Sponsored Content Watch

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 10 2014 @ 12:40pm

A reader says “it’s getting worse” and points to new evidence:

“Good Morning America” interviewed model Gisele Bundchen and Olympic athlete Lindsey Vonn this week about their new Under Armour campaign, but not necessarily for the pure news or entertainment value of it all. At the end of a segment on Friday morning, a voiceover told viewers that “This segment was brought to you by Under Armour.”

In a pair of dual interviews, one that aired Thursday and the other Friday, the women discussed partnering with Under Armour, the power of women, their workout regimens and their own careers. “GMA” has also posted the videos online without mention of any Under Armour support, although Friday’s video has the straightforward headline “Lindsey Vonn and Gisele Bundchen Promote the ‘I Will What I Want’ Campaign.”

An ABC spokeswoman said segments brought to you by marketers are not unusual for “Good Morning America,” but could not point to other examples.

Watch the “segment” for yourself here. Another reader:

I’ve been following the gossip blog, Lainey Gossip, for a while. And they do this thing with sponsored content where they talk about it openly and freely. And they make it fun. But that’s sort of part of the problem with sponsored content. On the other hand, the way they do it feels much more honest and open. And I continue to trust the blog because of their transparency. Here’s the latest example:

Butt season continues! As I mentioned last week Cottonelle approached us to highlight their bum-pampering products by highlighting the best celebrity butts in Hollywood.

This job doesn’t suck. Jacek was quite happy to do extensive research on the subject and eagerly forwarded several recommendations. JLO was our first. Next? Let’s make it fair and celebrate on the men’s side…

Channing Tatum.

Obviously.

And you know, just like JLO, who’s making videos about her “Booty”, I really don’t think Channing Tatum would mind. After all, he gave us an entire movie – over two hours! – to appreciate this body part. He worked hard on this body part. He trained it. He molded it. He danced with it. He TOOK YOUR MONEY WITH IT.

When it’s that valuable, you have to protect it. Even the bums that might not be as perfect as Channing Tatum’s. Cottonelle takes bum service very seriously with their industry-leading products. This is premium bum care, the gold standard of bum appreciation and indulgence.

Then there was HuffPo’s gleeful but very carefully parsed defense of the same practices. I took solace only in the reader comments. Two faves:

Oh, I get it. This is an advertisement for advertisements masquerading as news articles, which is itself masquerading as a news article- about advertisements masquerading as news articles. Very meta. Also kind of nauseating.

And:

I like that the only comment positive about this piece is from the Head of Operations for the site…

Read all of our coverage on the scourge of sponsored content here.