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Subject: UKNM: Re: Online Advertorial
From: Andrew M Warner
Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2000 20:15:50 +0100

I disagree. Whilst the advertorial approach has been favoured by some dodgy
advertisers offline (i.e. "you too can become a millionaire by buying my
book"), used properly, it can be a useful communications option for
marketeers. Advertorial can work if the brand being advertised and the
host publication are a good match, and the host publication has a well
defined, loyal/passionate readership . Youth/fmcg brands have used them to
good effect for years with mags such as Smash Hits, More and J17 and more
recently more upmarket brands have utilsed magazines such as Esquire, Arena
and Vogue to good effect. It is has absolutely nothing to do with conning
people, advertorial is always introduced as promotional content by
responsible publications, and it is pretty obvious that it is promoting a
Advertorial can allow media and product brands to support each others values
and to build credibility. For example A new shaving product running
advertorial in FHM's 'looking good' section benefits from association with
the FHM brand, is able to introduce its product features to readers and can
then go on to offer readers the opportunity to enter a competition (for data
capture), offer a coupon/discount (to promote sampling) or insert a sample
sachet to allow immediate sampling. It is not a replacement for
advertising, or any other communication medium, but offers an option that
can be use to good effect if relevant to marketing objectives and to the
readers of a publication. In the previous example, the FHM brand also
benefits from being able to offer it's readers a competition/free sample and
by introducing them to a new product. In fact with advertorial in
publications with strong brands of their own, there is probably less chance
of a dodgy product been foisted on the public than with advertising, as
there is a greater degree of vetting and editorial control- a strong
magazine brand does not want to piss off its readers by associating with a
dodgy advertorial for a dodgy product.
On the web, 'advertorial' may not be the best term to use, as it is rare for
consumers to consume large editorial features online in the same way as they
do with a print publication. Howver the same principles can be applied
effectively. An example would be Smirnoff's use of summer clubbing site
Beachbeats.com (declaration of interest: site is Emap owned) to promote
their bottled Vodka products to the site's audience of regular clubbers/pub
goers ( http://www.beachbeats.com ). In no way is this misleading users of
the site, but it allows Smirnoff to interact with opinion formers in their
target audience, to datacapture, to drive product sampling and to associate
with the Kiss and Mixmag brands on the site, without creating yet another
pointless fmcg web site.
As for TV, the medium works in a different way as an advertising platform.
But programme sponsorship, advertiser funded programming, masthead TV and
product placement are all alive and well. There are guidelines that have to
be adhered to, but as with advertorial, promoting a product through these
approaches does not have to equal misleading the public. In most cases they
will be combined with advertising, PR etc as part of an overall
communications plan. However, as interactive TV develops, and the concept
of the traditional ad-break becomes eroded, IMHO more and more advertisers
are likely to look seriously at these options...though hopefully the quality
will improve on offerings such as OK TV!I

Andrew Warner (mobile)
Head of Marketing
Emap Online
andrew [dot] warneratemaponline [dot] com

Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2000 13:39:58 +0100
>From: "Richard Bailey" <RBaileyatgodado [dot] com>
>Subject: RE: UKNM: Online advertorials???
>>From my view the idea of an advertorial seems wrong and the sell out of
>writer. If it is paid for then it is an advert, if its worth selling then
>say it for no money. Conning the user into thinking that an advert is real
>content is not good from a moral stand. You would hope that the content of
>any news, reviews or info site would be honest enough to say when something
>has been paid for. For example the ITC don't let you do that in a TV
>program, even product placement has a limit.
>Richard Bailey
>Internet Sales Executive

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