Posted by Daniel Price on March 16, 2006

VNR Gets Extra Mileage Out of Car Commercial

News report about a Cadillac ad is actually a Cadillac ad itself

Clients: Cadillac
Release Date: January 2006
Aired By: 4 stations
Disclosed By: No stations

When it comes to the Super Bowl, it seems the game itself has taken a back seat to the advertisements. But when it comes to Super Bowl ads, video news releases (VNRs) often ride shotgun.

In January 2006, Cadillac hired Medialink Worldwide to create a VNR around the making of their Super Bowl ad. The 80-second fake news feature—voiced by Medialink publicist Drew Maxwell—included comments from Jim Taylor, general manager of Cadillac, and Tor Myhren, the Leo Burnett ad executive who helped develop the commercial. Interspersed throughout the VNR was the entire commercial itself, as well as ample shots of the Cadillac Escalade.

The story was announced to TV newsrooms on January 24. Of the four stations who incorporated the VNR into their newscasts, two of them—KAIT-8 (Jonesboro, AR) and KOKH-25 (Oklahoma City, OK)—ran the package in its entirety. Editors at both stations inserted network-branded graphics into the video to make it look like their own report, and anchors at both newscasts introduced Maxwell as if he were a station correspondent.

KZTV-10 (Corpus Christi, TX) created a 45-second edit of the VNR, inserting station-branded graphics but keeping the publicist's original narration. WJBK-2 in Detroit incorporated 36 seconds of the VNR into a larger story about Super Bowl commercials. None of the four stations cited Medialink or Cadillac as the source of their video.

The Center for Media and Democracy had previously observed KAIT-8 running a complete and uncut VNR from Trend Micro Software. WZBK-2 had previously aired an edited VNR from NetTrekker, an Internet search engine. And KOKH-25 has been caught on five separate occasions deceptively blending complete VNRs into their newscasts, from Trend Micro Software, Panasonic, Intel, Chemistry.com, and Towers Perrin.

View the original VNR, as well as the KOKH-25 news story, below.

Original Cadillac VNR KOKH-25 9PM newscast
Created by Medialink January 25, 2006
Voiced by publicist Complete VNR voiced by publicist
00:00
 
00:00