I noticed while watching local Fox4 News tonight (DFW) that the reporter had a segment on getting low airfare prices. What grabbed my attention, though, was that the segment was clearly marked "Company Video", which is great because that's what news shows are supposed to do when they run VNR (PR Video News releases). In this case, it appears it was from the Dallas company FareCompare and the reporters wrapped some of their own style around it to personalize it. But, at heart, it was still an advertisement.
Steve Eager introduces the segment which looks like it will be news about flying.
Notice that THIS video is marked "Company Video" so that you KNOW you're watching an advert
Here's the owner of FareCompare with his company logo behind him.
Again, the video is marked "Company Video" in the upper right hand corner
Steve Noviello ends out the segment.
I went looking on the internet at videos from FareCompare and noticed that the same video was shown by NBC in various local markets, but on NBC none of them were marked as being company video. The company is in Dallas.The video, incidentally, appears to be produced by Jesse Gift, who has a media production company in Hollywood, CA. He says in his bio:
My business is conducting what I call an “Electronic Media Position Campaign” for clients. My service is not “public relations” it is something better! I am highly successful in gaining major electronic news media attention for all clients during my conducting of their campaign!
• I harness electronic news media power on my client’s behalf! It is supremely “Media Savvy” to have the Position of Appearing on News & Speaking to News Issues via the National Electronic Press. In Effect, the likes of Brian Williams, Katie Couric & Other Highly Esteemed and Renowned Journalists & Network News Organizations are Seeking My Client Out, to gain access to information about client projects and to call on the client’s expertise. This positions My Client To Their Considerable Audience, as the “Media Darling” or the latest “Big Controversy” or both, with the full endorsement of their news organization behind them and therefore my client!
Media Position Consultant
The Gift (Sole Proprietorship)
(Sole Proprietorship; Myself Only; Broadcast Media industry)
September 2005 – Present (1 year 3 months)
I conduct a media position campaign via placing my clients on National News Shows to create buzz.
I am highly successful in my efforts to gain National News Media Attention for each of my clients.
Feeling used and manipulated enough yet? Do you catch this? Companies use people like Jesse Gift to get ADVERTS on television on NEWS segments in order to sell products. NOT in the commercials. AS NEWS SEGMENTS.
Now let's look at some of the places that this video made the rounds. Since Jesse Gift used to work for NBC, it's pretty natural that he would use his contacts to get it all over the NBC map.
NBC6 in South Florida. Jackie Nespral identifies Joel Connable, then the footage from the company kicks in, NOT identified as PR.
NBC5 -Chicago- No intro for Joel Connable , same company footage but examples with assistant looking for Miami flights. Again, not identified as a VNR. No explanation that Joel Connable is not a local newscaster.
NBC4- Florida - no video but the article about Joel Connable and his assistant describe looking for airfare. This is where Joel Connable actually works-but anyone watching the VNR in the other city markets would assume he was local to them.
WRCB- Chattanooga same video NOT marked as a VNR.
WISTV-South Carolina-same video NOT marked as a VNR
So here's my questions. First off, how come NBC didn't mark these videos as VNRs? Second, are all these local news outlets being paid to present these adverts? Third, isn't there enough dang commercials on television anyway without manipulating the audience by feeding them adverts that pretend to be news?