Advertorials are regarded a potent form of communication, albeit with a reputation for deception. It is a portmanteau of two words advertising and editorial and refers to any piece of communication (in any media) that is sponsored by a brand and endorsed by a publisher. The key difference between advertorial and editorial content rests in the exchange of money or favours moving from the brand to the publisher, for the endorsement. The declaration of an advertorial (by printing the word ‘advertisement’) although counter-intuitive, produces positive impressions on the reader. This study began by investigating the effect that inserting the word ‘advertorial’ had on readers’ impressions of the Publishing House, by exhibiting a collection of advertorials. This qualitative aspect of the research explored, from the readers angle’, the factors that built credibility in newspapers and the ethical practices surrounding advertorials. The latter part of the study involved measuring the change in perceived credibility within two similar groups of readers who were shown the same advertorial; one was simply given the advertorial piece while the other was informed so. The study drew out that readers perceived different levels of credibility for different newspapers. When it was revealed that the article exhibited was an advertorial, the perceived credibility rating improved, but marginally. This result can be explained by the current shifting views of modern society that seek honesty (or disclosure) in even unconventional scenarios.
Annette Stephen, Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication, India
Raj Kishore Patra, Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication, India
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