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Advertorial

13 Jul, 2007

The idea that a major airline would provide in-flight programming that's actually advertising disguised as content doesn't surprise me... but it is disappointing.

From: jshore@...
Subject: Re: Radio Interview with James Little
Date: July 12, 2007 4:22:05 PM PDT
To: email deleted

Hi Patricia,

While I'm honored that you considered me, this seems like paid advertising disguised as an interview. If it is, I cannot ethically participate.

Best wishes,
Jim

Time Sensitive Material
James Little
James Little


My name is Patricia Chi, and I'm the producer for the "Radio Show" Talk Radio Show which airs worldwide on Major Airline during November 2007. Due to the tremendous response, we've extended the program to air for an additional month.

This special advertorial presents one-on-one interviews and compelling profiles of industry innovators -- from small businesses to large enterprises -- the people and companies that make up the backbone of business in America and are rarely heard from. We enlighten millions of business travelers with innovative ideas and success stories in ways you've never heard before.

I would like to personally invite you to participate in this special show with your own inteview segment. Your interview will air for one full month on Major Airline reaching 4.2 million potential listeners. This opportunity requires a small distribution fee (see participation details and costs below).

Regularly featured guests include President Jimmy Carter, Donald Trump, Steve Forbes, Charles Schwab, Sumner Redstone, Micheal Dell, Leeza Gibbons, Tony Robbins, Suze Orman, Ben Stein and more. To hear interviews currently airing on Major Airline, click on show url.

Space is limited. We have only two featured slots available and our deadline is 3pm EST on Friday, July 13th (although we have until July 27th to record the interview segment).

Again, see below for participation details and costs.

Sincerely,

Patricia Lastname
Talk Radio Producer
Radio Show

PARTICIPATION DETAILS AND COSTS

Our creative team of writers will produce a dynamic one-on-one interview and will script everything in advance with your final editorial control. The interview is pre-recorded and can be done over the phone and will take 15-20 minutes.

Due to our tight deadline, we're offering the last two segments on our November edition for only $3,995 (normally $7,500). Please note all interviews must be recorded no later than July 25th. We need a commitment to secure your space no later than 3pm EST on Friday, July 13th.

Your participation includes:

1. Production, placement and distribution of a 3-minute interview/profile to air worldwide on "Radio Show" Talk Radio Show on 29,000 audio-equipped Major Airline worldwide flights reaching 4.2 million during November 2007 (Airline is the world's largest airline and flies to more destinations than any other airline).
2. "Radio Show" program listing in Airline's inflight publication (179,000 monthly copies).
3. Rebroadcast of interview on our website with link to your site for 1 year.
4. Digital audio file of interview for promotional and marketing purposes.
5. "As heard on Major Airline" logo for airing of interview on your website.
6. All turnkey production including scripting, recording, editing, mastering and delivery.
7. Total cost for all of the above is only $3,995 (normally $7,500).

When I saw Patricia's first email, I was flattered*. I took me a moment to realize that it was actually a solicitation for advertising.

*I replied to Patricia's second email. The first was similar.

The email reads as if it is targeted directly at me, as an "innovator." "I would like to personally invite you to participate," Patricia says. Of course I should be flattered--I'm innovative, aren't I? But look closer: I changed my name when I got married four years ago. It's addressed to the old name. There's no mention of what "innovating" things I've done.

It's not that I'm not against promotion. By providing my opinions on this blog, I'm promoting myself and my services. That's okay--if you come here, you know you're getting my thoughts. There's no impression of neutrality. If I hear an interview on a radio show, however, I presume that the host is serving the audience. In this case, the host is colluding in the promotion of the "guest". I think that's fundamentally dishonest.

As I said, I'm not surprised that this sort of program is delivered to 4.2 million potential airline passengers. In fact, I'll bet it's standard practice. That's pretty disappointing.