It looks like a news report, reads like a news report but a reader may only notice that it is an advertorial if she pays close attention to a marker tucked away in a corner of the page.
The Delhi editions of the Times of India and Hindustan Times on Tuesday carried two full pages﹘on page eight and nine﹘of what at first glance seemed to be a news feature on an initiative by the Uttar Pradesh government to build expressways.
The expressway ad in Times of India.
The ad in Hindustan Times.
While the Times of India called it a ‘consumer connect initiative,’ the Hindustan Times termed it ‘Hindustan Times media marketing initiative’, at the bottom of the advertorial. The write-ups did not have bylines but appeared to be a news feature on various projects undertaken by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh.
The English dailies also carried full front page ads on the Purvanchal expressway which is set to be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
In the Times of India, the headline read, “providing connectivity, improving lives” while the strap stated, “Uttar Pradesh becomes the state on expressways”. The Hindustan Times piece was headlined “UP expressways scripting transformation”. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi will officially inaugurate the Purvanchal expressway on November 16. The expressway connects Ghazipur in eastern UP with state capital of Lucknow. Commuters using the Purvanchal expressway will not be required to pay any toll fee initially,” read the strap.
While carrying government ads is part of the business model for most legacy media, there are certain norms in place. As per the Press Council of India’s, “advertisements must be clearly distinguishable from news content carried in a newspaper”. This is not the first time that UP government advertisements have been .