ADVERTISING VS. EDITORIAL: CLINTON VS. TRUMP

JohnLandsberg
September 13th, 2016

After doing media training for decades one learns that every class is unique.

One class might be comprised of media veterans who are savvy about many of the nuances when working with the media. Another group might not be at the same level.

In both cases, a review of the basics is always a good idea.

As an example, you might “assume” that veteran businesspeople would clearly know the difference between advertising and editorial.  (What is it they say about “assuming?” It’s true!)

However, even some savvy business folks will often remark, “Our competition says their prices are lower than ours and that is a lie the media keeps repeating.”  When probed further it often is revealed they are quoting their competition’s paid ads.  Journalists had nothing to do with it.

If you travel around important battleground states in this Presidential election you can see the dramatic difference between advertising and editorial media content. Hillary Clinton is flooding the airwaves with paid advertising and has an almost unlimited budget.  Through her advertising, she can deliver her message exactly as she wants without any changes.  She controls the exact message she wants the public to hear.

With advertising, you don’t have to give your opponent equal time.  You paid for the air time, picked the time it will run and are no different than any other company pushing a product or service.  Clinton gives selected media interviews (LINK) but avoids press conferences where it is much more difficult to control the message.

Clinton and her staff often hand-pick which media people she will permit to interview her. However, her massive ad spending goes directly to the bottom lines of the media corporations employing those journalists.

On the other hand, Donald Trump does not have the resources to buy advertising at nearly the same rate as Clinton so he must rely on editorial coverage to get his message out.  According to NBC News (LINK), Clinton is outspending Trump by a 15-1 margin and has spent $75 million to his paltry $4 million.

While you don’t pay for editorial coverage, it can be extremely difficult to control your message.  You also have to make your message unique and newsworthy or the news media will ignore you.  It is said, “If a dog bites a man is not a story. If a man bites a dog it is a story.”

You also have to make your message unique and newsworthy or the news media will ignore you.  As they say, “If a dog bites a man is not a story.  If a man bites a dog then it is a story.”

That’s why through August Trump has conducted 17 press conferences to Clinton’s none (LINK).  In addition, rather than choreographed speeches he often says newsworthy items the media are forced to cover. Press coverage of Trump has been brutal and he likely could get zero newspaper endorsements, but he uses the media effectively to get his message out directly to voters.

In most cases, editorial coverage is considered up to 8-10 times more believable than advertising.  People know that advertisers can pretty much say what they want in their commercials.  With editorial coverage the public expects the news media to provide balanced reporting so there is much more of a believability factor.

An old media maxim is “Advertising you pay for; editorial you pray for!”

There is no better example in history than the current Clinton vs. Trump campaign. It is her massive advertising spending vs. his editorial coverage.   Only time will tell which is the most effective tactic.

 

 

 

 

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  • MR. PRESIDENT: UNFILTERED TWEETS MUST END!!

    Since the presidency of Donald Trump began in January the public has had a unique view in seeing how many, many executives act when their true remarks/feelings/views go public. Unfiltered.

    It is often not a pretty scene.  It’s like the old joke where you really don’t want to know how sausage is actually made.

    Trump, in his effort to show “transparency” to the public, has been sending unfiltered, unedited Tweets out on a random basis since he began running for President.  They can come at any time of the day or night, and often seem to follow the “Ready, Fire, Aim!!” theory of communications.

    His latest missives aimed at C-list TV personalities MSNBC hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough have totally derailed a series of recent legislative successes (LINK).  Not only that, but his Tweets have actually enhanced the couple’s standing.

    Communications professionals around the globe have been left scratching their collective heads and wondering, “In his wildest dreams how did he ever think talking about Brzezinski’s facelift would be a good idea?”

    I have been in top-level corporate meetings literally hundreds of times.  If the public was privy to many of the actual discussions they would be stunned.  After one meeting where the company president repeatedly stressed the need for diversity I heard him casually remark to the HR director as we were leaving, “Okay, does that cover my ass legally now if we don’t hire minorities?”

    It is impossible for President Trump to have an overall coherent communications message when he is shooting out Tweets from the hip.  His staffers end up spending all their time and effort trying to clean up the most recent mess he created rather than focusing on any type of overall communications strategy.

    Someone needs to stress to the President that his personal, off-the-cuff,  tweeting must stop.  If he won’t heed that advice he should at least agree that someone must read his Tweets before they go out.

    The days of unfiltered Tweets from the President must end.

     

     

     

    Published July 1, 2017 at 7:59 am - One Comment Since the presidency of Donald Trump began in January the public has had a unique view in seeing how many, many executives act when their true remarks/feelings/views go public. Unfiltered. It is often not a pretty scene.  It̵ ...

  • EX-KCTV ANCHOR KAREN FULLER FILES LAWSUIT

    Regular viewers of KCTV were stunned in February 2015 when long-time anchor Karen Fuller was suddenly yanked off the air at the Meredith-owned station.

    After all, Fuller, 47 at the time, had been a staple at the CBS station for 12 years. Viewers were accustomed to her entering their living rooms on a regular basis and were shocked at her departure.

    In April, Fuller revealed to Bottom Line (link) that her departure was not her decision. Sources say she had requested 15 seconds of airtime to thank her loyal viewers, but instead was yanked mid-shift and escorted out of the station.

    In August 2015 we reported she had landed a new position as an anchor at the Sinclair Group’s KGAN in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.   It should be noted Kansas City is the 31st largest TV market in the country; Cedar Rapids 88.

    The Kansas City Star has now broken the story that Fuller is now suing her former parent company over age and gender discrimination.  She filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., against the Meredith Corporation.

    “Fuller alleges in the suit that the company has created an ‘age ceiling’ for its female anchors but not for male anchors,” the Star reported.  “Women age out in their mid- to late 40s. The company does not enforce the same age-related job requirement for male prime-time anchors.

    “The company’s strong-arm behavior assaulted her dignity, cast aspersion on Ms. Fuller’s many years of hard work, professionalism, and loyalty to her job, and took away Ms. Fuller’s ability to say goodbye to co-workers, friends and viewers,” the suit alleges.

    Fuller’s case is being handled by R. Pete Smith, chairman of the Kansas City-based law firm of McDowell, Rice, Smith, and Buchanan.

    Bottom Line has learned Fuller was given the green light to sue Meredith in March following an EEOC investigation of possible systemic issues with age/gender at other Meredith-owned stations.

     

     

     

    Published June 8, 2017 at 8:06 am - 2 Comments Regular viewers of KCTV were stunned in February 2015 when long-time anchor Karen Fuller was suddenly yanked off the air at the Meredith-owned station. After all, Fuller, 47 at the time, had been a staple at the CBS station for 1 ...

  • UNITED AIRLINES BLEW INITIAL CRISIS MESSAGE

    You’ve probably heard the slogan, “You never have a second chance to make a good impression.”

    The same is true in crisis communications.  When a crisis hits, as it did with United Airlines removing a passenger from a flight, the company had to come out with a strong message.  Unfortunately, it didn’t and today has to figure out how to pick up the pieces from a PR disaster.

    Unfortunately, it didn’t and today has to figure out how to pick up the pieces from a PR disaster.

    We have all seen the videos of a man being forcibly taken off a plane that was overbooked.  The man was bloodied and dragged off the aircraft.

    The company’s CEO Oscar Munoz initially blabbered about re-accommodating a passenger.  He also fired off an internal note to employees commending them for their actions.

    United Airlines

    Both were bad moves.

    The media, and particularly social media and talk shows,  jumped all over the airline for its insensitivity to a Chinese passenger and highlighted how offended the Chinese public was.  The next day it was revealed the passenger was actually Vietnamese and new stories about how offended the Vietnamese were flourished.

    What did United Airlines do wrong with its initial response? It is very likely the company conferred with its legal team and were told everything it did was legal.  While true, the biggest mistake was not addressing the emotional part of the issue.

    The average passenger was thinking “They could have done that to me!!” The guy had paid for a ticket and was waiting for his flight to depart when all hell broke loose.

    Years ago a phone company in Lima, Ohio, issued new phone books.  That’s not exactly “stop the presses kind of news,” but in this case it was.  The phone books contained coupons for various discounts:  pizza, dry cleaning, home goods, etc.

    It also contained a coupon offering $25 off on an abortion!!

    The phone book coupon issue exploded locally and then nationally.  The local Catholic hospital in Lima was beyond upset.  People on both sides of the abortion issue agreed that offering a discount coupon for it was tacky.

    The phone company’s legal team initially was quick to point out it was perfectly legal for the abortion clinic to offer a coupon since abortions were legal.  But the average person did not care if the coupon was legal.  They thought it was tacky and insensitive.

    The company spokesman ignored the legalities of the message and instead profusely apologized to everyone for the offensive coupon. He promised controversial coupons would never find their way into the phone book again.   The message resonated and the furor died down in a few days.

    CEO Munoz blew his initial message, but a day later had developed a new, stronger one. It should have been his initial message.

    “The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened,” noted Munoz.

    After all the facts have come out about the incident some cooler heads have risen over the incident.  However, it will be tough to overcome the initial horrible publicity and a reported $255 million loss in stock value.

     

     

    Published April 12, 2017 at 3:25 pm - 2 Comments You’ve probably heard the slogan, “You never have a second chance to make a good impression.” The same is true in crisis communications.  When a crisis hits, as it did with United Airlines removing a passenger ...

  • COURIC TRICK SHOWS VALUE OF RECORDING INTERVIEWS

    It has been called “appalling journalism.”

    That might be considered a positive comment regarding an editing trick inserted into a documentary on gun ownership that has come to light.

    Long-time NBC Today Show star and anchor at all three major networks, Katie Couric, now with Yahoo! News, is being severely criticized for highly questionable editing in her documentary titled “Under the Gun” after it was revealed an eight-second pause was inserted to make it look as if the people interviewed could not answer her question (LINK).

    Luckily for the individuals being interviewed, one person was wise enough to record the Q&A (LINK TO AUDIO). Otherwise, questioning the bubbly media icon would have been virtually impossible and fruitless.

    Couric was executive producer, host and narrator of the piece.  Anti-gun activist Stephanie Soechtig produced and directed it.

    In the documentary, a group of Virginia gun owners was asked by Couric: “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”

    Not only did Couric/Soechtig insert a pause (8-10 seconds), but they also inserted “B” roll of the gun owners taken before the interview even began.  There is little doubt the editing was clearly designed to make it look as if Couric’s tough question made them speechless and uncomfortable.

    Couric is now calling the edit an “unnecessary mistake,” according to an individual with knowledge of her thinking (LINK).

    In an official statement, Soechtig countered, “my intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans’ opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.”

    Couric now says she supports Soechtig’s statement “and am very proud of the film.” However, a few days later she admitted she regretted how she portrayed gun activists (LINK).

    However, the National Review and Washington Post now say Couric should be fired over the deliberate misrepresentation (LINK).

    This is a classic reason why at Bottom Line Communications we strongly advise clients to always record media interviews.  Without actual audio evidence (below) the Yahoo! crew would have denied inserting the pause.

    However, with the evidence journalism takes another huge credibility hit.

     

    Published May 29, 2016 at 8:30 am - 2 Comments It has been called “appalling journalism.” That might be considered a positive comment regarding an editing trick inserted into a documentary on gun ownership that has come to light. Long-time NBC Today Show star and ...

  • MIZZOU NEEDS CRISIS PLAN TO RESTORE IMAGE

    In Journalism circles, having a degree from the University of Missouri was often a ticket for success. It is not only the nation’s oldest Journalism school, it is also one of the most prestigious.

    When rankings for the best “J” schools in the nation are posted the University of Missouri is almost guaranteed to be in the Top 10 or Top 5.  However, that may have all changed due to the actions of a single media professor during the recent student uprising at the school.

    A Mass Media Professor, Melissa Click, is shown in a video asking for “muscle” to remove a student photojournalist, Tim Tai,  who was working for ESPN and in a public place.   It is a horrible act by a college professor and shows a total disregard for the Journalist’s First Amendment rights, which is against what the school has taught for decades.

    “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here,” says Click.

    A video of Click’s actions against Tai has gone viral and has well over 500,000 views (LINK) on a single site.  The New York Times has written an extensive story about her actions.

    What was once a sympathetic media for the protesters has now changed with the actions of students and faculty against them.

    Technically some have pointed out Click works in the Mass Media Division of the Department of Communications in College of Arts & Sciences, which is separate from the J-school.  However, she is listed on the School of Journalism’s site (LINK), which tars the entire Journalism program whether it deserves it or not.

    Click had earlier Tweeted out that she she was looking for coverage of the event by Journalists.  Later on she is clearly leading the charge against other Journalists with total disregard for their rights to cover the event.

    With the resignation of the school’s President and Chancellor the University of Missouri is clearly being painted as a college where the inmates are running the asylum.   Rather than act like a Professor, Click and other faculty members have clearly shown they were behind the student protests against the administration.

    If the University of Missouri doesn’t hire a crisis communications team immediately its entire image for producing quality Journalism graduates could likely be tarnished forever. If the school was wise it already had a crisis communications plan in place for such an incident, but that is unlikely.

    The first move would be to remove Click. But that would be a stop-gap measure since a faculty member helping foment the disturbance was an indictment on all the faculty.  The school hired her, and whether tacitly or not, approved of her actions.

    A statement issued today by the Dean of the Journalism School denied she was part of the faculty and sounded as if her days as a professor at Missouri were numbered. Click has also been forced to apologize in an attempt to save her job and resigned her “courtesy” appointment to the J-School.

    However, a Kansas City reporter told BLC that the protesters are refusing to speak with local reporters and will only do interviews with national media outlets.  That is the kind of move that will turn sympathetic local media against them now and in the future.

    It’s a bad move.

     

     

    Published November 10, 2015 at 10:23 am - 5 Comments In Journalism circles, having a degree from the University of Missouri was often a ticket for success. It is not only the nation’s oldest Journalism school, it is also one of the most prestigious. When rankings for the best ...