If you aren’t an old hat at the Internet, you may have missed the rise of native advertising. It is basically an ad, packaged as content. Some sites do it rather well, others, not so much. Buzzfeed comes to mind as a site that can do native extremely well. Their video for cat food, ‘Dear Kitten’, had me cracking up. It’s an ad sure, but a well done one.
John Oliver took native advertising to task last night on his HBO show. He immediately uses a food metaphor to explain regular content and sponsored content. Oliver likens the combination of the two as the combination of Twizzlers and guacamole – don’t get any ideas Chipotle.
The thing with the native advertising model is that it works. It’s great to slam it when it is done wrong, but it is hard to fault sites that use a model that makes economic sense. It’s funny, most agree with free-market principles, but we all turn into communists when it comes to the Internet. Everything should be provided.
What? My favorite site dares to make money? Yeah, without cash flow, Buzzfeed wouldn’t exist. YouTube wouldn’t exist. Name your site, and it wouldn’t exist without generating revenue.
Everyone agrees with Oliver that there needs to be more transparency. Or, users could wake up to the fact that most is labeled as sponsored content. Selling you on cat food or other consumer goods is fair game. If sponsored content delves into actual issues, then that becomes a problem.
John Oliver is definitely on his A-game in the clip below. He even throws in a little Katy Perry to liven it up. What more could you ask for? A takedown of online media and him singing Katy Perry. YouTube gold.
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