“‘South Park’ Lampoon of Native Advertising Highlights Important Issues,” by Maria Shinkevich (AdvertisingAge, Feb. 24), is a nice primer on the pride and pitfalls of online Native Advertising (NA).
What I find so patronizing is the desire to treat NA as some kind of innovation – so new and exciting that the online community has to find a way to disclose it to consumers. I’ll be blunt. (Some may say rude.) It’s so easy a 6-year-old can figure it out: Just tell the flippin’ truth. Don’t sugar-coat it; don’t misrepresent it; don’t lie about it; and don’t try to confuse people. NA is advertising. If you don’t have the guts to label it as advertising anywhere it appears, then stop doing it; otherwise you’re lying to everyone who views it.
Contrary to Shinkevich’s assertion that it’s all about content, with NA, the content is a fait accompli; it is instead about clear disclosure. I don’t care if the content is truly hard-hitting news. If it’s advertising and not labeled as such, it’s a blatant misrepresentation designed to deceive me into taking some kind of action that lines someone else’s pockets.