A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
When it comes to advertising, there is one thing that every show is chasing. Editorial. Articles written about shows are the most powerful form of advertising. This is simply because they aren’t technically advertising. But failing editorial, there is a close second which more and more brands are turning towards.
Audiences are becoming increasingly wary of advertising. Marketers can hide it away in the corner hoping for subtle osmosis. They can populate the blank space around what you are trying to do on the internet to bombard you with messaging. They can even get completely in the way and take over the entire screen. But are audiences going to be glad to see any of these ads? No. In fact, being bombarded with advertising (unless it is incredibly relevant) can often be damaging to their brand relationship.
So marketers now want to move above advertising. Rather than skirting around the edges, make your brand the subject of the interaction. And that is why there is a rush towards editorial!
Editorial are simply articles. Native content that the influential news and entertainment websites incorporate into their writing. Because, after all, there is nothing more powerful than the implied recommendation that is received from these revered websites writing about a show or event. And it is often written in a more appealing way that relates to the audience. However, these pieces of editorial are very difficult to get.
So more and more brands are turning to the second best option. Advertorial. Essentially purchasing an article which is written about your brand in a tone and style which fits nicely into the surrounding articles in the hope that readers won’t notice. There is a good amount of logic around this thought. If you can get your brand front and centre in a non-advertising style, then people will probably pay more attention and act on the story as though it is a story rather than a piece of advertising.
But this assumes one thing: Customers cannot tell when they are reading advertising.
And that is completely incorrect in today’s society. Audiences are becoming more and savvier and are easily able to recognise advertising, even if it is hidden between the lines. Is this something that the brand needs to worry about? A little bit. It will damage the brand relationship slightly, but the news outlet should be more concerned as it will damage their reputation more whenever they are found out to have sold their soul!
So what is the solution? Should theatre start turning towards advertorial. Personally, I don’t think it is worth the effort. You should redirect this energy into creating a product that is appealing to audiences. If it is appealing, these news outlets will want to cover it anyway because their audiences will want to read about it and it will ultimately strengthen their relationship with their readers because they provide entertaining and relevant content (a win-win-win for everyone). Plus, if people are talking about it on their own, you know that you have a sure-fire hit on your hands!