General Mills has bribed some 900 people -- most of them moms -- into blogging nice things about the company. In return for their positive PR work, they get free coupons and samples.
Minnesota Public Radio's Bob Collins reported the mom advertising army, which he spotted in Adweek. Here's what Collins had to say about it:
To be fair, the responsible PR folks say that does not constitute a requirement to write good things, just that they notify the company for feedback purposes.
Say what you want about the thin grey line between blogging and journalism, but having to contact the company before writing anything negative constitutes a chilling effect in my book.
Granted, bloggers are free to purchase and review the products on their own dime and General Mills is free to help manage its message as it sees fit, but this is certainly something to ponder as huge corporations work to extend their influence.
We couldn't agree more.