While flipping through People magazine, this headline popped out at me: “FLAWLESS SKIN NOW.” This caught my attention and I devoured the entire article. The editorial guided me through a five-step process on how to properly clean my face and achieve flawless skin in less than five weeks using Neutrogena products. I was sold on every word. Although I did not realize it at the time, People magazine and Neutrogena had successfully used a form of native advertising—blending their familiar content with a sponsored advertisement.
Native advertising’s success cannot go unnoticed in the competitive media industry. With so much media being thrown at us, native ads fit more appropriately with content we’re already interested in. The publication’s style and topic areas don’t change so the consumer never feels like they are reading an advertisement. Consumers trust the publications and expect consistent information.
With that said, there is a fine ethical line to this approach. In order for the ad to benefit, the content cannot feel like an advertisement. On the other hand, a publisher needs to stay credible by labeling ads as such. It is imperative that advertisers and publishers uphold moral standards and distance themselves from deceptive content or they’ll lose consumer trust altogether.
The media industry must learn to adapt to the culture. The “battle for the eyeballs pushes the industry in extreme ways,” and because native ads are working, the industry cannot ignore their success (Sullivan 2015). After all, I did try the five-step process to achieve flawless skin because I trust People‘s content. As advertisers and publishers continue to blend this content, the results will show in increased sales.
Public Relations Intern