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Today’s blog post brought to you by me

March 28, 2011

This month’s print version of Fast Company has an interesting article about Morgan Spurlock. Mr. Spurlock, who leaped onto the scene with Super Size Me, a hilarious look at eating fast-food for a month, is interviewed about his new documentary.

The documentary is called: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, and it’s brought to you by Pom Wonderful.

The question raised in the movie is this: should people be told when they are being advertised to? This isn’t a new question: we call daytime dramas Soap Operas because they were started by the soap companies. They were content created for the purpose of advertising.

Years ago, major Cigarette companies paid actors to smoke in movies. People are still paid to wear/visit/talk about things. Kim Kardashian sells a Tweet for 25K.

In response, the FTC has created regulations that are designed to let people know when they are being advertised. Below is a summation of the regulations, visit here to get the official download:

The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed.

The title of this blog post was meant to poke fun at the fact that we’re living in a less and less transparent world. It isn’t easy to know who is selling, and who is telling. It’s harder to know when something is a pitch, and when content is genuine. Simple fact is, most content is a pitch of some sort.

‘Soap’ companies didn’t create Soap Operas for fun. They created them to sell products, and while the products might not have been featured in the drama, they surrounded the drama to the point that we call them soaps.

TL;DR: Companies have always created content. The advent of social media, where so many people can create content on behalf of a brand means people can’t be sure when something is telling, selling, or just an idea. Unpaid by anyone.

Like this post.

So how can you tell the difference? Do you care?

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