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Is Native Advertising Destroying The Ad Industry?

Posted by David Murdico on November 13th, 2013 at 11:31 am

Native Advertising is Killing Advertising

Native Advertising is hot! Brand executives, creative agencies and publishers are running around from meeting to meeting frantically asking questions like "How do I get some? How do you use it? and What is it?"

The smartest brands and agencies are already using native advertising with exceptional results, but is it sustainable? Are we burning through a previously untapped resource that can't last? Will this sharp turn in advertising methodology destroy the ad industry as we know it?

WHAT IS NATIVE ADVERTISING?

Native advertising, which involves colorfully dressed natives from places like New Guinea, Peru and even as far off as Gilligan's Island writing, producing and placing ads, is growing in popularity for a variety of reasons.

The first and foremost reason is cost.

According to advertising expert Jonas Grumby, "with the advent of computers on the internet, natives are going toe to toe with, and even beating out, the big agencies. They bring a different perspective and a new voice to advertising. I think it's great."

No doubt Native Advertising is great, but at what cost? How can the existing ad industry compete? And  are the natives themselves, often working for as little as 7 coconuts a day, actually being exploited in the process?

When you consider that just a few years ago, most native copywriters were hand painting signs that advertised sales on bananas, monkeys and hut rental listings, and now they're entering the world of real time bidding, Facebook ads, making YouTube videos, and buying TV and radio ad space, it's remarkable.

But the problem is that they're undercutting the long-established fee structure that keeps US agency execs in their fine suits and nice cars.

Many young advertising professionals feel ripped off.

"I spent 4 years studying advertising with a minor in communications," recent USC grad Ginger Grant spewed angrily, "and when I get out, all the jobs are taken by Amazon people that hunt free food and grind stuff up with stones. I have to buy food at Whole Foods, and I have a blender. They don't even have a blender?"

Native Advertising is Ruining The Ad IndustryAccording to Bolivian President Eric Estrada (pictured left), "native advertising is really helping the South American rainforest economy by allowing underdeveloped, primitive cultures to compete in a global market." He also added, "I'm in talks with Larry Wilcox's people to shoot CHiPs The Movie, which is all very exciting as well."

DOES NATIVE ADVERTISING TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NATIVES?

On the other side of the story are activists and protesters who claim that natives are being taken advantage of by greedy brands and penny pinching startups, too cheap to pay them the competitive ad agency rates that would allow them to move out of the jungle and get apartments in the city.

"What happens when natives forget all the offline skills they once relied on to survive, and the big companies move on after the next big ad fad?" asks Roy Hinkley, Managing Director of Native Advertising Sellers, or NADS, a zealous group of vocal middlemen who broker fair wages between brands, startups and native advertisers.

Hinkley is in charge of exposing his NADS to the public and making sure members are visible through the GO NADS initiative he launched earlier this year.

So what do you think? Is native advertising the end of advertising, or just the beginning of something new?

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