Wednesday, September 29, 2010

L.A. Times Turns Front Page Over to "Law & Order: Los Angeles"


There's likely some hair pulling on Spring Street today, as the Los Angeles Times' Wednesday issue hit driveways with what's likely its most questionable front-page advertisement yet.

As Variety first reported a few weeks ago, NBC and the L.A. Times were plotting a marketing push for "Law & Order: Los Angeles" that promised to be bigger (read: more controversial) than previous campaigns for "Southland" and Universal Studios -- both of which also included mock stories and newspaper pages that left many journos and newspaper purists with a bad taste in their mouth.

This is what we wrote on Sept. 11:

Los Angeles Times staffers might also want to brace for another NBC ad that blurs the line between editorial and advertising: The Peacock has partnered with the paper for a stunt surrounding "Law and Order: Los Angeles," in a similar vein to the past controversial NBC/"Southland" and Universal Studios/"King Kong" ads in the paper.

Those ads caused a stir at the paper, where staffers said such ads undermined their credibility. But given the noise they generated, NBC U deemed the buys a success.

"Where our 'Southland' and King Kong ads left off, 'LOLA' will pick up," Stotsky says, "and hopefully surpass both of these events."

Looking at this full-blown section, which looks more like actual editorial copy than the previous ads, I'd say they probably will get their wish: This is not going to go over well with many folks on the journalism side of things.

From an NBC promo angle, however, I'd say it's a win -- it definitely got my attention, and "LOLA" already has strong awareness, so this can only help.

These editorial-style ads are becoming common; the L.A. Times also caught heat for an ad promoting Disney's theatrical release "Alice in Wonderland"; the paper's website also recently featured a mock old L.A. Times front promoting "Boardwalk Empire."

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