Famous Last Words: Advertisers ‘Go Native.’ Great!
The definition of the term “go native” from the Urban Dictionary is as follows: Used humorously, to go native means to take on some (or all) of the culture traits of the people around you, often said of people who go to foreign countries or far away cities. These traits may include dress, language, accent, etiquette, religion, etc.
In the mediaplayer to the right is a page from the old Target Marketing print magazine circa the 1990s, when I was editor.
It deliberately looked like an editorial page—an article or sidebar of some kind. We called it an “advertorial.”
In reality, it was created by a one of the advertisers in conjunction with a page of paid advertising. Sometimes, I wrote the advertorial for an advertiser.
Pitches from the sales reps were often: “Buy an ad and get an advertorial the same size free!” “That’s two for one!” “That’s equivalent of 50 percent off!” “A bigger bang for your buck!” Advertisers loved it! What the hell, I loved it!
Because the magazine was (and is) free, advertising paid the bills (e.g., salaries). Also, this was (and still is) a trade magazine: My mission was to bring to my readers any information in any format that could make them money.
This wasn’t trickery or deception. The black bar at the top of the page said:
Some readers stay strictly to editorial content—and skip ads. Here was an unobtrusive way for an advertiser to impart information about a product or service in the format some readers prefer.
Rather than using blatant headlines, subheads and illustrations, the advertiser could tell the story in a conversational, quiet way.
In the world of television, this is called an “infomercial.” No big deal. If you don’t want to see it, skip it.