An old taboo: The Sleep Country “newscast”

Let me first alert the PR firm that holds Sleep Country’s account and monitors the web for mentions that this isn’t a slam on Sleep Country. The Kent based company merely provides a current example of something that these days, kind of gives me a chuckle when I think about how things “used to be.” Fake News

So, just how did things used to be? Well, back in the early 80′s when I was working my first TV job at the CBS affiliate in Yakima, the news director ran the building. That should be your first clue about how long ago this all took place.

On a share basis, I recall it being mentioned that we were the most powerful CBS affiliate in the country – and our fearless news director/anchor owned the market and ruled the roost.

One of the things he used to rail against were newscast-style commercials like the one Sleep Country is currently running. Should they be placed anywhere adjacent to, or god forbid inside, one of our market-dominating newscasts… he (as he was apt to do for a variety of reasons) went through the roof, marched upstairs and told traffic and anybody else within earshot to knock it off. And they did!

Imagine that today.

But I think his point is still a valid one. Advertisers are always trying to appropriate the credibility of the news, and they’ll go as far as they think broadcasters will let them. My old news director had another word for it starting with a “w,” but I’ll just leave it at that. It brings another smile though.

It seems sort of silly to think that anybody would confuse a news style commercial, like the one Sleep Country is running inside KING5′s broadcast, with a part of a real newscast – but just as I write that I begin to ponder all the phone calls that come into a TV station in which viewers ask to speak to the national anchorman or want the station’s over-the-air transmissions to stop interfering with their brain waves.

But what do you think? Do you have problem with advertisers doing newscast send-ups to hawk their products? If not, do you have a problem with them being placed around a newscast? Does this kind of old school thinking even matter in today’s everything goes media landscape?

Bonus points of you can name the news director at this shop.