On the other hand: advertorials

05 June 2009

LONDON: Advertorials have long been considered one of the key marketing tools newspapers can offer to brand owners, but a recent experiment by the New York Times and Intel show that the internet may now be getting in on the act, according to WARC Online's regular columnist, Tummler.

The New York Times partnered with the semiconductor manufacturer in what has become known as a "homepage takeover," but in this particular instance, this strategy resulted in what could be seen as an advertorial with a "digital twist".

Visitors to the daily news title's website were greeted with a digital front page of the newspaper dated from 2040, featuring a story headlined "President converses with dolphin, develops new environmental plan."

When they clicked on this image – which was part-designed by the newspapers' own ad sales team – they were redirected to Intel's homepage, a unique example of Times using its brand to promote the marketing message of one of its advertisers.

As with product placement on television, it is to be expected that such an approach will become more common, but, Tummler argues, increased regulation is also likely to accompany this development.

If, however, media owners "voluntarily acknowledge all PR and marketer-paid input", then both the brand and the medium it uses would benefit from displaying "openness" in their communications strategies, rather than disguising ads as editorial content.

Subscribers to WARC Online can read Tummler's latest fortnightly column in full by clicking here.

Data sourced from WARC Online