Native advertising perils and editorial pitfalls…

One thing you cannot always control in marketing, whether your message is owned, earned, paid, native or any other digi-buzzword, is the content that accompanies yours, in whatever channel it appears.

Like many, I’ve always thought the word “editorial” did a reasonable job of describing/defining any content published about a brand by a third party, at no cost to the brand, in any media channel. But hey, it’s the digi-age and everything that’s already proven and defined, now has to be given a new buzzword to describe it – otherwise it’s viewed as old fashioned or irrelevant by the digi-fashionista.

And if you consider it, to the uninformed layman, the term editorial is obviously confusing. After all, it appears to just describe the words and images independently published in any media channel.

Whereas the term native advertising has a far clearer meaning. It obviously means advertising about natives.

What’s that you say? It doesn’t?

Well confound me. I’m a confused communicator.

Apparently native advertising is part of that amazing new digi-invention known as content. You can read the definition of native advertising on Wikopinion.


Anyway, last week the Courier Mail newspaper ran a story on its website about a murder in Brisbane. It involved a gruesome murder where the poor victim was ‘cooked’ by the murderer. On the same page as the story, a video automatically started with an ad from Masterfoods that asked, “Why cook when you can create?

Then yesterday, one of the Australian advertising industry gossip newsletters ran a story headline: “Why agencies should focus on reciprocity rather than engagement“. I have no idea what that means. But the final sentence in the introduction copy, located just above above an advertisement, read: “So it gives me no pleasure to condemn it <engagement marketing that is>

The advertisement that appeared directly beneath the article had the headline: “Marketing Nation Roadshow – Engagement Marketing 2014

So the lead article condemned engagement marketing, just above an advertisement promoting an engagement marketing conference.

I wonder how that will affect the advertiser/publisher relationship, engagement-wise, if you get my drift?

mumbrella gaff
Don’t do engagement marketing, but buy a ticket to the engagement marketing conference

So the editorial content was in conflict with the paid content. Will this have any impact on either? It’s difficult to know. And while this isn’t really native advertising, as the editorial is an opinion piece about a technique not a brand, it does demonstrate the pitfalls that can occur when advertising or creating content.

Years ago, despite supplying correct artwork, The Australian newspaper retouched my client’s advertisement with disastrous results. Read more here.

Even worse was a printer we used for a fundraising mailing. They completely reproduced our artwork, because they had old-fashioned technology and couldn’t read high-res PDFs. We didn’t know this until it was too late. We discovered the problem because the printed samples had typographical errors that weren’t on the original approved art supplied to the printer.

Suffice to say we didn’t keep the account. And one wonders what sort of compensation was given to ASDA for this placement mistake:


Sadly these sort of stuff-ups will always occur – from either human or computer error. And unfortunately the social media zealots will blow the mistakes completely out of proportion.

social overreaction

When it does happen it might feel like the end of the world and your job. But the noise soon dies down, as people’s “social focus” very quickly changes to the next trending topic.

That reminds me. I have a copy deadline for a press and online advertisement. You remember paid advertising don’t you? The first one I wrote in this series more than paid for itself. Plus there was the branding value it generated and the Likes and the comments on social media and the editorial in another person’s blog.

Hang on. That wasn’t editorial. That was native advertising.

How fan-digi-tastic! Next thing you know I’ll be publishing content…

keep calm


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