integrity is a missing component. It's a simple rule and one that the public understands as well. It seems that the various divisions of our beloved industry each has their own nail for the coffin of our demise.

What do you think? Should we loosen the rules? Should we at last finally become known as advertorial media?

I ran the wrong kind of business, but I did it with integrity.
Sydney Biddle Barrows, ''Mayflower Madam' Tells All,' Boston Globe, 1986

Mag Bag: ASME Sets New Edit-Ad Guidelines
by Erik Sass,

The American Society of Magazine Editors is tweaking the rulebook for keeping edit and ad content separate, according to a story in Adweek earlier this week. The new rules should be ready for approval by ASME's board by the middle of next year.

The exact substance of the changes--stricter or looser standards--is unclear. On the one hand, ASME's current chief executive Sid Holt conceded: "We've had situations where we've seen violations of the spirit of the guidelines, but not the guidelines themselves"--seeming to suggest that new stringency is in order. On the other hand, "we want them to be more industry-friendly in that they make sense to editors and advertisers alike."

So what "makes sense"? If recent moves by ASME members are anything to judge by, the new guidelines will loosen restrictions on integration of advertising into magazine cover art and headlines. This is one area where advertisers have been especially aggressive with their demands for more mingling of advertising and editorial content.

For example, the September issue of Esquire featured a blinking, flashing electronic display designed by E-ink and sponsored by Ford, although Ford was not mentioned on the cover. The high-profile cover led directly to a Ford ad spread in the front of the magazine that takes credit for the innovative front. The August 10 issue of The New York Times Magazine came with a cover wrap purchased by U.S. Trust, Bank of America's private-wealth management division, to promote its philanthropic financial products.

Last December, New York magazine sold a four-page cover wrap to the New Museum. Last year, Harper's Bazaar delivered 5,000 VIP copies that came embedded with "crystals"--courtesy of Swarovski, also an advertiser. In 2005, The New Yorker produced a single-sponsor issue for Target that incorporated the Target logo's distinctive red-and-white coloring on the cover as well as inside the magazine.

Requests for integration are attractive to magazines, given the drop in ad revenue. Through November, total ad pages are down 8.5% at over 200 weekly and monthly titles tracked by MIN Online.

1 comment:

Lisa Romeo said...

Of course I'm with you and hope ASME does not loosen the standards (thought I suspect they will), but I must say I do so like it when you "go editorially and ferociously ballistic."