Skip the ad? Skip the story

Whoever complained about intrusive advertising hasn’t read the May 2008 issue of Vanity Fair, where the advertising eclipses the content. If you need any convincing, I give you the opening sentences of a head-scratching cover profile of Madonna:

“The world is a series of rooms, which are arranged like concentric circles, or rooms within rooms, joined by courtyards and antechambers, and in the room at the center of all those rooms Madonna sits alone, in a white dress, dreaming of Africa. To reach her, you must wait for a sign. When it comes, if you are pure of heart, you begin to move toward Madonna, and move fast.”

And the writing gets worse. Here’s what VF says about Madonna’s adoption of a child from Malawi:

“Madonna brings this boy into her house and gives him everything, but gets something in return: a living totem of life as it was lived before machines.”

I had a lot more fun encountering Keith Richards in the same issue, looking like a vampire with luggage as he plugs Louis Vuitton in a provocative ad:

Mikhail Baryshnikov, Tina Fey, and Gisele Bundchen also captivated my interest by playing make-believe Peter Pan in a Disney ad:

The phenomenon of advertiser as entertainer is discussed by Grant Owens of my employer Avenue A | Razorfish in an essay (“Online Video in 2008”) from the 2008 Digital Outlook Report (published by Avenue A | Razorfish). Grant asserts that marketers can be more effective by providing branded entertainment that engages and connects with the consumer. The May Vanity Fair is a case in point from the offline world. Louis Vuitton and Disney entertained me through advertising. Madonna did not through editorial content. Skip the ad? In this case, skip the story.

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  2. Keith Richards uses the same moisturizing and conditioning rubs on his own skin that Louis Vuitton does for its leather goods. Seriously, does the appearance of a disheveled old rocker compel twentysomething women to purchase the latest Vuitton handbag? What\’s next… Eddie Van Halen for Victoria\’s Secret?

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