'Native' Marketing On Television Might Look More Like TV Production

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.

4 comments about "'Native' Marketing On Television Might Look More Like TV Production".
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  1. Bob Gordon from The Auto Channel, February 18, 2015 at 2:35 p.m.

    To show just how blind we were to the future, when we started publishing, we decided that we would not accept a title sponsorship from a car brand so we could remain pure and true to editorial integrity...hey car bands we are on our knees and have an inviting look on our face...

  2. Michael Kaplan from Blue Sky Creative, February 18, 2015 at 2:41 p.m.

    Sorry, Wayne, but you act as if there isn't already native advertising on television. Reality shows are filled with product placements, Undercover Boss is a series of corporate plugs, and TV sports are already diminished with side deals with shoe companies, clothing companies and even headphone companies.

    There's more, of course. The Amazing Race has featured in-show car promotions. And what else is the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Special except a giant ad for Sports Illustrated?

    Sponsors have controlled television in one way or another since its earliest days. They've just gotten more clever about it.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 18, 2015 at 4:07 p.m.

    Good point, Michael. Our latest estimate, as published in "TV Dimensions 2015", is that advertisers paid $3.7 billion dollars for TV program placements in 2014------up from only $395 million in 2000----and this does not count "unpaid" deals involving the exchange of services, free cars to be used in the shows, etc. As you say, a great deal of this activity is found in so-called reality fare---not just on the broadcast TV networks, but to a far greater extent, on cable.

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 18, 2015 at 5:58 p.m.

    For whatever reason, I watched the people's (what people is another story) choice awards. It was one big ad with not a care in the world who did what. The whole show was totally terrible - no doubt the stars did not have choices not to go - cannot remember one advertiser let alone would support this nonsense, and will not watch it again. If it were anyone else, I would recommend not to bother, but you may want to check out some of it on an on-line repurposing channel.

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