Where does native advertising begin and end on TV? Almost to a point that you can’t tell where the brand ends and the content begins -- warts and all.
For many, Red Bull, the energy/sports beverage, provides what may be the best example of where a brand could go, with its varied marketing activities that include heavy sponsorship of X-Games sports, soccer and car racing teams. The Red Bull Signature Series, which focuses on extreme sports athletes, also has a deal with NBC Sports, so the series runs on NBC’s cable and broadcast platforms.
But if Fidelity Investments could take over the cover of a major magazine like Forbes, then why can’t a big sports brand do something similar for a TV sports channel -- or even just a mainstream TV network?
Detractors will tell you that print media isn’t in the same shape as electronic media. Still, analysts say a model like this is coming -- especially as traditional TV platforms continue to search for new financial arrangements to produce and distribute content.
To be sure we have seen major advertisers back one-time programming and, in fact, whole series pinning their name on stuff for decades, since the dawn of TV.
But what about true native advertising on television -- where perhaps, as with digital, it isn’t always obvious who is pulling the strings behind the programming? (No doubt this content will be affixed with a “sponsored content” label, just like on digital platforms).
Basically a brand needs to be so passionate so omnipresent in its niche, you can almost forget it is selling stuff. Almost.
For many the pure “native” idea is to get viewers to believe a brand is so endemic to the content, that marketers can almost look away no matter what turn that content takes.
Does any brand have the balls to do that? If they do, you might just call them publishers -- or maybe TV producers.