Native Advertising – Creativity or Compromise?

Sheer lighthearted brilliance from the tenacious, satirical and uber-conscious John Oliver on the negative side of native advertising (an absolute must-watch):

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There seems to be two sides to the argument here for native advertising.

First – the one we’re aware of – targeting the content-loving, ad-hating, editorial-and-everything-else-related hungry teenage bandwagon of consumers with fresh editorial-style advertising as we have seen on Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post. Not only has this refreshed advertising techniques and given a new lease of life to online marketing, it has proven plenty successful in endearing brands to their target segment far more than boring, annoying and obsolete banner ads.

Second – the one that John talks about – how native advertising seems to be, at best, compromising the quality of journalism, and at worst, how it is emblematic of corporations’ interests taking over even the most supposedly independent of press units such as the New York Times. It is a serious question posed to the independence of our press and ‘duping’ of the consumer.

Make sure you enjoy this short video and leave some comments!

Shivin (G1)

One response to “Native Advertising – Creativity or Compromise?”

  1. Thank you for sharing this interesting piece!

    Actually, native advertising is highly prone to controversy – more exactly “ethical” controversy – due to its insufficient authenticity level. Native advertising and brand journalism focus on creating content that simultaneously is both commercial and editorial.

    “Don’t trick them. Don’t piss them off. Native ad. poses a danger of erasing the distinction between sponsored and unsponsored messages online…” quote by Eric Goeres, Director of Innovation at Time, speaking on the “Truth in Advertising” panel at the recent Content Summit.

    Further, as companies need to leverage abundant social media platforms, the digital age motto “Every company is a media company” became a new business norm. Accordingly we have seen the rise of journalism moving to PR and in-house media and publication agencies. Today this is one of the most talked-about (i.e., quietly talked-about) areas in the media industry, ultimately destined to shake up a century of journalism. Recently when attending the Content Conference in Singapore, I noted that most in-house media agencies are headed by former journalists.

    That said, there is a big question mark over its identity. Some people talk about its benefits, while naysayers criticize that “brand journalism and native advertising” is closer to advertising and propaganda, but not delivering journalistic value … So, even the prominent in-house brand journalist, Kris LeBoutilier, the award-winning photo journalist from National Geographic Travel now head of Visa in Singapore and developing digital strategies, lamented that he “(had) been born in the 1950s, the golden age of photo journalism.”

    Here is important material I actually already had prepared for class discussion but, because you brought this up now, am glad to present right now, as this is the perfect opportunity for sharing (and helps overcome our in-class time constraints):

    Let’s go over key arguments on pros and cons of brand journalism:
    Pro: “Brand journalism provides some key insights into how companies quickly can change their competitive landscape and their position in it, by mastering the art of media publishing.”
    Con: “News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.”
    How do companies and media specialists respond to this? “If we have a good enough story, we’ll tell it.

    “We use professional journalists and employees but those employees don’t consider themselves journalists. Our content is not always, in fact not often, about brand.” Quote by John Earnhardt, head of Cisco’s Corporate and Social Media team.

    Anyway, content is to be consumed before and after the social media emergence, no matter whether it is labeled journalism, sponsored content or advertising. No difference whatsoever in those titles and labels. But again, ‘what’ is not changeable in that it always refers to people’s demand for content, yet “how” and “where” ceaselessly changes. Now, organizations can bypass traditional media platforms and the gatekeeping process by journalists. As every company is a media company, so everyone is a journalist. And the new role required from New Media specialists is that they transition from “Creating content by themselves” to “Creating engagement and participation from their audience.”

    For better or worse in this changing media environment, the categorical norm is that people always want to be informed and enlightened with value-driven, informative, and provoking content.

    Liked by 1 person

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