The Atlantic’s —infamous— Scientology ad is exaclty where publishing advertising should never evolve towards. In contrasts with the NYT efforts this was an easy way out.
It’s understandable that The Atlantic would inevitably touch a third rail with any “new” ad format. But what it calls “native advertising” is actually “advertorial.” It’s not new at all. Touching the third rail in this case is unacceptable.
An The Atlantic no only failed to deliver quality content, it also fear of users opinions and decided to censor them.
No matter how laughably “sales-y” a piece of sponsored content might be, the censoring of readership should be the true “third rail,” never to be touched. —Schafer: Atlantic’s Scientology ad
The New York Times is researching a new ad formats inspired by their own infographics and interactive articles.
The NYT’s Idea Lab […] is an offshoot of NYT’s Tk, which was set up to come up with new technologies for storytelling. Think of the three-year-old Idea Lab as something similar, only it works with agencies and brands to help advertisers tell stories in modern, interesting ways. […] The efforts are a way for the NYT to stand out at a time when publishers are blurring the lines between editorial and advertising under the “native advertising” catchall. —The New York Times’ Plan to Save the Banner Ad
In other words, the evolution of the advertorial for the digital age. Hopefully not as boring as it sounds.
It’s hard not to consider this the most extended opinion on “traditional” online advertising:
The decision on [removing] advertising was the hardest, because obviously it provides a vital revenue stream for almost all media products. But we know from your emails how distracting and intrusive it can be; and how it often slows down the page painfully. And we’re increasingly struck how advertising is dominated online by huge entities, and how compromising and time-consuming it could be for so few of us to try and lure big corporations to support us. We’re also mindful how online ads have created incentives for pageviews over quality content. — New Year, New Dish, New Media