Commercial Alert seeks disclosure of product placement in magazines

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Portland, Ore.—Commercial Alert, a nonprofit organization that opposes "commercialism," announced Monday that it sent a letter to Marlene Kahan, executive director of the American Society of Magazine Editors, asking that new rules be established to require disclosure of product placement in magazines.

The letter, which was signed by scores of journalism professors, begins, "Magazine editors in the U.S. are under increasing pressure to weave advertising into their editorial content. In the past, advertisers have sought to influence stories, often with success. Now they are going further, and seeking to turn ads into articles."

Seeing these efforts as a "threat to press freedom," Commercial Alert suggested that product placement deals be prominently disclosed, that advertorials be identified more clearly and that the ASME incorporate in its code of ethics language prohibiting "favored treatment to advertisers."

—Sean Callahan

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