Washington Post Opens the Kimono for Stealth Marketers

As stealth marketing – a.k.a. native advertising, branded content, sponsored posts, brand journalism, blah blah blah – has wormed its way into both online publications and mainstream media outlets (it’s all here, if you want to get technical about it), publishers keep saying they’re committed to maintaining editorial integrity and a bright line between advertising and editorial content.

Well they can drop the veil, as Philip Marlowe said in The Big Sleep.

From Adweek:

The Washington Post’s Native Ads Get Editorial Treatment

Borrowing from newsroom

Even as native ads naysayers argue for clear labeling and design cues so readers don’t confuse them with actual journalism, publishers and advertisers have pushed to make the units look more like editorial.

The latest example comes from The Washington Post. Its native washington-post-hed-20141-640x290ad program, WP BrandConnect, is adopting the multimedia, longform template that’s been used in the newsroom for features like this one.

Kevin Gentzel, the Post’s chief revenue officer, explained that the quality bar is being raised on native advertising. Brands are creating high-quality video, research and articles, often tailored to a specific publishers’ audience, and they’re looking to publishers to improve the reader appeal.

“We want our BrandConnect partners to be able to take advantage of the gifts that the Internet brings—all of these tools that help the storytelling journey,” Gentzel said. “And they will also be clearly labeled. Labeling and transparency is key to trust.”


That must be why “[t]he Post’s sponsored content division advised PhRMA [the trade group for the pharmaceutical industry] in creating . . .  articles [that] will launch March 3.”

As in, yesterday. (See the articles here.)

But that’s not even the worst of it . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.


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