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January 25, 2013

Crossing the Line? Panasonic publishes review-style advertorials at review websites

If you pick up a newspaper or a magazine, you may have seen these already. Advertisements written in article-format, with tiny print that says this is actually an ad. Advertorials is one of the terms used to describe them.

Now there is a disturbing new trend online. Apparently Panasonic Europe is buying advertising space on European websites and they are publishing review-style advertorials. This, at least in our opinion, crosses the line or it is very close to do doing so. Of course websites have bills to pay, and employees and contributors to pay, but a camera review is the closest thing to "real journalism" that camera and photography websites do. If that can be muddied with advertorials...

Here are some of the examples of Panasonic advertorials we spotted:

+ ten-page review-style advertorial for the Panasonic GF5 at (computer-translated)

+ Panasonic M43rds G-lenses advertorial at DSLR Magazine and CSC Magazine (computer-translated)

The GF5 advertorial may also generate a different kind of frustration, it is advertised as a "camera for women".

This is not the first time we have seen crossing the line type of advertising experiments. I am sure you have seen website skin ads before, where a giant ad engulfs the website's whole template. Dpreview tried those a few months ago and there were e-riots in their forums. Pocket Lint tried those as well from what I recall.

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