Native Advertising

Better than When We Found It

advertorial

As a boy scout I was taught to always leave a camp site “better than we found it” which, in simple terms, meant scouring the ground for anything that wasn’t part of nature. When camping and in many instances, in life, returning to the natural state is highly desirable. I believe the concept is applicable to each generation and its responsibility to following generations. So, over the next few months I’ll do my best to tackle a pertinent subject from the current national conversation stating with fake news.
The too frequent fake news stories are more than troubling. We can agree it’s a problem, right? And, it’s a big problem when a misguided, gun-toting “fixer” arrives at a pizza joint to free young hostages and an even bigger problem when fake news is influencing free speech and the election process.
Since my career history and my current profession broadly encompasses marketing communications I’m going to address the meteoric rise in paid content (native) and, depending on how it’s presented, where it fits in the fake news universe.
Paid content, or if you prefer, native advertising is not new. Google “Advertorial”. Back in the day advertorials were clearly identified as advertisements. Today’s paid content? Not so much and therein lies the problem. Consider, The New York Times’ content group T Brand Studio, which employs 110 people and Magazine publisher Time Inc. now employs 125 people at its content group, the Foundry.
No advertiser and no reputable media wants to be found guilty of fake news. In the past editor’s managed a thin demarcation line separating edit from advertising. Today the line seems to encourage paid content osmosis.
I’m suggesting the media clean-up its “camp site” rebuilding the wall between editorial (news) and advertising clearly identifying what’s not news. As real news regains clearer visibility the media will recapture its authority and trust while fake news (propaganda) fades back into the shadows where it belongs.
In the end the media, the reader/viewer and our democracy will greatly benefit.