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Survey finds marketers have bought advertising in return for coverage

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New York—In a worrisome sign that independent editorial credibility is being sacrificed, 17% of senior marketers say their organizations have bought advertising in return for a news story, according to the results of the fifth annual PRWeek/Manning Selvage & Lee Marketing Management Survey.

The study also revealed 7% of respondents have had an implicit/nonverbal agreement with a reporter or editor that they expected to see favorable coverage of their company or products in exchange for advertising. Additionally, 5% of marketers said their companies paid or provided a gift of value to an editor or producer in exchange for a news story about their company or its products.

“These results indicate that there continues to be a group of marketing executives that do not respect the proper role of news media,” said Mark Hass, global chief executive officer of MS&L, in a statement. “Even the smallest percentage of people who are willing to pay in return for a news story creates an ethical issue that the marketing industry needs to address.”

The online survey, fielded by researcher Millward Brown, polled 279 U.S. chief marketing officers, directors of marketing and marketing managers between April 26 and May 9.

—Carol Krol

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