Hearst’s Shop Etc. magazine is turning its cover into an ad. That’s a line crossed, but many others have been tickling that line for sometime now. The New York Times is putting ads on the front of its business section and not ruling out ads on its cover. Sometime ago, I noted that AM New York was turning its front page into an ad, using the distribution power they’d built to make more money — which it could do because it is free and didn’t need to use the front page to sell copies. Hearst is likewise sending its adcover to subscribers who’ve already bought the thing. These are desperate moves by publishers dying to eke out more bucks and they are victories for advertisers who always want to get closer to the publishers’ brands. But, of course, the more that advertisers take over those brands, the less those brands stand for.
: Oh, and when you see hand-wringing about foolish marketers trying to buy posts on blogs, come back to this: They’re buying the most precious editorial and brand space from the big guys.