Sometimes, Native Advertising is Actually Pretty Good

Wednesday, January 08, 2014 - 02:14 PM

(FX's Archer)

I am generally not a fan of advertising of any kind. Print, billboards, TV - no matter how creative you are, I find it an annoying distraction that I try to tune out. But there have been a couple of smart attempts at online advertising recently that were great not so much for their content, but for their rollout. They spoke to me because is was clear that the folks behind the campaigns have a pretty good grip on the internet.

Last week, Fox's The Mindy Project (a show that, as a viewer, I have written off) created profiles for its characters on the dating app Tinder as though they were really were actual users of the site. For a show about serially single 30-somethings, there is hardly a more appropriate place for the show to advertise.

Another piece of native advertising that I liked even better appeared on the the subreddit /r/gonewild. Gonewild is purely devoted to posting nude selfies. But this afternoon, the characters in the animated FX show Archer started contributing their own nude pics with the same nervous, excited headlines that regular contributors of the site usually use (link is work safe, as long as your bosses aren't offended by a cartoon butt). 

There are a lot of legitimate gripes about native ads - about how they dilute valuable news sources and blur the line between editorial and advertising. But in these milieux there's no threat to editorial voice and these ads don't compromise any kind of voice. it's just a fun interruption. Congratulations advertisers. You've got my attention.


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Comments [4]

Dana Franchitto from S.WEllfleet, MA.

Atleast, Mr. Goldman was being honest here. Usually NPR claims to be commercial free while programs like "Morn Ed and "All THings Considered" never miss a chance to plug Starbucks, Mc Donalds, the Fracking industry and commercial television lineups. Hey, they even do pieces on how effective marketing tactics are for commercial products. Mr. GOldman, PLease remind yourself and your colleagues that "public" radio is supposed to see as as citizens not consumers.

Feb. 18 2014 07:47 PM

It seems like maybe you didn't mind the ads because they spoke to your demographic, but not because they weren't invasive. If you're conscious enough of a show to write it off you're still the target audience, but someone who wasn't interested in either show would probably be annoyed by those ads.

When advertisers break out of the standard ad units publishers sell them and engage with media as "users" nobody wins. It's even worse than an advertorial, since the publisher probably isn't getting paid.

Jan. 11 2014 08:56 PM
Duffy Johnson

Maybe it's my generation (or that I work at a very traditional ad agency) but I find native ads much more annoying and intrusive than standard ads. With print, TV, radio, outdoor, even web banners, I can look at it or not, follow it or not. However, when something is embedded in my Twitter or FB feeds disguised as desired content I may read it not knowing right away it's a marketing ploy. That's just sneaky.

Jan. 09 2014 11:24 AM

Digg's Tumblr post about reddit advertising. There's a joke in here somewhere...

Jan. 08 2014 04:12 PM

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by Meredith Haggerty. You can subscribe to the TLDR podcast here. You can follow our blog here. I tweet @manymanywords and @tldr.

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