SBD/April 29, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

ESPN The Mag Starts Integrating Advertiser's Logo Into Editorial Content

Coors will not have any final say on the editorial content on the pages it sponsors
ESPN The Magazine is “taking a page from electronic media by letting an advertiser incorporate its logo into editorial content,” according to Emma Bazilian of ADWEEK. Starting with the magazine's 15th anniversary issue this week, ESPN “will run an editorial sidebar bearing the words ‘Cold Hard Facts presented by Coors Light’ at the top.” ESPN The Magazine Editor-in-Chief Chad Millman said that the publication's edit team “will have full control over the sidebars; MillerCoors won't have final approval or get to preview the content ahead of time.” The partnership is “set to run in select issues through the end of 2013.” Millman said that he “saw the partnership as a way to catch up to other media platforms that are ‘moving at a faster pace.’” While integrating a brand's logo in editorial “may raise the hackles of purists, such a partnership isn't unprecedented” for ESPN. The company a decade ago “partnered with MillerCoors to create sponsored ‘SportsCenter’ segments,” in which an ESPN anchor asks a sports analyst a "six-pack" of questions. The franchise has “since expanded to include ‘Cold Hard Facts’ content on ESPN's Web and mobile platforms.” ESPN Exec VP/Multimedia Sales Eric Johnson said, “We think that the notion that a sports fan is able to discern ‘SportsCenter’ content from advertiser content on-air or a homepage takeover on ESPN.com but isn't able to do so in the magazine is just illogical” (ADWEEK, 4/29 issue).
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