"Native advertising is evil", unless...

native_advertising

An extremely thought-provoking article appeared in The Guardian this week, written by the advertising analyst, Bob Garfield. Via a rather delicious Faustian metaphor, he accuses the publishing industry of selling its soul in its acceptance - possibly even its celebration - of native advertising: sponsored content which serves a brand agenda masquerading as editorially created copy. Or, as Fleet Street's finest used to call it, advertorial.

We'll not explore the ethics of native advertising here. Bob Garfield makes a tremendously compelling case, so compelling in fact that Dr Paul Marsden of Digital Intelligence Today sums up his argument as "native advertising is evil". Certainly, there's a sizeable wolf-in-sheeps-clothing hue to the whole practice, a tacit industry understanding that most advertising is so grubby every possible measure should be taken to ensure that the public doesn't recognise an ad as an ad.

Which seems thoroughly barking to me.

If you're worried that the public will find your adverts underhand or conniving, surely the answer isn't to disguise them as something fluffier. The answer is to make them less underhand and less conniving. To do that, you need to address two fundamental problems with just about all advertising, branding and marketing today:


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If your job is selling subscriptions, it just got a lot easier

How to sell magazine subscriptions

Selling newspaper and magazine subscriptions is the holy grail for publishers. For the price of an acceptable discount, it guarantees a long-term commitment to buy (something any retailer would kill for in this climate), bolsters circulation figures, cements cash flow and delivers a loyal and passionate readership for the title. So, if your job is selling subs, everyone else at the publication should be bringing you cups of tea and giving you foot massages around the clock - you're the (wo)man.

But it's a hard sell, even with that discount. How do you persuade people to stump up a year's worth of money in advance when they can spread the cost of reading your title over 52 easy weekly payments*? Well... you do it by bringing disparate buyers - who, ordinarily, wouldn't feel any sense of urgency - together into a single, crystalised, limited-time transaction.

That's exactly what the UK's leading consumer magazine and digital publisher IPC have been doing for their world-famous titles, Horse & Hound (a weekly magazine) and Horse (a monthly). They've staged Price Drop Co-buys, where their readers can secure an enticing discount on subscriptions - but these discounts have had to be earned by


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We're reinventing the reader offer with The Mirror

Bargain Power for the Mirror

We're delighted to be working with Trinity Mirror on a new *co-buying service *which we believe is set to reinvent the notion of the 'reader offer'. The Mirror Bargain Power channel will launch next week, providing an interactive way for Mirror readers to request, share and enjoy unique deals. It will simultaneously enable some of the UK's most innovative brands to engage with a whole new audience, earning new and influential social advocates. Exciting stuff! Here's the press release in full...

*Daily Mirror Launches Social Commerce Campaigns *

Shoeaholics, Maxitone and Fiorelli will launch the Mirror’s new social advertising channel

The Daily Mirror has partnered with social commerce experts buyapowa to offer advertisers “co-buying” flash sales opportunities.

The first of the co-buy campaigns will launch next week. Each co-buy will last between 24 to 36 hours. Brands taking part in November include Kurt Geiger's Shoeaholics, female nutrition brand Maxitone, and Fiorelli to promote their handbags and accessories.

To start each flash sale an announcement will be made simultaneously on the Daily Mirror’s Facebook and Twitter pages where followers will be encouraged to spread the word of the deal – the more co-buyers who join the flash sale the lower the


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