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Pornography, It's What's Driving Traffic?

The New York Times reports this morning on a new Internet ad campaign being launched by MSNBC this week, with just under $1 million directed at wooing Web surfers to the MSNBC Web site and, more importantly, the 24-hour cable news channel. Here's how The Times' Stuart Elliott described the effort:
"MSNBC … will promote the shows - with their hosts, Keith Olbermann, Rita Cosby and Joe Scarborough - in ads that are to start appearing tomorrow and continue all day Wednesday. Some ads will promote segments on the shows about life online, like how marketers sponsor 'viral' video clips that consumers can forward to each other."
Well, today we're getting a glimpse at the initial ad offering and so far, it's a little different than what was described in The Times. Sites today like TVNewser, Buzz Machine and even Daily Kos are running the MSNBC ads. We've stumbled across a couple of variations so far, but the most common is a simple seedy-looking neon silhouette outline of a woman's body with the following text:
"Porn. It's jumped out of the seedy theaters and back-alley video stores, and into the family computer. See where it's heading next."
Readers are then urged to "learn more" at the MSNBC site, where a number of stories are featured, such as promotions for "Live & Direct" that promises "a unique look inside the Valley of Porn." And there's a promo for "Scarborough Country" that asks, "Internet addiction now an epidemic?" (I assume that has some "porn" component to it). Or you can read stories like, "Atheist group trades bibles for porn" and "former stripper starts ministry."

Maybe we'll get to those "viral" video promotions later in the week, but so far, it looks like MSNBC is making sure they get as much bang for their advertising buck as possible.