By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Up, up and away with that weird, obtrusive JetBlue ad

I’ve held off on writing about the obtrusive JetBlue ad that ran in Thursday’s Boston Globe because I wasn’t sure what I thought of it. It’s hard to have a hot take without an opinion.

On the one hand, we’ve long grown accustomed to financially strapped newspaper owners accepting ad placement that would have been forbidden back in the golden (as in gold) era. (Remember when page-one ads were seen as an outrage?) And I’ve tried not to be critical as long as there was no way a reader could confuse advertising with editorial content.

On the other, the Globe and JetBlue have foisted this weirdness on the paper’s oldest, most loyal, highest-paying customers: people who actually buy the weekday print edition.

So even though I don’t see anything unethical about it, I think the Globe failed to put its customers first  — or, rather, it put one set of customers (its advertisers) ahead of another set (its readers). At least the ad didn’t run through a story about a plane crash.

JetBlue’s ad is clearly part of a national campaign, and I assume it ran in other newspapers as well. I’d be curious to know where else this appeared.

More: There’s a robust discussion of this unfolding on Facebook.

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  1. Patricia Bennett

    I am a print subscriber and saw this ad. It was layed out right within the columns meant to disrupt my reading – which it did. I wasn’t sure what it was and followed the planes up to the right corner to find it was a Jet Blue ad. Honestly, at first I thought it was clever but I also found it intrusive.

    Also, I don’t like the new Opinion page layout. I like to read print and refer to the electronic versions. It’s bad enough the Boston Globe online layout does not correspond with the papers layout (you have to search for an article you read in print – I’ve even had to email BG to find where the article is online), but now print subscribers are paying for less content!

    This might be the thing that finally gets me to cancel my subscription, maybe just go to Sunday paper and online access. I don’t want to, but am getting pushed in that direction by the Globe itself.

  2. The magazine world tried this sort of ad formatting several years back but seems to have largely abandoned it — with good reason, I would suspect. One cannot completely fault the Globe (and/or other papers) for doing this, though, if they also were able to extract a hefty premium ad rate in return. The key word is hefty.

  3. Effie Stewart

    Dan, I usually agree with you but not on this matter.. , come on, lighten up. I applaud the Globe for being so bold and brazen. Go for the big bucks I say! And if it helps keep them afloat, bravo.

  4. I am a digital subscriber using the e-paper format on my iPad. When I first saw the ad I thought “What’s with the planes?” Then when I swiped to the next page I saw the full ad. It was quite confusing. If I had been reading the print edition with both pages in view, it would have made sense. Wonder what Mr. Campaign Outsider thinks of this one?

  5. Fred Weissman

    A similar ad ran in the NY Times a day or two after it ran in the Globe. However, the Times had the good sense not to let it interfere with the story on the same page. If I recall correctly, the planes ran across the bottom of a two page spread.

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