Old Navy clothing makes you look like a tacky murderer.
Snickers only satisfies you for about 8 minutes then makes you hate yourself for the rest of the day.
Contextual content is publishers saying to brands, ‘We will camouflage your ads to make them look like news stories.’
Native advertising isn’t trickery; it’s publishers sharing storytelling tools. “And that’s not bullshit; it’s repurposed bovine waste.”
If any of these statements sound familiar, you’re likely one of the millions of people who watched John Oliver’s 11-minute takedown of native advertising on YouTube.
Those quotes are from that piece, from John Oliver, yes, but also from such prominent media personalities as Ken Auletta and, if the fog of memory serves correctly, Brian Williams.
It was parody, sure. But it clearly struck a chord with journalists and media insiders, many of whom labeled it as brilliant. That’s because it expressed a barely disguised belief many media publishers still hold: that branded content is a second-class citizen.
Agencies: The Content Creators
And that’s just one of the reasons agencies are best suited to lead the creation of content for brands: because we believe brands have stories worth sharing, and that those stories add value to — rather than corrupt the integrity of — a consumer’s experience.
The hand-wringing over branded content is a problem that exists mostly in the minds of publishers. It’s increasingly clear that audiences don’t care as much about the source of the material they consume as they do about its value. They care whether that piece of information or entertainment is worthy of their time.