Ads Need To Stop Acting Like Ads And Start Acting Like Content

Beth Wilson of Women’s Wear Daily reports on print maven Tina Brown’s advice to bloggers seeking a pay day.

So how can media companies, advertisers or bloggers really make money on the Web? Tina Brown, one of the keynote speakers at last weekend’s 2009 BlogHer conference in Chicago, said she may be closer to finding an answer. At The Daily Beast, which receives more than two million unique viewers but has yet to make money, Brown said the site is collaborating with brands to co-create nuanced advertising that blends into its format. “You can create an environment that’s more subtle. That’s where the skill comes in,” she said, noting sponsored content will be clearly marked. “We’re very careful without being prissy.”
Now is the time to try new techniques and refine them as you go. “It’s like the Industrial Revolution,” Brown noted, explaining everyone is caught in a potential two- to three-year gap between old and new media that will further take shape as the economy rebounds. “I would not want to go back to print now,” she said, adding many advertisers are moving half their marketing money, if not more, from print to online. “It would be so depressing to be in a world that’s shrinking.”

Sponsored content on sites like The Daily Beast is certainly a promising route. I can understand why Brown is feeling good about what’s to come. However, I’m even more excited by the fact that brands–particularly brands that play int he lifestyle space–can simply form their own media outlets and then the entire operation is working for the brand and its fans.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.