Monday, October 5, 2015

The Development of Branded Content

Tyler Prich

In the past couple of decades, both the world of journalism and the world of marketing have changed dramatically. The lines between the two different fields have begun to appear blurry with the rise of branded content. The manner in which advertisements are presented nowadays is much more complex than the days of old pop-up ads and Nigerian prince scams.

Before Al Gore invented the Internet, there wasn’t much room for corporate journalism in the papers. But now with the availability of information and space the digital age has brought, consumers can be reached on a completely different level. Even in the beginning though, things were very different. Pop-up ads and atrocious banner ads haunted every website and took so much time to download on your dial-up connection that you would give up on reading the online news that day.
Fast forward to 2015, the way in which companies can present themselves has developed into something previously unheard of. As the Quartz article explains, advertising has shifted “toward a more subtle and mature approach based on storytelling… telling great stories about a company in a more intelligent way instead of simply extolling a product’s merits.” This form of advertising is far superior to its predecessors, I mean, how great is it to not get bombarded with ad after ad after ad while surfing the web? 

Unfortunately, the rise of brand journalism brings questions of both credibility, and perhaps more important, the future of legitimate, down-home newsroom writing. A striking figure from the Quartz article was the heavy decline in newsroom journalists that accompanied the steady rise of Public Relations professionals. Ideally, news journalists would be treated with respect and face no scrutiny for what they do. Unfortunately, the influx of PR journalism has damaged the credibility of news on the Internet. 

This loss of credibility is due largely to the fact that it can be difficult just to distinguish between branded content and raw, uncut news. News outlets all over the country are shifting their focus to corporate journalism, even the Associated Press has created a branded content department. This goes to show that even the most respected news outlets are making the move towards PR journalism, and they should. This form of advertising is far superior to any other form we've seen before.

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