Advertisement or Editorial?
Determining what is an advertisement and what is an advertorial can sometimes be difficult, particularly when advertorial is used. Advertorial is generally an advertisement.
Some people believe advertorial is a recent phenomenon but this is not so. Arguably, the doyen of advertorial was Aunt Daisy in the 1940's and 50's with her popular morning radio programme.
To assist the Advertising Standards Complaints Board with defining the difference between advertorial and advertising, Board Member Terry Snow and Don Churchill wrote a paper that was referred to the ASA. The recommendations have been accepted by the ASA. These recommendations along with preliminary comments are set out below and will be applied by the ASCB.
Defining Advertorial and Editorial
AND EDITORIAL TESTS
6.3 The editorial test is: Does a feature or programme come under No 2? It most probably will if it is independently generated by the newspaper/television broadcaster without reference to the advertiser.
6.4 The corollary to No 2 is that the advertiser pays to ensure there is no critical view in the presentation, which runs counter to the advertising aims. Therefore, the advertiser has oversight of the copy, final approval or some measure of control to ensure the words and images are tied in to the advertising purpose.
6.5 If a feature, programme, broadcast etc does not come under No 2 (eg an advertorial hour for one company's health products on radio) then it fails the editorial test, and should fall within the parameters for advertorial or advertising, and the Codes applying to them.
THE IMPORTANCE OF
6.7 If an editorial feature is driven by advertising considerations -- eg a special supplement or advertorial page created by the advertising department and under the control of the advertiser in a newspaper or magazine or on television/radio or on a website -- and a complaint is lodged against it, then that complaint should fall under the jurisdiction of the Advertising Standards Complaints Board. The feature, under the provision of Truthful Presentation, should be labelled as having an advertising purpose. In this case, the advertising is the principal objective. The editorial feature is part of an advertising framework.
6.8 If an editorial feature is part of an editorially designated section in a newspaper, magazine or on television/radio or on a website eg a regular travel section, even if it is surrounded by generic (travel) advertising, and there is a complaint against the feature, then that is for the jurisdiction of the Press Council or the broadcaster and possibly then the Broadcasting Standards Authority. In this case, the editorial presentation is the principal objective. The advertising is simply part of an editorial framework.
6.10 To check if an editorial feature, whether in print, broadcast or electronic media, is in fact advertorial, the following tests could be applied in this order:
6.15 If the feature, programme, presentation etc meets the criteria of Tests 1-3 but fails Test 4, it is still clearly advertising and fails to meet the appropriate provision of the Advertising Code of Ethics relating to Identification and Truthful Presentation.
6.16 By having clear tests which put labelling as the last measure of whether a presentation is editorial or advertorial, the Advertising Standards Complaints Board should have several ways of measuring advertorials.
Paper prepared by
Advertising Standards Authority New Zealand, PO Box 10-675, Wellington 6143. PH (04) 472 7852 FAX (04) 471 1785 Email firstname.lastname@example.org