No sooner had I flagged a laughable piece of product placement in an apparent news article on the Daily Mail's website than somebody flagged this clumsy effort from music title the NME last week which was supposed to be about the 10 best debut albums of the year:
"In the second of four blog posts that look back over an incredible year in music, we hone in on the debut albums that have set our pulses racing. With so many album reviews on NME.com, we armed ourselves with Windows 10 on the lightning-fast Surface Pro 3 tablet, a device Microsoft promise can replace your laptop."
It went on...
"Thanks to a neat feature on the new Windows web browser Edge, we snapped multiple web pages..."
"...we streamed via... the Windows 10 digital streaming service with an online music catalogue of over 38 million tracks. Hefty."
"In less than five minutes we'd bought tickets and used digital assistant Cortana to email our gig buddy, add the date to our calendar and set a reminder...so even if we're out and about the reminder will pop up on our phone. Nice one."
Nice one. Now can Cortana also pass me a bucket, because I think I'm about to be sick.
Of course brands want publicity and publications need to make money. Neither of those things are wrong, but it is the ham-fisted way some publications are going about it that should serve as a warning to everybody.
Microsoft should be embarrassed they paid anything for something so witless and the NME should hang their heads in shame at publishing something so cringe-worthy because this kind of puff-piece lets down readers and advertisers alike.
Producing "sponsored content" mustn't be taken as a licence to insult the intelligence of readers or do a half-arsed job on behalf of advertisers, otherwise both will be lost.