‘Native advertising is the emperor’s new clothes’

The term “native content” or “native advertising” is an “emperor’s new clothes” label, say publishing experts.

Red Bull
Red Bull space dive – hailed as a great piece of branded content

Dan’l Hewitt, general manager at Vice Media’s Advice division, lambasted the term as a US import and “the emperor’s new clothes”, saying it was just another term for branded content on a panel at the Association of Online Publishers autumn conference today (3 October).

The panel agreed there was no clear definition of the term native advertising but that it just seemed to be a repackaging of the widely accepted term “branded content”.

Branded content is rising rapidly on the radar of marketers and Mark Woodward, head of websites at Johnston Press, said that half of the media buyers he spoke to said they will be increasing spend on format in the next year.

Publishers advised that branded content concepts had to be devised as platform-agnostic in the first instance before being rolled out.

Commenting on the right balance between branded content and editorial content Hewitt said: “It’s a quality thing. If the content is terrible then it will not be picked up and you have to be upfront about what it {the branded content} is.”

Nick King, digital commercial director at Future, added that no-one criticised the Red Bull space dive as a piece of branded content but “if you get a brand just doing an ‘advertorial’ and putting it on the front page that’s a massive credibility issue.”

See Marketing Week’s infographic on marketer and public attitudes to branded content here.

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