Are Brands Compromising Their Morals to Increase Sales?
As pop-culture and celebrity gossip blogs continue to see increased traffic, particularly with the youth demographic, advertisers’ views on what counts as acceptable have started to change. Given the uneasy economic climate and tightening budgets, it’s become increasingly important for mainstream brands to be mindful of where their ad dollars are going. As a result, following the crowds, even if that means entering non-traditional venues on the web with less respectable material, makes a good deal of sense. Despite the inherent logic of this move, some in the media still question whether this issue has more to do with negligent ad networks than with any real shift in attitude. In either case, it’s always been a challenge for manufacturers to reach a new audience without alienating their loyal base. The takeaway from this seems to be that a quality product or service will go a long towards keeping your customers regardless of the occasional media misstep.
In recent weeks, ads for Days Inn and Samsung have popped up on the blog Egotastic!, known for its photos of underwear-shedding pop stars. Aside from ads for P&G brands, AOL’s considerably more PG-13 TMZ.com has sported banners from Wal-Mart and Verizon. Last Thursday, WWTDD, which revels in disparaging celebrities, carried promotional ads for NBC’s 30 Rock.
Digital buyers report that across several categories—particularly movie studios and products that target younger consumers—brands have come to terms with whatever reservations they might have once had about the content of such sites, as they simply cannot ignore the passionate following the sites have built.