All the signs of the Times were there.

From NiemanLab six weeks ago:


Native advertising is growing at The New York Times

Capital New York give us a look at The New York Times’ native advertising business in a profile of Meredith Kopit Levien, its executive vice president for advertising, and it appears to be growing. Since launching earlier this year, it’s struck deals with 32 different brands — from Netflix to Thomson Reuters — to create ads that cost from $25,000 to more than $200,000 just to create.

And the Times’ in-house content studio, T Brand Studio, is up to a staff of 16 — up from nine when my colleague Justin Ellis wrote about the Times’ approach native advertising in June.


And those madcap T Brandniks have been plenty busy creating online stealth advertising like this Googlepitch:



Now comes this, via Digiday.


The NY Times runs its first print native ad

The New York Times has been producing increasingly elaborate native ads online, and now it has gone a step further by extending the format to print for the first time.

The ad, for Shell, is set to appear in print and online Wednesday, and it’s a far cry from the advertorials of days past. First, the size: The print component is an eight-page section that’s wrapped around home-delivered copies. (In the case of newsstand copies, the ad wraps the business section.) The top sheet is opaque vellum, for extra effect. The print creative extends the Web version, with infographics that show the urbanization of the world’s population. In what the Times called “icing on the cake,” the print ads are enhanced by augmented reality, so that people using the Blippar app can initiate a video by holding their phone over the page.


Representative samples:




Then again, the Times is just genuflecting to the times. The Washington Post gave up the ghost last month. Once again via Digiday:


The Washington Post takes its ‘native’ ads to print



When is a print advertorial a native ad? The Washington Post published an ad for Shell in Thursday’s print edition that it’s touting as its first native ad in print. Shell used the ad, which ran on A13, to tell readers about the work it’s doing to improve energy efficiency. A nearly identical version ran online.

Many will no doubt see the Shell ad as a classic advertorial type ad that publications have run in print forever. But the Post said the Shell execution is true native because it’s integrated among editorial stories on the page. It’s labeled “sponsor generated content” and visual cues of background shading and fonts that are different from the surrounding articles.


Even so, it sure feels like the White Flag of Old Journalism.


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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