Dressing propaganda up as editorial

The cork lobby is very aggressive in its promotion of cork. (Photo: iStock)

It was sad to see a liquor trade magazine publishing cork industry propaganda recently. It published the story as if it was editorial, without disclosing that it was paid advertising.

Advertorial is advertising that is designed to look like editorial. It’s designed to deceive.

The cork lobby is very aggressive in its promotion of cork. There’s two full pages of advertorial in the June edition of Decanter magazine, extolling the supposed virtues of cork, but at least the magazine does the right thing and places a bold message at the top of the first page, “Promotional feature”. This is code for “Advertisement”. The logo of Apcor, the Portuguese cork association, is at the foot of the page.

It’s a pity there is no counter-advertising from the screw-cap people. The cork people are fighting a propaganda war, and it needs to be countered.

If motorists choose to drive a car that’s prone to crashing, that’s their business. But they need to be warned, and told there’s a choice!

Dressing propaganda up as editorial, i.e. objective journalism, is wrong.

No wonder the level of suspicion of the media is so high. To use the jargon of the day, this is fake news.

Editorial, or journalism, is information which is not paid for. It may be a news item or an opinion piece, an interview or a feature article.

Advertising is paid for and is therefore not as trustworthy. It is a spiel designed to sell something, whether it’s a product or something less tangible such as an idea.

Advertorial is advertising that is designed to look like editorial. It’s designed to deceive. Magazines are full of it. It is insidious. Even some of our colleagues in the wine critiquing business publish advertorials amid their online offerings. The more respectable publications declare their advertorials with a message, usually at the top of the page, saying “Gourmet Traveller Wine promotion” or similar, as Decanter has.

An advertorial about the romantic charm of cork from Apcor or Amorim (Portugal’s biggest wine cork producer) is about as credible as a retired cricket star extolling the virtues of vitamin pills.

2 thoughts on “Dressing propaganda up as editorial”

  1. Robert O'Brien says:

    I don’t entirely agree with “screw the cork” sentiment expressed by the previous writer , use it or lose it springs to mind .
    However there is overwhelming evidence screw caps are Superior , it seems to me that the production process and companies taking short cuts may well the culprit !

  2. Haydn Deane says:

    A few years ago I coined the phrase “Screw the Cork” after years in the wine trade experiencing some 10% of wines with poor quality, TCA tainted cork closures! Having sold wines with screw cap closures since 1976 I have been totally satisfied that it is the far better way to seal wines of all quality including the very best wines made in Australia!
    Screw the Cork!

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