Sharing Means Caring
A new health information web site will launch tomorrow. Called Sharecare.com, it offers more than 100,000 Q&As on health and wellness topics. The New York Times reports that some of the answers will be contributed by marketers.
For example, a Q&A on ”Why is good skin care important?” has been inserted by Dove, a sponsor. Most answers, however, will be contributed by independent organizations including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross and the Cleveland Clinic.
The sponsor/contributors are paying an $1-7 million each to be a part of Sharecare.com. The initial roster is composed of Colgate-Palmolive, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer and Unilever,
Where do the editors and sponsors draw the line on product referrals?
A Pfizer spokesman said his company would provide answers to questions “in the areas of fibromyalgia and smoking cessation” but “not around any products we offer” in those areas, which are, respectively, the prescription drugs Lyrica and Chantix.
This is part of a broader trend where “objective” editorial content is being seemlessly merged with advertising. I’ve noticed in the last year that large sections of Forbes, Fortune and other business magazines are paid advertorial that can not be easily distinguished from the “real” news coverage.
The front page of the Los Angeles Times is literally for sale. In recent months readers have been treated to a series of phoney, scary front pages sponsored by TV shows and amusement parks.