May 31, 2000
10:12 AM   Subscribe

Stupid new marketing word of the day: "Advertorial" (spotted on this NY Times page). Here's a screenshot - what exactly are they trying to say? Do their advertisements now contain editorial copy that should help shoppers make a more informed decision, or are they just trying to fool us into thinking these advertisements have more credibility because they are "editorialized"? (disclaimer: I hate marketing BS)
posted by mathowie (14 comments total)
Ah, there have been advertorials forever. You know those ads in newspapers which look like regular articles but the typeface isn't quite right and it says "advertisement" in small print at the top? Advertorial. You know those inserts which look like a section of the paper but have "advertising supplement" written across the top and are full of press-release like articles about the advertiser? Advertorials. Definitely nothing new about them (MW dates the term back to 1946).
posted by sylloge at 10:43 AM on May 31, 2000

Advertorials have been around for a long time. You know them as "Special Advertising Sections" in magazines. The industry-speak just seeped into the mainstream via that sidebar (which, btw, didn't appear when I went to the page).

An advertorial is an advertising supplement that contains editorial content that may or may not be written by the source that contains it. Calling it an advertorial, special advertising section, etc. alerts the reader that the content is not directly related to the rest of the publication.

Indeed, it is to your benefit that the Times marked the advertorial as such, lest you be led to believe that the Gray Lady has suddenly taken to bright pink sidebars.
posted by werty at 10:44 AM on May 31, 2000

Several corporations and lobbying groups--notably Mobil Oil, as well as some generally pro-Israel Jewish organizations whose names don't immediately spring to mind--have run paid ads on the editorial page of the Times for years. And there was a big hullabaloo a few years back over a conservative Christian group running a "play for the right team, dammit!" ad in papers nationwide, saying that homosexuals could come back to their open arms if only they would give up that nasty homosexuality. This isn't new.
posted by snarkout at 11:19 AM on May 31, 2000

Slate has them too. They are marked very clearly as a Special Paid Advertisement.
posted by icathing at 12:23 PM on May 31, 2000

Don't be confused. It's not just a banner, it's an "ad wrap" banner.
posted by tomalak at 12:34 PM on May 31, 2000

Also, there's the publicized case of Shell Oil buying banner ad space on Mother Jones' website. And the Forbes/Microsoft "Daily News" banner ads.

And for some reason Wired News links to their Editorial Policy beside their Corner Store.

"We believe in distinguishing our independent editorial content -- through words, design, and placement -- from paid promotional information and other non-news."
posted by tomalak at 12:41 PM on May 31, 2000

<OT>Hey Matt, how did you block the top ad banner without getting IE's "page cannot be displayed" error? Am I missing something?</OT>
posted by Freakho at 12:47 PM on May 31, 2000

Probably with a banner ad filter or something like McAfee's Virus Scan which server a similar purpose.
posted by tomalak at 1:12 PM on May 31, 2000

I was actually trying out Idcide's privacy thing this morning. It kills cookies that talk to a server besides the one you're on (ala doubleclick), but there was no place to make a "good cookie" list. Everytime I revisisted metafilter or, I had to relogin, so I uninstalled it soon after.
posted by mathowie at 1:20 PM on May 31, 2000

> Calling it an advertorial, special advertising section, etc. alerts the reader that the content is not directly related to the rest of the publication.

I'd phrase that slightly differently.

"...alerts the reader that the creation of this content was not under the same administrative span of control -- and therefore should not be evaluated the same -- as the rest of the paper."

And Matt? There's a setting, in NS setup, for "only send cookies back to the server which sent you the base page" (although they only describe it correctly in the Unix port, interestingly)... are you using IE? Can it not do that?
posted by baylink at 3:31 PM on May 31, 2000

Advertorial is a term that's been around for at least ten years. It first became infamous via fashion magazines, notorious for running "How to Beautify Your Face" articles with everything from, say, Revlon. It's less often used for those paid-opinion ads, and more often for content that appears at first glance like it might be part of the newspaper or magazine, but is actually wholly produced by an advertiser.

It started out, of course, being a pejorative term. As recently as 1997 the publishing trade organization ASME published standards on distinguishing editorial and advertising content.

Last year a Microsoft advertorial caused a small controversy causing sites like to label it more prominently.
posted by dhartung at 3:54 PM on May 31, 2000

If you thought advertorial is bad, try navitorial.
posted by peterme at 4:39 PM on May 31, 2000

am I missing something? it appears to me that this isn't the usual "ad in the guise of an editorial piece."

this says "advertorial brought to you by the New York Times"

it's one thing to accept paid advertising that contains opinion or other content.

it's quite another to create those ads yourself.

I'd say this only hurts the NY Times credibility.

posted by rebeccablood at 6:57 PM on May 31, 2000


My opinion, Rebecca, is, I think, that as long as they label it sufficiently clearly, I'm not offended by the paper's own people creating the content. As long as it's the *advertising staff* doing it.

I *would* get worried if the editorial people were doing the writing...
posted by baylink at 9:42 AM on June 1, 2000

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