AdAge recently posted about an eMarketer study stating that changing federal drug marketing laws and the targeting the web allows that pharmaceutical companies are ramping up online spending:
More than most industries, pharmaceutical companies have wised up to the web's ability to target unique audiences with specific needs. As a result, the industry will increase online spending by about 25% this year, to $780 million, according to an eMarketer report released this week.
What I find disturbing is not that they want to spend more on marketing, but that major publishers have already taken that message to heart and have went on record stating that they are growing out their sites based specifically on the revenue potential:
For Scott Meyer, CEO of About, the decision was simple. "There's a very fast-growing market on the advertising side," Mr. Meyer said. "Health is not the only vertical we want to build out, but it's the biggest opportunity for ad revenue."
Marjorie Martin, general manager for About Health, is leading the charge in custom-branded content with exclusive advertisers. "There's huge interest from advertisers to closely associate themselves with a particular issue."
Is there any chance of objectivity if the content is built around a pre requested issue, angle, and ad creative by an exclusive advertiser? Why would the NYT go on record with this as being their official position?
Being human means we all have some inherent flaws. Some drug companies will create drugs based around masking the fact that we are human (at least temporarily). Then those drug companies will pay respected wide reaching publishers to create custom content based on spreading a marketing message they want people to find when people are actively trying to solve the problem of being human.
How much money will emotions like depression be worth to publishers? Will people be able to find accurate information if traditionally well trusted publishers are leveraging their authority to create custom advertising opportunities for the people with the greatest profit potential in spreading misinformation or a biased view of the world to a desired audience one at a time?
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