Stuart Elliott, the long-standing advertising critic at The New York Times, typed up his final column for the paper last week.
Still getting pitched at 1:48 pm ET on my final day at #TheNewYorkTimes. In holiday spirit, won't unleash a "Stuartism" on hapless PR person
— Stuart Elliott (@stuartenyt) December 19, 2014
In his final piece for The Gray Lady, Elliott describes some of the biggest changes in the advertising industry over the past 25 years. One of the items that made his list: ADS AS ‘CONTENT’.
The interweaving of ad matter into editorial content has accelerated, spawning an industry within an industry that describes itself with terms like content marketing, branded content, sponsored content and native advertising. Whatever the phrasing, the practice represents a bold attempt to further blur the line between editorial material and paid peddling. Are consumers who are now willing to opt in for ads they deem entertaining or informative — witness the billions of “likes” for brand fan pages on Facebook and other social media platforms — going to take that in stride, or will the worth of editorial content be diminished, threatening its value?
It’s fitting that Elliott would end on the question of diminished editorial. I mean who exactly is on this beat today? Adweek and Ad Age, as always. It is nuts when you think about it — one of the most powerful industries in the world is covered by a few trade mags and some rag tag ad bloggers.
If this is digital disruption, how much more of it do we need?
New York Post media writer, Keith J. Kelley, takes an historical view of the position.
Elliott wrote the influential newspaper column for 23 years, breaking the old record of 22 years held by Phil Dougherty, whose tenure ended in 1989 with his death.
Other notables who have held the job over the years include: Carl Spielvogel, who would go on to become an advertising exec himself, founding the ad agency Backer & Spielvogel; Peter Bart, who became a Hollywood producer and then a long-running editor-in-chief of Variety; and Randall Rothenberg, the current president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Spielvogel later became the U.S. Ambassador to Slovak Republic, proving that there is life after advertising criticism, and life after agency helmsmanship.
Previously on AdPulp: Are You Down With This Concept Yet? Media Is A Marketing Service.