Jul 30, 2014

‘Con game’: native advertising only works when it’s hidden

Like it or not, more native advertising -- where lines can be blurred between paid ads and editorial content -- is coming our way.

Stilgherrian ā€” Technology writer and broadcaster


Technology writer and broadcaster

Native advertising was, inevitably, the topic that generated the most passionate discussion in the media stream of the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising Global Forum in Sydney yesterday. And like it or not, you’re going to be seeing more of this advertising (often called “sponsored content”) — which is ever harder to distinguish from editorial content.

A straw poll of the audience revealed that at least a quarter of attendees’ organisations, mostly marketers and advertisers, are already involved in native advertising. Some spoke out against what they saw as the “demonisation” of native advertising. “Why would we want to buy into your brand if [our] content is corralled and tagged?” one said.

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11 thoughts on “‘Con game’: native advertising only works when it’s hidden

  1. Lingo

    Reading this, I felt like Alice in Wonderland – totally bamboozled. What is native advertising? Who aRe these people engaged in the debate? Where do we innocent consumers stand in all this?
    What is monetizing? Articles like this need footnotes or a glossary to help us ordinary mortals fight our way through Business-speak.

  2. Kfix

    Stil, I’m not comfortable with the prostitution comparison. Prostitution is inherently an honourable and upfront activity often spoiled by exploitation. Native advertising is inherently dodgy.

  3. David Hand

    Native advertising does not give advertising the credibility of editorial content. It gives editorial content the credibility of advertising.

  4. Lubo Gregor

    I agree with #2, I think that more than prostitution, it is like that guy dressed and posing as a girl that hides a rather unexpected surprise in his panties once the drunken sod takes “her” home (or into the bushes) šŸ˜€

    @#1 – I believe that marketing should be included in the high school curriculum, as it is already a crucial part of our everyday life – not to be able to use it, rather than be able to discover when it’s being used and to understand it’s underhanded practices. In fact, I think it’s 50 years too late to educate our masses about how they are being manipulated everyday, but now it seems that the same strategies that were used for selling goods are now being employed to sell politicians to the electorate.

  5. Stilgherrian

    @Kfix: I completely agree with your point about prostitution. Perhaps in a more leisurely process I’d have realised that myself at the time of writing, and skipped that quote. Sigh.

  6. Elliot Sollis

    Totally agree with Lingo. What is native advertising?

  7. Graham R

    What is native advertising????? Never heard the phrase before. Have I already been conned by it? Stilgherian, please correct this in a future piece on Crikey.

  8. AR

    Me three.. or four, how does “native advertising” differ from advertorials, as perpetrated daily by Jones, Laws et al?

  9. Kfix

    “Native advertising” is essentially a euphemism for advertorial, or “content” (how I hate the way that word is misused) supplied by an advertiser. Proponents will have you believe that it’s done in a more honest way than advertorial, but I doubt the advertiser is hoping the consumer (ugh) will notice the difference.

    There’s a good starting discussion here –

  10. Lingo

    Agreed about education. I’m sure schools are working to make kids aware of what’s happening – but changes occur so fast (eg native advertising creeping up to grab us apparently overnight) that it’s hard to keep up. The ideal would be a populace able to keep one step ahead of those marketing ‘creatives’, or better still, able to resist all advertisers’ blandishments. We’re too rich of course. Eight year olds with ‘pocket money’ that would feed a family for a week elsewhere. Teens with their own credit cards. Stilgherrian, you’re helping to educate us with articles like this, but some clear explanation and definitions would have made it more effective.

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