Advertisement or Endorsement?
By Paul Frommelt
When does ‘paid advertising’ become ‘paid endorsement’? When does ‘promotion’ become ‘approval’? When does a ‘news source’ cross the line in an advertisement while attempting to avoid the appearance of endorsing a political candidate? It has nothing to do with whether or not the candidate ‘paid’ for the ad. It has everything to do with ‘intent’!
The definition of Advertisement is: “A public promotion of a product or service [or person],
The definition ofEndorsement is: “A publicapprovalof a product or service [or person].
Pretty similar definitions, right? Both an advertisement and an endorsement are public. That’s obvious. The other similarity is the “product or service” part.
It’s clear that both advertisements and endorsements benefit a product/service/brand [or person]. So, when we look at the difference, we’re really looking at just that one key word.
Promotion vs Approval. This single word difference between an endorsement and an advertisement may seem small, but underestimating it is a mistake. When you define an endorsement as an approval and not a promotion, your whole perspective… changes.” 
To put it another way, “Often the key element in…, a product endorsement is a public declaration from a person or
organization in support of a product’s [or person’s] features, quality, benefits,….
An endorsement can be either paid or unpaid.” 
In conclusion I would like to offer up my own perception of the differences between advertising something or someone, and a paid endorsement. If the ‘ad’ is located in a place where one would expect to see such, as in a printed newspaper or billboard, I would accept that as an advertisement. However, if I were to see banners plastered across a newspaper office building, advertising local political candidates, I would certainly take for granted that they were being endorsed by the newspaper. And I believe that most people would. It doesn’t matter if the candidates paid $10 or $1000 for the ‘ad’. It certainly has the appearance of bias! Personally, I feel advertisements belong in the newspaper, and not on it!
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