Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Disguising Ads as Stories

Damaris Colhoun, the Columbia Journalism Review:

Last month, when Conde Nast announced the launch of 23 Stories, its branded content studio that gives marketers “unparalleled access” to its “editorial assets,” the company made its narrative expertise a central part of the sales pitch. “As clients seek to elevate their storytelling and define themselves as publishers, we believe Condé Nast is uniquely qualified to partner with them to deliver compelling content, targeted to the right audiences at scale,” CMO Edward Menicheschi said in the press release.

Advertorials have always been present in some Conde Nast titles, in its fashion and makeup layouts, so what makes this new direction so troubling is not the creeping ad-think. It’s the creeping cynicism. When the press release says, “Our Industry is evolving, and so too are our ways of storytelling,” what it’s really saying is that branded stories are the future of new media, and those who disagree are behind the times.

See also: John Oliver doing what he does best:

It’s not trickery; it’s sharing storytelling tools. And that’s not bullshit; it’s repurposed bovine waste.