NYT Story On Branded Entertainment Takes A Stand

I really don’t have a strong opinion on branded entertainment on TV–it’s really nothing new. But this story in the New York Times, written by Louise Story, certainly has a odd tone to it:

One of the more popular tricks — oops, I meant to say tactics — advertisers are using today is branded entertainment, which ranges from plopping a Pepsi can into a scene to writing entire television scripts based around Oreo cookies. They like this approach so much that they’re increasing the money they spend on so-called product integrations at double-digit rates, making it one of the faster growth areas for an otherwise stalled television industry.
But does product integration dupe consumers? The Federal Communications Commission is considering investigating this question, and the commissioners may add it to their public agenda as early as Tuesday.

Is this a news story or an editorial? Is there a difference anymore? Does the New York Times have an obligation to report a story about branded entertainment without the writer insisting that it’s a “trick” intended to “dupe” consumers? What’s the…uh…story with Story?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Louise writes a regular column on advertising in The Times. As a column, the writer can express opinion. If it were a hard news story, opinion would not be appropriate, unless clearly labeled as such.

  2. Thanks for clearing that up, David. On the web, the NYT doesn’t clearly distinguish between news stories and opinion-type business columns.

  3. psychological Evaluation says:

    I think we all have a strong opinion about branded tv film entertainment if we analyzed our emotions more after watching such.
    Watch a film with no brands in them, absolutely none. There are some out there, they just aren’t really popular, and more likely than not, they are labeled artsy. They probably have to be ones without autos because it’s hard to make a film with an unbranded auto.* And if they eat anything it would probably have to be produce or bakerybread or a chunk of meat.
    Anyway try to find a film like that. Also try to find a place with no branded stuff being sold anywhere. There are places like that, too. Take a walk.
    When you finish with those experience, note how you feel. Every American consumer should. You’ll either feel empty, like something was missing or void, or you’ll feel somewhat relieved. This will give a hint if you are a have person or a be person ( i got that idea from someone else). And then your opinions could become stronger. Either which way, the world turns quite well with both people playing tug of war. Then you can decide how much you want to be influenced by the propaganda from either side. Yes, the “natural” world of trees and animals is out to get in your head as much as the “manufactured”.
    * I will note that i did see someone with a 90 something civic on the road that got every single bit of logo and identifying markers off their car. It was just an orange car, but i still knew it was a civic, so it was still branded.