The chorus has spoken: brands who don’t jump on the sponsored content train are destined for the banner ad dustbin.
But is it true? David Carr of The New York Times isn’t so sure. Joe McCamby—a designer who created the very first banner ad in 1994 when MTV still played Nirvana videos and Facebook was the name of your high school art project—thinks the increasingly grey line between journalism and advertising could end up hurting publishers and, by extension, the brands that hire them.
The problem, as McCamby sees it, lies in publishers allowing PR and marketing agencies to post directly to their sites through their own content management systems. He thinks readers will question the origins and accuracy of every editorial piece in a given publication once they discover that said mag/website is in the sponsored content game. Those readers, he implies, wouldn’t find much value in sponsored content in the first place, and it can soil their opinions of their favorite magazines and websites.
How true is that fear?