Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cruise Ad Sails Too Close for Comfort at Conde Nast Traveler

Placement for Norwegian Haven Promo a Little Too Convenient

I've long been a reader of Conde Nast Traveler for its mix of solid reporting, useful advice (thanks, always, Wendy Perrin) and articles about destinations that transport me to my recurring win-Powerball daydream.

One reason is CN Traveler takes its slogan "Truth in Travel" seriously. There's a strict no-junket policy. If a writer went somewhere, the magazine picked up the tab (lucky writer). In the August issue (not yet online), there's an intriguing article about how some cruise lines are creating ships-within-a-ship for passengers who pay handsomely to sail in a premium section closed off to the hordes on the Lido Deck.

One such sanctuary is called The Haven (left)  on Norwegian Cruise Line. So, it was a little curious and somewhat dispiriting to see in the August issue an article, in part, about The Haven experience, paired up with an advertorial about, natch, The Haven.

Now, to be fair, CN Traveler is always filled with special advertising sections and advertorials. It's how you pay for a reporter and photographer to do proper justice to the Himalayan temples of Nepal (p. 74). Even so, editorial and advertising should have put their heads together a little more effectively on the placement for this promo.

To be sure, writer Christian Wright's account of her experience in The Haven, which she contrasted with a stay in the more-egalitarian part of the ship was hardly an unqualified rave. Far from it. But the ad should have had some distance from her dispatch, otherwise readers can't help but wonder exactly whose truth is being told.

No comments: