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John-in-KC

Sponsored Blog Posts at Scouting Magazine

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A Scout is trustworthy able to sell himself to the highest bidder.

 

Scouting Magazine, the official adult communication organ of BSA, posted this Berkshire Hathaway (See's Candy) sponsored blog post on their website.

 

IMO, the National Council has an integrity problem.  Units and chartered partners have to honor fundraising rules (no endoresements), the National Council SELLS them.

Edited by John-in-KC

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I think a paid advertisement and a paid-for blog post, even if it is clearly labeled as such, are two different things.

 

Bryan regularly blogs about items of interest to Scouters. Sometimes he is blogging about things that are somewhat controversial, such as interpretations of certain regulations, or changes to rules, etc. Some of what he writes contain his opinions (I believe), and they certainly contain the opinions of the Scouters or folks from National who he chooses to quote - and at the same time, he chooses not to quote other people who might have different opinions. What I'm saying here is, Bryan is a guy who presents information and opinions, and he (and his employer, the BSA) want all of us to believe that information and opinions are correct, and follow them. Now he comes along and sells (proceeds to his employer of course) his column to a sponsor, and puts in THEIR information, which in this case is why it's so great to eat (and sell) their chocolate. I kind of think this hurts his credibility for everything else, if you can buy his opinion. And what are we supposed to think (and it may have already happened, I don't remember) one day when Bryan's Blog is about the new nutritional guidelines being incorporated into the advancement requirements, and/or the BSA's participation in a national campaign to combat the problem of obesity among teenagers. (I just made up that last part, but it could happen, or it might already have happened.) How does that square with his paid shilling for the candy company?

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Oh, fer the love of commerce, ppl!

Have you never looked at the back pages of Boy's Life? I used to spend as much time reading ads as I did memorizing the jokes and riddles! Never once did I misconstrue the levitating car plan advertisement for advice in one of Green Bar Bill's sidebars!

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I don't find this dishonest or untrustworthy.  I do find it distasteful.  

 

It's clearly labeled as Sponsored, so I think any reasonable person who reads it knows it's a paid shill not an original opinion.  There are, and have been for a while, parallel forms of advertising.  Radio announcers have, for as long as there has been radio, been reading spots in their own voice touting one product or another.  Paid spokespersons on TV have been around since it's dawning, and even in magazines, which Bryan's Blog is supposed to be a part of, there have always been advertisements that have the same or similar look and feel of the news content they provide.  Almost every news site I read on the internet has similar "Sponsored Content" ads or headlines, and so I know either to not click on them, or if I do that I am clicking on an ad.

 

I do wish that this could be done a bit differently.  As NJ said "Bryan is a guy who presents information and opinions, and he (and his employer, the BSA) want all of us to believe that information and opinions are correct, and follow them..."  I think that these sponsored columns, and it looks like there have been about half a dozen of them, could appear on his blog without them being made to sound as if they're coming using his voice.  I don't mind that there's sponsored content, but I think there are better ways to do it.

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Oh, fer the love of commerce, ppl!

Have you never looked at the back pages of Boy's Life? I used to spend as much time reading ads as I did memorizing the jokes and riddles! Never once did I misconstrue the levitating car plan advertisement for advice in one of Green Bar Bill's sidebars!

 

Exactly. Or how about any of the gear peddling they've done recently?

 

After years of being forced to swallow all the Trail's End stuff we have indignation for this? Really?

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Krampus, Trail's End is something explicitly sponsored by Councils, much as cookies are by GSUSA.

 

In this case, the marketing is a back-door.  What I find untrustworthy about this is a senior professional using what has become his blog space to shill something else.  For me, that's a step across the integrity door.

Edited by John-in-KC

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Krampus, Trail's End is something explicitly sponsored by Councils, much as cookies are by GSUSA.

 

In this case, the marketing is a back-door.  What I find untrustworthy about this is a senior professional using what has become his blog space to shill something else.  For me, that's a step across the integrity door.

 

Do you disagree with Bryan allowing his space to be used for a paid spot to provide room for a BSA-sponsored fund raiser? How it that any different than BSA pushing Trail's End or any other fund raising program they hock in BL or Scouting?

 

For me there was not line crossed. They clearly marked the post as a sponsored item. They did not mask it in any way. The piece was written just like any other piece suggesting ways units can make money. Read the popcorn or greenery bits he's written in the past; same thing.

 

When did making money and being honest about the source of a sponsorship become code for lack of integrity?

Edited by Krampus

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Oh, fer the love of commerce, ppl!

Have you never looked at the back pages of Boy's Life? I used to spend as much time reading ads as I did memorizing the jokes and riddles! Never once did I misconstrue the levitating car plan advertisement for advice in one of Green Bar Bill's sidebars!

But as far as I can recall, Green Bar Bill did not promote specific products or services in the text of his column. That is what this is about. In fact if you read the column it appears that while Bryan wrote the introduction and the parenthetical under number 10 (about the chocolates sent by See's to the Scouting staff, which my father would have called "graft"), the rest of it may have been written by the candy company: The intro says the 10 tips were "served up by See’s Candies." I don't know if I would call it "untrustworthy", but I do agree with T2Eagle that there are better ways to do this.

 

Exactly. Or how about any of the gear peddling they've done recently?

 

After years of being forced to swallow all the Trail's End stuff we have indignation for this? Really?

Just speaking for myself, I am not "indignant" over this. The link was posted, I read the column, and commented on it. I notice, by the way, that some of the commenters on the blog post also have an issue with the "sponsored posts." As for Trail's End (is that still the company? I bought some (overpriced) popcornfrom a couple of earnest-looking Cub Scouts a few weeks ago and I think another company's name was on the box), I think that is over-pushed as well. I have never liked the fact that the council gives preference (like permission to wear the uniform) only to the fundraisers where they get a big cut of the profits. It just seems kind of sleazy.

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Do you disagree with Bryan allowing his space to be used for a paid spot to provide room for a BSA-sponsored fund raiser? How it that any different than BSA pushing Trail's End or any other fund raising program they hock in BL or Scouting?

This is not about other things that the BSA may do that are, arguably, just as bad or worse than this. Even if there are other things that are just as bad or worse, that does not make this a good idea. And certainly this is not the first thread that has ever appeared in this forum criticizing some of things that BSA National and/or councils do to bring in funds.

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This is not about other things that the BSA may do that are, arguably, just as bad or worse than this. Even if there are other things that are just as bad or worse, that does not make this a good idea. And certainly this is not the first thread that has ever appeared in this forum criticizing some of things that BSA National and/or councils do to bring in funds.

 

Help me understand, what was bad about this?

 

Since the corporations who withdrew funds -- for reasons which I won't name because someone will think it is political and move this to I&P -- have not come back yet, how is BSA supposed to get the word out about fund raising for units and councils if they don't take some valuable print space to do it?

 

How do you think BSA should get the word out to their members about fund raising? What would be "better" way to do it?

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Hooray!  No more overpriced popcorn!  Now, we get to sell candy, although the amount of candy pictured will be more than $2.

 

Seriously, the first eight fundraising tips have appeared in Scouting at least twice before and as general info articles.  They work, and should be used all the time.

 

I disagree with tip #9 on giving samples.  Cut the candies in half; you want to whet their appetite -- not satisfy it.  If an entire family is before you -- just give out one sample (probably to the Mom).  The kids will then become your sales "helpers" nagging Dad to open the wallet so they can have candy too.  Otherwise your return on investment will go way down.

 

Microwave popcorn may still have transfats as an ingredient -- just bad, bad, bad -- although it has been a while since I read a T E ingredients list.

 

Let's not kill the messenger if the message makes sense.

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And one no longer remembers the tremendous amount of advertising/sponsorships of Boy's Life of years past?  I would say about half the pages were advertisements.  So now that it has gone digital, BSA can't do that anymore?  

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