Anatomy of a “Sponsored Post”

Screenshot from Gawker.com.

Embarrassing Disclaimer: In order to write this blog post, I have to admit that I occasionally read Gawker.

In magazines, publishers put “Special Advertising Section” across the tops of the “advertorials.” I guess my online eye is a little less trained to recognize sponsored materials, because today on Gawker I was tricked into reading a sponsored post!

Being in the online marketing realm myself, I have to admit that the sponsored post on Gawker was well-done for the following four reasons:

1. The Headline: “You Need a New Profile Picture”
Why it Works: It leads with the word “you,” which is always a good thing. It plays on mine and other reader’s insecurities about online personas.  It doesn’t sound like an ad.

2. The Image: An egotistical dude in a suit taking his own picture.
Why it Works: I instantly don’t like this jerk with long hair, wearing a suit and taking himself too seriously. Reading about him and why he is an idiot will make me feel better about myself so I am drawn in.

3. The Body Copy. “That over-exposed, half-faced, self portrait is not even Top Eight-worthy. It’s time for you to get over 2005 and get a new damn photo of yourself.”
Why it Works: This post leads with interesting copy that does not mention the sponsor right away. The copy sounds like other Gawker posts.

4. The Offer.  Take a survey and enter to win a camera.
Why it Works: Fuji, the advertiser stands to learn something about its audience and the participant gets a chance to win a camera. Win-Win? They aren’t just counting clicks or impressions here. Instead, they are doing market research and at the same time generating interest in their products. Now that I know I can “win” a Fuji camera, I become more interested in the Fuji brand and it’s products.

The Downsides: There are two big areas where this sponsored post misses the mark.

  • The survey link takes you to an off-site, unbranded survey page which doesn’t exactly scream “TRUST ME! I AM SECURE!”
  • In order to enter to win the camera, survey participants must send a separate email to Gawker where they cut and paste the last question of the survey. This low-tech and time consuming catch will definitely lower response.

Have you seen any shining examples of sponsored content or in-conversation marketing? What do you think of this ad?

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