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Is Native Advertising Even New?

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native-advertisingAccording to the always-scientific Wikipedia, native advertising can be defined as “a web advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing valuable content in the context of the user’s experience“. Ok, let’s say we remove the Web part of that definition. What is left equates to brands offering relevant information or experiences in a compatible environment. (Not really what you see on BuzzFeed, which still kinda grosses me out.)

This is the foundation upon which the multi-billion dollar sports and entertainment sponsorship industry was built….quite a long time ago. The simple formula: sports are an existing passion point for consumers, brands want to get in front of consumers without being too disruptive, so properties offer engagement points as sellable sponsorship opportunities.

When a brand hires Cirque du Soleil performers to visualize its messaging, is that native advertising? What about when Callaway and Uber team up to offer free car rides to a golf tournament?

I don’t know, maybe I’m turning a corner on this a native advertising thing. Or, maybe it’ll always be yucky to me…


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Growth obsessed startup co-founder (MusicBox) and strategist-for-hire.

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