Native Advertising Done Right

If you want to see a really forward-thinking ad campaign, take a look at the native advertising video series done by Intel appearing on The Verge. It cleverly combines several key trends in marketing and advertising: the collaborative economy, the product placement, the native ad, and even wearables.

The title of the series is “The Future is Now.” In the first video, Intel partners with a startup, ACustom Apparel, giving the company, which customer tailors mens’ clothing using 3-D scanning technology to get the measurements right, the bulk of the exposure. This is in line with Intel’s brand, recently morphed from Intel Inside to Intel-Look Inside. There’s one mention of Intel tablets, and a reference to Intel as the technology behind the scanner. Of course those are probably the weakest moments of the video, but since they’re short, they didn’t seem very interruptive.

There are also two brief product placements for other Intel partners: Logitech, whose keyboard is displayed, and Microsoft, whose operating system is on the Windows 8 tablet the startup’s founder shows in the video. It made me wonder who contributed dollars to this program. Back in the day, when I worked in PR at Intel, the company regularly co-marketed with its partners. It wasn’t called native advertising then, nor was it part of a disruptive collaborative economy, but Intel has always showcased good new technology that uses its chips.

While the video is way above average for native advertising, Intel’s partnership with Vox and The Verge is also appropriate: the series appears on one of the most popular technology news sites online.  Once again, the choice of partners is appropriate. The fact that this video is native advertising, or sponsored content, is clearly delineated in the beginning.

And while the collaborative economy and the need for brands to disrupt themselves by partnerships with startups is the first trend, and native advertising is the second, the third is perhaps the most interesting, and it’s the increasing use of computer technology on, in, and for the body. The founder of ACustom Apparel correctly (I believe) predicts that mapping the body is the next frontier of technology, and says that in the next decade it will become increasingly important. We already have custom fitness programs, targeted gene therapies and 3-D printed shoes, so why shouldn’t we also have better-fitting shirts?