On the Power of the New Advertorials for Consumer Gadgets

It pays to include someone with successful experience building effective advertisements in the form of news articles in a product marketing team. Early stage technology businesses tend to think about marketing communications in terms of online promotional content and paid click advertising. But modern marketing communications also includes a new vehicle, “advertorials”, which look a lot like news articles, but are actually advertisements. There are few higher value promotional opportunities than a well respected reporter publishing an article, with some depth, on your product. So if you can find someone who knows how to place these articles as ads, at reasonable cost, then you should seriously consider hiring the person for a role in your product marketing promotional effort.

An example of this type of creative promotional content popped up on August 18, 2013 in the online edition of the Sunday New York Times. Frank O’Connell put together what looks to be an article on Green Mountain Coffee’s Kuerig Vue V700, Single-Serve Coffee Maker. But this editorial content is actually a very effective example of an advertorial. Points worth noting about this advertorial include:

  1. The advertorial presents an opportunity for the New York Times (and possibly Green Mountain Coffee) to market click ads to businesses with complementary product offers for the Kuerig single cup coffee system. These ads are dynamically served at the top center of the page on which the content is published
  2. The New York Times does not label the content as an advertisement, but the source of the content is listed as Kuerig, Inc.
  3. The content is entirely comprised of high quality photos of the device, and its working parts, which will likely attract a lot of attention from its target audience
  4. The features depicted in the photo provide an opportunity for the editorial content to be used to present a detailed set of benefits to the consumer. For example, “Each pack contains ground coffee and a filter. It is also filled with nitrogen to maintain freshness”

Omitted altogether are any mention whatsoever of the comparative enormous price difference between this type of coffee brewing and more mundane alternatives.

We wonder if the spread of this type of “content for hire” detracts from the usefulness of a public relations campaign. In the past, public relations teams would focus efforts on convincing writers to create similar content, albeit without the overtly paid promotional color of this piece. Does the popularity of this type of content signal the end of those days?

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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