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Thread: Shameless product placement ant the credibility of Sporting Rifle magazine

  1. #1

    Shameless product placement ant the credibility of Sporting Rifle magazine

    I sumitted this letter to Sporting Rifle two months ago, but they have not printed it:

    "I have now been subscribing to Sporting Rifle for just over one year. So far Iíve enjoyed it and I also like watching the shows on the Shooting Show web-TV channel. I have, however, become increasingly concerned with the journalistic credibility of the magazine and its sister TV-channel and I doubt if I will be renewing my subscription. While I clearly understand the need for sponsorship to finance the production of the web-TV show, and certainly the need for traditional advertising in the magazine Ė I do not understand how any serious publisher, not to mention any self-respecting editor could accept the practice of mixing journalistic content and advertising the way you do. By all means, Swarowski delivers great optics, Browning and Merkel are great guns, Ely and Gecko decent mid-price ammo and Iím sure Deerhunter clothing is OK as well, but any magazine which includes critical tests of equipment from some suppliers cannot include praise of the products of other suppliers in articles and features if the latter is a regular sponsor. I am surprised that you yourselves donít see how this compromises your integrity. Iím sure Iím not the only reader/viewer that has asked myself if youíve been paid to provide good reviews for one product or if your been paid to provide negative reviews for others. Iím not familiar with the legal regulations of UK publishing, but even if it is not illegal Ė it is clearly unethical and certainly ridiculous."

    I guess they do not appreciate criticism and prefer to print only positive letters. Do any of you have any thoughts on this?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Morten View Post
    I sumitted this letter to Sporting Rifle two months ago, but they have not printed it:

    "I have now been subscribing to Sporting Rifle for just over one year. So far I’ve enjoyed it and I also like watching the shows on the Shooting Show web-TV channel. I have, however, become increasingly concerned with the journalistic credibility of the magazine and its sister TV-channel and I doubt if I will be renewing my subscription. While I clearly understand the need for sponsorship to finance the production of the web-TV show, and certainly the need for traditional advertising in the magazine – I do not understand how any serious publisher, not to mention any self-respecting editor could accept the practice of mixing journalistic content and advertising the way you do. By all means, Swarowski delivers great optics, Browning and Merkel are great guns, Ely and Gecko decent mid-price ammo and I’m sure Deerhunter clothing is OK as well, but any magazine which includes critical tests of equipment from some suppliers cannot include praise of the products of other suppliers in articles and features if the latter is a regular sponsor. I am surprised that you yourselves don’t see how this compromises your integrity. I’m sure I’m not the only reader/viewer that has asked myself if you’ve been paid to provide good reviews for one product or if your been paid to provide negative reviews for others. I’m not familiar with the legal regulations of UK publishing, but even if it is not illegal – it is clearly unethical and certainly ridiculous."

    I guess they do not appreciate criticism and prefer to print only positive letters. Do any of you have any thoughts on this?
    oldest trick in the book, look at suppermarkets paying councils even groverments old news iam affriad.money makes the world go around dose not matter if its right or wrong not much we can do to change this

  3. #3
    With the editors reputation are you really surprised about questionable ethics ? Cancelled my subscription a long time ago.

  4. #4
    Morten the very same subject has been mentioned many times before on this website. It seems that quite a few of the site members have similar feelings to yourself. It's not that the same thing doesn't go on in other magazines it's just that they tend to be slightly more subtle about it.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

  5. #5
    some people would say that it is good business ,i dont agree with it but it happens alot in the meat trade back handers to byers to make sure that the keep ordering of crouse onces you have taken the bait you are in there pocket ,someone was sack from are sister companny he was being given tickets to watch the ruby world cup if he spent over 5000 pounds on cleaning chemicals ,he only got caught when then bills kept coming in and someone ask to see were on the cosh records they are being kept as they were mark corrosive and harmfull ,the container in the yard was opened and there was ten barrles from chemicals unopened they turn out to be so storng that they were off no use to anyone and they had to pay to have them remove off site. SO BRIBERY AND GREED ARE the two most commen things that go on in every industry ,someones probaly got some nice glass and all exspence pay for shooting holidays going on there i wonder what most people would do ,they are good brands that they put there names to so no wrong doing there . but i do agree the whole thing stinks and they dont deserve the customers they have .but thats life .
    Last edited by berg; 30-04-2014 at 12:56.

  6. #6
    I imagine its very difficult. There's not a lot of shooters out there in real terms buying these magazines. Without commercial money then I doubt there would be many (if any) available on the shelves - the finances of producing the glossy magazine.

    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 (England & Wales) makes it an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 ft of the centre of a highway with vehicular rights without lawful authority or excuse, if as a result a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Apache View Post
    I imagine its very difficult. There's not a lot of shooters out there in real terms buying these magazines. Without commercial money then I doubt there would be many (if any) available on the shelves - the finances of producing the glossy magazine.
    thats very ture ,people do what they have to do,to keep there business going

  8. #8
    It is rather endemic in publications - and not just shooting. But as Apache rightly points out the market is such that a. publishers cannot survive on the over price and b. many distributors need to push purchasers into key lines to be commercially viable.

    The farce of it is that people aren't dim! They buy product X and rapidly discover for themselves that it bears little relation to the hyped up 'review'. Trust is easy to lose. In the end the public perception comes full circle and the marketeers get busy with a new tag line, direction, fad manipulation etc. We ( including me ) 'want to believe' - its how industries are built.

    None of the above should be interpreted as an apology nor indication that we think its ok - its not. We've queried the fixed power scope situation previously - did demand fall or was a production decision made and now the effort is in bending the purchasers to fit?

    There are some mighty slick operators out there, but spin and flam-flam are just that - sooner or later the truth outs. The irritation is that if a tiny portion of that effort was put into listening/ working with customers, what may we get out of it? Butler Creek caps that last like they used to?
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  9. #9
    SD Regular Mr. Gain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57 View Post
    It's not that the same thing doesn't go on in other magazines it's just that they tend to be slightly more subtle about it.
    Do you mean by "the same thing" direct sponsorship diminishing the objectivity of reviews? or advertising revenue influencing what is covered and what isn't? or is the latter effect just the "subtle" version?
    To my mind, a major difference is that the former naturally leads to a blanket policy and the latter to a case-by-case response. Put another way, sponsors have a say about all the content and advertisers only have an influence over how their own products are presented.

    Unfortunately readers will never meet the full cost of producing a magazine, let alone generate a profit, whereas advertisers pay handsomely for space. [Of course, a magazine can't afford to lose its readers, though this is primarily because readership figures underpin advertising sales!]

    Their investment makes most advertisers acutely averse to feeling that they are funding criticism of their own products -in the case of a negative review, and sometimes even where only modest criticism is offered. Often the result of this is that they threaten to take their money elsewhere.

    When faced with a choice between losing a big account or publishing a warts-and-all review, therefore, it's not unreasonable to assume that many editors will put the wider interests of the title, its staff and its publisher before the critical views of a particular writer about a single product.

    Moreover, in a country that is home to an extraordinary number of shooting magazines, no one magazine, or publisher, has the clout to risk calling the aggrieved advertiser's bluff.

    Readers probably get the best value out of magazines if they adopt a circumspect attitude to writers' views on products and focus instead on the descriptive aspects of reviews and on features that are largely unconnected with the sale of products or services. Indeed, some magazines get around the problem identified here by running few reviews -and then only in formats that tend to disguise criticism- and specialising in features that deal with technique, recount sporting reminiscences, or otherwise evoke the activities and lifestyle that their readers enjoy or aspire to, leaving the advertisers to promote their own products in their pages.
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  10. #10
    I wrote an article about a guy that I have met several times over the years on driven boar trips to Croatia, this time he spent his money on a Bear shoot, also in Croatia.
    During the editorial I mentioned the agent and the acommodation, which wasn't any of the ones used by the editor and I am sure that was the reason it wasn't published.
    I have written articles before for various other publications and had them published so had no reason, initially, to expect this article to be ignored.
    No I'm afraid it isn't my favourite magazine, it is more like a catalogue of shooting items rather than a readable magazine.

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