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Posts Tagged ‘sponsored content’

WSJ Launches Native Advertising

wsjSponsored content, native advertising, ads that are annoyingly similar to editorial content — whatever you want to call them, they’re coming to The Wall Street Journal. Welcome to the party.

The paper has announced that WSJ Custom Studios will create the ads labeled as “Sponsor Generated Content,” and they’ll be embedded among other editorial content. The first native ads, from Brocade, will debut tomorrow. Each ad will be created by staffers hired specifically for WSJ Custom Studios. No Journal staffer will be involved in the ads.

The move isn’t surprising. More media companies are participating in native advertising every day. The New York Times said it was getting into the game last December. The problem with the sponsored ads is that some people view them as deceptive; that they’re designed to intentionally confuse the reader. Gerard Baker, editor of the Journal, doesn’t think that will be an issue.

“Our readers trust us, and the WSJ Custom Studios team has created clear and thorough labeling guidelines around the advertiser’s content in order to protect that trust,” he explained, in a statement. “I am confident that our readers will appreciate what is sponsor-generated content and what is content from our global news staff.”

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Shape Labels Ad for Shape Product as ‘News’

Adco-superJumboThe September issue of Shape contained what should be known as “Exactly How Not to Do Native Advertising.” The New York Times reports that the magazine published a full page article titled “Water Works!” with the label “News.” The problem: It was definitely not news. In fact, the article was just an ad for Shape branded drinks called Shape Water Boosters.

The article/ad cited a few studies about how unhealthy sugary drinks are, but added that some people don’t like the way water tastes. What’s the solution? Why Shape Water Boosters, of course! “Just a single squeeze (equal to a half-teaspoon) adds delicious flavor — but not calories — along with a concentrated punch of nutrients that offer some important bonus benefits,” explained the ad.

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NY Times Lays Out Plan for Native Ads

The New York Times is set to dip into the native advertisement game, so the paper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, has explained how, exactly, it would do that.

The issue with sponsored content is that it often seems to blur the lines between editorial content and advertising. When an ad looks exactly like an article, it can create confusion among readers. However, Sulzberger wrote in a memo to staffers that there would be a “strict separation between the newsroom and the job of creating content for the new native ads.”

The Times will distinguish native ads by placing a blue border around them, along with a colored bar and a “Paid Post” notification. The sponsored content will begin in January on the home page and other popular sections of NYTimes.com. The number of paid posts — created by the ad department — will be small, at least at first.

It’s unfortunate that the Times even has to take the native ads route, but that’s how things go now. Running the best newspaper in the world takes a lot of money, and sponsored content is an easy way to bring in heaps of it.