FEATURING MARA EINSTEIN – When you open your newspaper, there is content that is clearly written and edited by journalists, next to ads that are identified as such. On TV, there are shows interrupted by content that is clearly advertising. We have gotten really good at avoiding the ads through DVRs, and simply through desensitizing our brains to them.
But now, in the new and unregulated world of the Internet, ads are increasingly becoming less visible and companies are blurring the lines between content and advertising so much so that corporations looking to sell products are simply creating their own content. If that content is compelling enough, we consume it, we share it, and we may buy products based on our exposure.
What does it mean when most or all of the content we consume is controlled by corporate advertisers?
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Mara Einstein, professor of media studies at Queens College, City University of New York, and an independent marketing consultant. She has been working in, or writing about, media and marketing for more than 25 years, and been an executive at NBC, MTV Networks, and at major advertising agencies. Dr. Einstein is the author of a number of books, including Compassion, Inc. which examines the growing trend of promoting consumer products as a means to fund social causes and effective social change. Her latest book is Black Ops Advertising: Native Ads, Content Marketing, and the Covert World Of the Digital Sell.