It remains to be seen whether advertisers will care as much as anyone else about this that Jeff Bezos had to say about The National Enquirer yesterday. But it could be otherwise if a lawsuit is brought against the publisher.
With presumptuous titles like Prince Harry telling his brother "It's hell at home!" Or profiles of corporate executives detailing "What these billionaires are hiding ! "The National Enquirer has managed to keep advertisers in spite of extremely questionable ethical conditions.
American Media, Inc. (AMI), parent company of the National Enquirer and other titles such as Us Weekly, Star, OK !, In Touch and Life & Style, released today. a statement that did not deny the company's attempt to blackmail Bezos. Instead, he stated that he was holding on to the so-called information about his alleged affair and that he would open a thorough investigation into Bezos's claims.
The statement does not convince at least one former employee.
"Who would ever believe this statement?", Asked Stu Zakim, former spokesman for the AMI.
Zakim first said that he had laughed while reading the message of Bezos, who details communication of his lawyers with AMI. "When did common sense leave the bed? You will not go after the richest man in the world and do not brutalize him and do not expect to be exposed, "said Zakim.
A" ladle "behavior must be The National Enquirer and its parent company, which is the value of its brand, said Brian Sheehan, an advertising professor at SI Newhouse School of Public Communications, in an e-mail.
Serious Crimes against the company could, however, take the company to another level, he noted. "It is much harder for advertisers to turn a blind eye to this type of behavior without altering their own brands," he said. said Sheehan.
With a booth price of $ 4.99, it's hard to know how much the publisher depends on paying advertising subscriptions.Many more people use it in kiosks (151 866, based on an average of six month that ended last December) that having a subscription, which was 66 194 for the same period, calculated by the Alliance for Audited Media.
The tabloid has a particular way of formatting its advertisements so that they can, at first glance, be confused with articles. Advertisers in the Feb. 29 issue include Liver Doctor Liver Cleansing Pills, Reassure Night Underwear and a diet book containing James Direct, Inc. vinegar recipes. Other advertisers , like Omaha Steaks, have already been announced in the tabloid.
"These brands are not interested in managing a prestigious image," said Tom Meyvis, a professor of marketing at the Stern School of Business at New York University. "These brands also do not want to be associated with an immoral media company if people see it as such."
What could differentiate this situation at other times, that is what AMI and its CEO, David Pecker, have experienced the water is the serious legal consequences that could result from Bezos's allegations.
Pecker and AMI were protected after former Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws after helping arrange the payment with Pecker a former Playboy model. But sources told the Associated Press that prosecutors were investigating whether American Media was violating the cooperation agreement. If the judicial authorities take legal action, advertisers may be inclined to act.
"When are more and more supermarkets [and] saying that this is enough?" Raju Narisetti, director of the Knight-Bagehot Scholarship Program in Economics and Business Journalism at the # Columbia University.