Buzzfeed Spreads Content Around Like Butter On Toast

Native advertising is a stupid name for a decent development in media circles. Regardless, sponsored content is on a lot of media and marketing minds today, because online advertising is a disaster from a brand building perspective.

Does Buzzfeed Know the Secret? -- New York Magazine

Native is definitely on the mind and the desktop of Jonah Peretti, MIT grad and co-founder of BuzzFeed and Huffington Post.

Andrew Rice, writing for New York Magazine, reports that “beneath BuzzFeed’s cheery gloss lies a data-driven apparatus designed to figure out what makes you click.”

Peretti doesn’t care whether a post is produced by a journalist or sponsored by a brand, so long as it travels. He’s a semiotic Darwinist: He believes in messages that reproduce.

“To me, advertising is fascinating, partly because it’s part of culture, and partly because it sucks,” he told me one evening in February. “There’s a bit of the geek mentality, which is that when you see something that’s broken, you try to fix it.”

Of course, Buzzfeed is also home to Mark Duffy, a.k.a. Copyranter. Duffy’s lastest offering: 18 Meat Ads. It’s not highbrow content, but it is network-friendly; therefore, it is money.

Let’s revisit the infamous words of A.J. Leibling, “Fortune lies not in the main stream of letters, but in the shallows where the suckers moon.”

I’m not making a judgement, merely an observation, and one I might learn from. Buzzfeed has millions of readers, AdPulp has thousands. If we were to take a page from the Buzzfeed book, we’d start posting tons of lightweight “contagious” material, which would then coexist with our thought pieces and original reporting.

Of course, doing so would also take us way off-brand, and remove us from our Reasons Why. The things we have to do to make money these days…

Previously on AdPulp: Can Journalism As A Civic Good And Native Advertising Live Side-by-Side?



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.