Is ‘advertorial’ still a dirty word?

Watching Jamie Oliver’s new ‘Dream School’ the other day, I thought it a little odd to see an advert break featuring him promoting Sainsbury’s which asks the question; where does the boundary fall between editorial and advertorial? For the TV world, the boundaries are becoming ever blurred with sponsorship of programmes and now with product placement.

But what about the print world?

Advertorial – paid for editorial – has always seemed a slightly dirty word to those in PR who like a story to stand on its own two feet. Not that a good advertorial doesn’t have its place. If it’s well written and relevant, your target audience will read it.

One thing I dislike though is the presence of a traditional advert by your advertorial piece. It’s a bit like putting up a big neon sign saying ‘we paid for it’. So perhaps the key is to be as subtle with its use as you can. It might/should say advertisement at the top but don’t frighten the reader off by making it too obviously a paid for piece.

Be bold enough to think you don’t have to be too salesy and make it an interesting read. Just because you paid for it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put the effort in.