As the hardtracking staff noted several months ago, the New York Times is all in with native advertising, those ads in sheep’s clothing that are the stealth marketing flavor of the month.

The thing is, the Times approach to native advertising is all smoke and mirrors, as this interview with NYT executive vice president of advertising Meredith Kopit Levien in The Media Briefing reveals.

Representative sample:

“The most important things the NYT has are its brand, its mission and the trust its readers place in those things. If we were to say anybody in our newsroom could touch that native content it would immediately compromise their independence.

“[We will] share story telling tools, share the container the story goes in, share code bases, be inspired by the newsroom’s work, but never share story tellers. Not in my lifetime as far as I can see.”

And then there’s this:

“We are transacting, in some cases, a smaller number of impressions, but at a much higher CPM. A smaller number of impressions because we’re selling better than we have in a long time on the direct side. Next year that will be an even bigger part of our business.”


Here’s the reality of it, from yesterday’s Times.



Notice especially this small type at the bottom of the ad.



T Brand Studio is the native advertising factory the Times has established to create stealth ads like that one, the whole thrust of which is to send readers here.

Where we dutifully plugged in FXVFWS AYMT SLVCLN and got . . . an ad.




It’s State of the Cuisinart Marketing, and the Times can protest its purity all it wants but the Grey Lady is in reality just a cheap grifter like Gawker and BuzzFeed and The Atlantic and etc.

It should at least be honest about that.

John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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