Sunday, January 31, 2010

Advertising, football and controversy: CBS's gray area.

I have a friend here in Lawrence, Scott Winer, who has an interesting perspective on the recent decision by CBS to not broadcast a commercial about a gay dating website during the Superbowl (<--do I have to pay for that?!) Definitely something you should check out.

As a graduate from KU's William Allen White School of Journalism, this is such an interesting situation. Ethically, socially and media-related.
The Superbowl is such a huge advertising phenomenon and every year the cost of a 30-second commercial and banned commercials is news-worthy. Thirty-seconds of air time for, usually, America's most prominent brands. Is Coke really going to convince us to drink more Coke? Especially if Pepsi doesn't advertise? Ironically, the fact that Pepsi IS NOT advertising is news. Especially since they are planning on donating the money. Basically, it's a big deal.

Specifically in this year's situation, it comes down to ethics. Going into Journalism, I always had the idea that you do/write about what is right. But after my Ethics class, I was definitely more aware of the gray areas in journalism; both in the areas of marketing/pr and reporting. Is CBS doing acting on what's "right" (whatever that is) or are they sticking to their policies that they've recently changed? Is it one in the same? I don't know as much as I could about the situation, so I don't know.

But what's "right" for the American people to view (because something like 83% of the U.S. watches the Superbowl - it's an incredibly American thing to be a part of) CBS, or whichever network broadcasts the game, gets to determine what's appropriate. Usually, the biggest offender is GoDaddy.com. It's gotten to the point, I believe, that they make commercials with the sole purpose of being rejected, getting attention to their commercials online anyway, without having to pay the cost of the Superbowl commercials.

So, I am not really sure what the right answer is. But it certainly is an interesting question.

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