Chalk up another hostage to stealth marketing.

Adweek reports that Time Inc. has launched EW Lightbulb, “an interview series featuring conversations with today’s leading creators about how they work and where they find inspiration.”


This month, Entertainment Weekly introduced Lightbulb, a new web series sponsored by Glade that features one-on-one interviews with actors and other creative types like Morgan SpurlockTavi Gevinson, Rashida Jones and Patton Oswalt. (Time Inc. first previewed the show during its inaugural New Fronts presentation this past spring.) While Lightbulb is officially an EW product, episodes will be pushed out across multiple Time Inc. brands, including People, InStyle and Essence, depending on the content. (For instance, InStyle will be promoting the episodes starring fashion-savvy Gevinson and Jones.)


Money graf:


In addition to Glade’s 30-second pre-roll ads, there’s a Glade logo on-screen during the interviews and some subtle product integration. “This partnership gives Glade a relevant storytelling platform and a way to inspire conversations about scent and feelings,” said Kelly Semrau, svp of global corporate affairs at S.C. Johnson.


Representative sample: This Tavi Gevison adterview.

The Lightbulb launch is just the latest example of Time Inc.’s slow-motion sellout to advertisers, as the hardtracking staff has chronicled over the past year in particular.

Call the roll:

• Breaking down the wall between advertising and editorial by installing a “chief content officer” to oversee the blending of the two.

• Finding “appropriate ways for editorial talent [to work with the marketing team team] to come up with content solutions for advertisers.” (Translation: Time Inc. journalists will have to produce marketing material about whatever they don’t cover.)

• Rating its writers on how “beneficial” they are to advertisers.

Much of this movement hinges on a shift by publications in who they see as their “customer.” As the publication Inside Tucson Business stated recently, “Our customer is the advertiser. Readers are our customers’ customer.”

Got that, readers?

John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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