When I was in the advertising world, the concept of the separation of "church and state"--editorial and advertising, was a firm line never to be crossed. But, over the years, and especially with the advent of the Internet, that line has gotten thinner and thinner, and is crossed more and more often.
An example is the announcement that Tina Brown's Newsweek is planning an issue that revives the magazine's design elements of the 1960s, including the ads to mark the March return of the AMC cable TV series "Mad Men."
I'm a big fan of Tina Brown--ever since her days at Vanity Fair, and I wish her the best of luck at reviving Newsweek from the thin shell of a brand that it has become. So, in a way I support the alliance between broadcast advertisers and editorial magazine. And, I suppose times have changed, and consumers are smart enough to view promotion though one lens, and editorial through another.
Newsweek will ask legacy advertisers to revive their ads from the era, and newer brands will be encouraged to produce ads as they might have looked then. "It's analogous to when the NFL has a game and the teams wear their vintage uniforms," said Newsweek Daily Beast President Rob Gregory.
Brown has said she thought of the idea while talking with Matthew Weiner, creator and executive producer of "Mad Men," about ways to treat its season-five premiere on March 25, nearly a year and a half after season four concluded.
"Newsweek was very much on the cultural forefront at the time of the show," Brown said. "It covered the events that are so much of the background for the show's drama -- the burgeoning civil rights movement, the women's rights movement, the Vietnam War. That was Newsweek's cutting-edge beat and its flourishing journalistic subject. So it seemed like a wonderful marriage in a sense to take that and apply it to the magazine, to make the magazine an homage to the period."
The "Mad Men" will include a cover story on the series and a feature on the role of advertising in U.S. culture.
Source: Advertising Age