Did USA Today run a front page ad with fake stories about hybrid babies?

On June 4, 2021, USA Today released its weekend print, wrapped in a full-page ad that – although labeled as an advertisement – resembled the newspaper’s actual front page format, and fake news reports about “half human, half animal.” reported, the false front page was “an advertisement in association with Netflix for its new show ‘Sweet Tooth'”, the protagonist of which is a young human-deer hybrid.

This form of advertising while not new, is controversial. The Society for Professional Journalists Code of Ethics believes that ethical advertising should “distinguish news from advertising and avoid hybrids that blur the lines between the two”.

Every day brings a new reason to be grateful I don’t work for Gannett anymore pic.twitter.com/RlD7kdTXfH

– Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) June 5, 2021

Performing a trick to get fake newspaper reports on what looks like the actual front page of the newspaper also appears to run counter to the publicity guidelines of USA Today’s economics division. USA Today’s “2020 Advertising Rate Card” (the most recent summary available on the website) lists the company’s “Terms and Conditions” of advertising. A guideline point clearly says that “Ads cannot look like USA Today’s news or front page format”.

A spokesperson for Gannett – the company that publishes USA Today – confirmed the campaign was real, but didn’t answer Snopes’ question about the company’s published advertising policies, just emailing us that “the campaign was clearly identified as Advertising was marked and adhered to “. our advertising guidelines and protocols. “

With the campaign confirmed by a Gannett spokesperson, we rate the claim that the June 4, 2021 weekend edition of USA Today was wrapped in an ad with fake news about hybrid babies as “true”.

Comments are closed.