Mediaite Cs go red for ‘The Big C’

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Visitors to Mediaite, the media-centric site founded by MSNBC anchor Dan Abrams, are noticing something a bit different this morning — the first “C” in each headline has been turned red. At first I only noticed it in the first headline and thought perhaps it was a code issue.

The reason for the color shift isn’t inherently clear upon first glance, but I suspected it had something to do with advertising and a quick hover over one of the red letters proves that to be correct — a floating window promotes the new Showtime program “The Big C.”

This is an interesting and clever way to incorporate advertising into content since it  grabs users’ attention by making them wonder what’s going on. That said, it does make one wonder how many people will actually n0tice the change and think to hover over the letter to figure out what it’s all about — but perhaps that’s part of the strategy to attract a certain, Web-savvy demographic.

As far as I can tell, every headline on the Mediate homepage has at least one “C” in it. It would be interesting to know if the folks who write headlines were instructed to ensure all headlines include a “C” or if it’s just a coincidence.

The campaign is just the latest example of a growing effort on the Web to more closely integrate advertising with content — and news Web sites are constantly walking a fine line between what’s “too much.” Granted, Mediaite isn’t exactly a mainstream, consumer news site, so it probably has a bit more leeway, but it is still interesting to note the site’s willingness to take advertising this far.

Do you think Mediaite’s concept would be acceptable on a more mainstream news site? Vote below.

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