pay to play

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

This morning I was greeted by an e-mail inviting our founding winemaker to participate in a radio interview. Said interview would also include a listing on the station's Web site. Said interview would be broadcast nationally.

And said interview would cost $795. This is "a sponsorship package."

Are you kidding me? Since when is it okay to pay for media coverage? I am absolutely horrified. And this isn't the first time I've seen this. I can't even tell you how many magazines (by the way, regional "luxury" lifestyle publications are the worst when it comes to this) have tried to pull something like this: "Give us cases and cases for our event, and we'll mention you in the next issue!" And TV is guilty as well: "Pay us X amount, and we'll do a feature on your winery."

Honestly, if you need to pay people to talk about your wines, are your wines really even worth talking about? Probably not.

This worries me. If more and more media are using these "sponsorship packages," how much information out there is actually legit? Or is most everything we see, hear and read just one big ad? This is frightening beyond belief.

Thankfully, my winery has ethics. We don't "pay to play." And I'd like to believe our juice is good enough to stand on its own. (And that I'm a good enough PR person to win attention for us without having to fork over any cash.)

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