"Native advertising is evil", unless...

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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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Argos teams up with Buyapowa to launch Co-buying on social media

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PRESS RELEASE

• Argos customers rewarded for sharing deals via social media

• Available at www.buyapowa.com/argos

Argos, the UK’s largest high street retailer online, and Buyapowa, the leading social-commerce technology company, have launched a trial partnership to enable Argos’ Facebook fans and Twitter followers to shop together and earn unbeatable deals.

Buyapowa’s technology will enable Argos customers to request special offers on their favourite products, then improve those offers by sharing them via social media and shopping together. The more people who buy, the better the prices will be for everyone who participates. These offers, or ‘Co-buys,’ will be presented via a customised platform and will be promoted across Argos’ social media and other communications channels, including its website which saw more than 635 million visits in the last 12 months.

The service is now live at www.buyapowa.com/argos and will feature products from Argos’ general merchandise range of more than 29,000 items. Customers will be encouraged and rewarded for sharing information with other potential customers to help increase customer acquisition but, more importantly, generate long-term loyalty by listening to and rewarding shoppers.

Neil Tinegate, Head of Digital Innovation at Argos, said: “We’ve


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Is LinkedIn about to become the Amazon for business?

LinkedIn world First

Since its launch 10 years ago, LinkedIn has become the world's leading social network for business and recruitment. More recently, it's evolved into a powerhouse content publisher, hosting bespoke content from the likes of Barack Obama and Richard Branson.

But, as of next week, LinkedIn is set to become a fully-fledged sales channel.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg predicted that social commerce - selling things through social networks - was about "to blow up". Now buyapowa, the people who have helped B2C brands like Sony, Pepsi and Robbie Williams run social commerce channels in Facebook, are about to take the phenomenon to the B2B market, unlocking the massive potential of LinkedIn by powering the site's first ever social commerce campaign for Clarion Events - the UK's largest independent events organiser.

Clarion Events, will be offering professionals in the gaming industry the chance to buy tickets to the GiGse and Social Casino Summit events in San Francisco next month. Customers will be able to flex the power of their LinkedIn networks and the site's uniquely active groups to invite other professionals to join them in buying tickets - and the more people who buy, the better the price will become for everyone.

The


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