See? Native Ads Don’t Have to Be Awful.
Adland loves “native ads,” the new/old concept where an ad pretends to be “content.”
I’m not sold. Not because of ethical issues, but because most native ads are lousy.
The one big exception: Native ads formatted as interesting videos. Which is really just another way of describing “commercials you would like to watch.”
Here are a couple examples that work, from IAC’s CollegeHumor, on behalf of Coca-Cola’s Vitaminwater brand:
No surprise that CollegeHumor is able to make entertaining (or at least interesting, with perhaps a tinge of uneasy-making) videos, since that’s what they do all the time. And they’ve been integrating sponsors into their stuff for a long time, too.
In this case, CollegeHumor founder Ricky Van Veen says, the process was simple: “We pitched Vitamin Water ideas, they picked a few, and we produced/distributed.”
The GPS prank clip, released a week ago, has already done around three million views, Van Veen says. The subway prank just went up a few days ago, but Van Veen says it is likely to do better: The clip isn’t on YouTube yet, but it has already generated three times more Facebook shares than the car clip.
One difference between this and other native ad campaigns: Van Veen says all of the views the videos have generated so far are organic — CollegeHumor hasn’t paid for any of the distribution.