Elaborate PR Scheme Dressed In Content’s Clothing?

Have a story to tell and plenty of money with which to tell it?
Natural gas producer, Chesapeake Energy Corp. does.
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According to The Wall Street Journal, Chesapeake will soon launch Shale.TV, a Web site devoted to creating content about the massive natural-gas field known as the Barnett Shale, located in and around Fort Worth, Texas. Chesapeake has signed up well-known local journalists, including a longtime local television anchor, to run the site and produce three hours of new programming every day.
Texas native, Tommy Lee Jones, is starring in ads promoting the site.
Shale.TV will be produced by Branded News, a subsidiary of ad agency Ackerman McQueen that runs similar sites for the National Rifle Association and Oklahoma’s state tourism agency.
Chesapeake promises not to meddle in Shale.TV. Two of the journalists hired to work on the site say they have been promised editorial independence and pledge to include Chesapeake’s competitors and dissenters in their stories. But critics say the site will be marketing masquerading as journalism. One local newspaper columnist derided the site as “Shill.TV.”

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About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.