Slate Styles Retro Touch for PBS

NEW YORK Long known for its high-quality writing, online content site Slate is trying to be as innovative in its ad packages to suit its editorial sensibility.

The Washington Post Co.-owned site’s latest twist kicked off on Friday with a weekend campaign for Texas Ranch House, a PBS reality show running this week about family living in a late 19th century frontier house. A banner ad appeared on Slate’s home page and throughout the site offering users a glimpse of what the Web venue would look like in 1876.

Rolling over the ad shows users a mock-up of the Slate home page. It has familiar features, like “Dear Prudence,” only rather than delving into contemporary matters of morality and ethics it is about falling in love with a cowboy. The faux Slate contents page will not include full stories.

The PBS push is the latest for Slate that tries to break new ground by melding editorial with advertising in new ways. A Visa campaign in February altered the Slate table of contents to appear from the point of view as a mirror. The Visa creative read, “Life Takes Perspective” in a handheld mirror. The home page reverted to regular view after seven seconds.

“We want to have advertising as fresh and interesting and out of the box as our editorial content,” said Cliff Sloan, who took over as Slate’s publisher after The Washington Post Co. bought the site in December.

Sloan said the site would continue to explore new ways to include advertising without compromising its editorial integrity. “Our touchstone is it should be very clear what’s advertising and what’s editorial,” he said. “We want to make sure that’s very clear, but we want to take full advantage of the medi