Brands as Storytellers

Brands as Storytellers

March 20th, 2013
goldfish in a computer screen

The idea that advertisers can create editorial content has gained an amazing amount of momentum over the past two years. Even brands that don’t have dedicated editorial teams have begun tapping journalists to create “native ads,” or promotional stories that are in many ways indistinguishable from the journalistic content alongside which they appear.

 

But what are native ads? They're different from traditional advertorials in that they aren't overtly about a brand. They're stories that engage the audience with interesting content, and look like journalistic work… though they aren't impartial.
 
There's a debate over the ethicality of these ads-- but either way, it's clear is that the line between content and ads is becoming ever more blurry, a reality that both publishers and advertisers will have to addresss if they’re going to prosper.
 
What does this mean for publishers and ad agencies? For one, editorial expertise matters, and publishers have it. Ad agencies maintain expertise in a lot of important fields that publishers can’t match, but communicating with customers in a trusted manner is not one of them.                                                     
 
The question is whether these agencies and ads – with their roots in journalism but their fealty to brands – will be able to coexist inside a traditional publisher, without polluting its editorial credibility.  What do you think?

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