Automobile Magazine And The New Pimpatorialism

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

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.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Frontline Frontline on Sep 20, 2011

    Wow ! I did not know DED jr had it in for Jean... I had not heard that.

    • Proscriptus Proscriptus on Sep 29, 2011

      You didn't see her Stockholm Syndrome obit for him, then. DED messed her up good.

  • Hifi Hifi on Sep 27, 2011

    I still enjoy Automobile magazine. Although seeing this, I'm going to look at it differently The lack of separation of editorial and commerce definitely impacts the magazines credibility. Although it is yet to be seen whether it's a positive or a negative. On one hand, to prevent biased coverage, editorial should be completely unbiased and removed from advertising and marketing. On the other hand, brands need to have good relationships with editors and other influencers. And being on the pulse of the industry can only help produce better products. This Ford example isn't so bad. But I have a huge problem with the Silverado spot, which is clearly just a paid ad touting the awesomeness of "every generation" of GM truck. Please.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.
  • Geozinger Up until recently this was on my short list of cars to replace my old car. However, it didn't pass the "knee test" with my wife as her bad knee makes it difficult for her to get in and out of a sedan. I saw a number of videos about the car and it seems like the real deal as a sporting sedan. In addition I like the low price, too, but it was bad luck/timing that we didn't get to pull the trigger on this one.
  • ToolGuy I agree with everyone here. Of course there are exceptions to what I just said, don't take everything so literally. The important thing is that I weighed in with my opinion, which is helping to move things forward. I believe we can all agree that I make an important contribution (some will differ, that is their prerogative). A stitch in time saves nine. Life isn't fair, you know. I have more to say but will continue at our next meeting. You can count on that, for I am a man of my word. We will make it happen. There might be challenges. I mean, it is what it is. This too shall pass. All we can do is all we can do. These meetings are never really long enough for me to completely express all the greatness within me, are they? Let's meet to discuss. All in a day's work. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day. At the end of the day, I must say I agree with you. I think you will agree. When all is said and done, there is more said than done. But of course that is just one man's opinion. You are free to disagree. As I like to say...(I am working on my middle management skills -- how am I doing?)
  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.