- Print ads for Google's mobile app in 11 Time Inc. publications urged readers to "ask Google" about the editorial content that appeared next to the ads, according to Ad Age.
- The native ads included questions that were developed by Time Inc. editors, including those at Time Magazine and InStyle, and related to the content next to the ads.
- For example, a Time Magazine article on flags was placed next to an ad that read: "OK, Google, how many American flags are on the moon?" The ads were meant to encourage users to open the Chrome app and find out the answer.
Time Inc.'s campaign for Google's mobile app is part of the growing trend of publications enlisting editorial staff to contribute to native advertising. Conde Nast, for example, recently unveiled a branded content studio that seeks to leverage the publication's editorial strengths to create quality paid content.
For Time Inc., the Google campaign raises concerns about the sometimes sacred separation of editorial and advertising.
"Our native initiatives are a natural complement to our creative process and consistent with our commitment to editorial standards and integrity," Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp told analysts and investors on the company's earnings call on Thursday.
If you're a marketer, though, you may welcome editorial input on advertising. Editorial people typically have a strong understanding of their audience and what they want to read. That's the big reason why many publications are enlisting them to create high-quality paid content that doesn't read like an ad.