Earlier this week, the L.A. Times ran a fake front page — chock full of stories intended to sell NBC’s new L.A.-based Law & Order franchise — and guess what? Readers of the paper weren’t exactly pleased with the bit of crass badvertising.
Following the negative reader response to the ad, the Times’ Reader Representative column ran a sampling of the not-so-nice feedback.
“The Times stooped to a new low in its business practices,” wrote one ticked reader. “If the Times and other American newspapers are ever going to reverse the trend of declining readership, it is essential for newspapers to be taken seriously by their reading audience.”
Another irate reader said that the paper benefited financially not just from the ad money, but by have a salacious fake photo and headline on the front page: “Today’s paper has a full page ad with a fake headline and police tape over NBC.I work in Burbank, and every single person in our office and stopped and picked up the paper in concern. It is in extremely poor taste and offensive for those who have been victims of non-fake violent crimes.”
A VP of communications or something or other attempted to justify the ad thusly:
The Times collaborated with NBC to launch ‘Law & Order Los Angeles’ in a big, creative way for the hometown audience. This is an exciting, innovative ad that takes the show’s beloved, 20-year ‘ripped from the headlines’ concept and puts it front and center for Southern California.
Readers respond to ad’s fake front page L.A. Times
Thanks to Elanor for the tip!