A term that combines the words “editorial” and “advertisement”, an advertorial refers to a type of print advertisement designed to resemble editorial content. An advertorial is written in the form of an objective opinion editorial and may resemble a news story about a product or service. Like any other form of advertising, an advertorial is a paid placement in a magazine, newspaper, or other printed publication, but is a less obvious form of advertisement than traditional ads.
Advertorials frequently feature information about a new product or technological advancements in existing services. An advertorial is written similarly to a press release and often contains statistics on scientific research, consumer trends, or other authoritative pieces of information. Though it may appear to be an objective opinion, an advertorial is actually paid advertising. There may or may not be a disclaimer printed with the advertorial that tells readers it is advertising.
A concept that was popularized by Mobile Oil’s revised marketing strategies in the early 1970s, advertorials have proven to be an effective means of marketing a company or product. Much like product placement, an advertorial is a non-obvious form of advertising that can subtly grab the attention of consumer audiences since they believe they are learning useful information that can guide them to a consumer decision rather than being blatantly sold a product or service. Though an advertorial appears objective, there is no trace of negativity because it is paid advertising, making it non-objective in reality.
Advertorials work well for products and services where information sells better than images. Products and services frequently featured in advertorial form include nutritional supplements, cosmetic procedures, sporting goods, educational training programs, and travel agencies.
In a print publication where an advertorial appears, there are typically subtle differences between the ad and the remaining content. They can sometimes be identified by their appearance because they are printed with a different font or on different paper than the rest of the publication. At times, depending on the type of publication, an advertorial may appear as a single insert rather than printed directly in the publication in the form of copy.
While many advertorials carry fine print disclaimers, there are a few publications that contain strictly advertorial content throughout – especially in the travel industry. Many people view this as less than ethical, but companies generally expect readers to know the difference between genuine news and advertising.