Advertising guidelines greeted in new reality

The American Society of Magazine Editors has updated its guidelines for keeping advertising and editorial separate for the first time in five years, focusing mainly on the use of “false covers, cover flaps, sponsored sections and advertising adjacencies … to help publishers work effectively with marketers without compromising the relationship between editor and reader.”

The guidelines are meant to ensure that readers can tell the difference between editorial content and ads, the group’s CEO, Sid Holt, told MediaWeek.

“But,” says MediaWeek, “with magazines scrapping for every ad they can get and to compete with digital and broadcast media, where interruptive ads and product placement abound, publishers, advertisers and even some editors have expressed doubts about the relevance of the guidelines.”

Robin Steinberg, director of print investment and activation at MediaVest, said the guidelines make magazines less competitive. “This continues to hold a noose around our neck,” she said.

Violation of the guidelines results in disqualification from ASME’s National Magazine Awards and a “stern letter” from the group.

ASME  is also revising its digital guidelines to reflect the growing use of invasive and interruptive ads online and federal rules requiring bloggers to disclose commercial ties. That process is expected to be finished later this year, MediaWeek says.


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