Once upon a time, this stuff was easy. When Jean Jennings needed a little extra pocket change all she had to do was… make an ad. Like this one, for the Silverado. Or this one, for Jeep (which I swear was still visible less than a year ago). Nowadays, however, you’ve got to be a little more careful about how you go about lending your “editorial credibility” to one of the brands you’re supposed to be covering rather than shilling for. So instead of the straight-up “Hi, I’m Jean Jennings, Editor-in-Chief of Automobile Magazine, and here’s why I love Chevy’s Silverado” pimpatorial of the past, you’ve got to layer on the irony, load up on non-car-related distractions (I’ve got it… a puppet!) and generally avoid the personal testimonial format as much as possible.
Yes, the pimpatorial game is becoming more subtle… another example: Motor Trend boss Angus Mackenzie’s Subaru-funded adventure of personal discovery that happened to be featured in both his magazine and Subaru’s Drive Magazine. But when it comes to crossing the line between editorial and advertising, isn’t more subtlety a bad thing? If the editor of a buff book is going to shill for a product or brand, wouldn’t you rather they just come out and do it so you can get on with ignoring conclusions to comparison tests like
Ford has unabashedly pandered to those of us who care about driving by designing an efficient, comfortable mainstream car that absolutely nails the finer points of steering feel, suspension tuning, and overall driver involvement. Our vote goes to the Focus.
? Ford has also “unabashedly pandered” to your E-I-C and her appreciation for fat checks… and even if your conclusions are correct, they should be ignored. I’m generally a fan of subtlety, but to paraphrase Homer Simpson, I like my beer cold, my meat red, and my sell-outs shameless.