“Ladies and gentlemen, the cursed amulet commands me to inform you of the delicious taste of tonight’s sponsor: Sabra roasted red pepper hummus,” said Stephen Colbert on his first night hosting “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” The audience — myself included — was in stitches (definitely check it out for yourself below). Even though the bit was a blatant shill, it was a lighthearted take on the point we’ve come to with the idea of sponsored content.
While I’m blocking display ads on my computer browsers, I’m laughing my head off to a Sabra ad on TV — why? It’s not that I’m more likely to buy Sabra hummus as a result of Colbert’s mention, but by including the product into a sketch, it became more relevant and palatable to me as a consumer. This seems to be the trend with sponsored content (aka native advertising). Though still in its early stages, the trend seems to be that as long as the content is good and relevant, people don’t particularly care who it’s brought to them by.
Although it’s too early to herald sponsored content as the savior to the ad-blocking crisis online, it’s definitely worth considering that people might pay more attention to your marketing if it’s enjoyable, and not obnoxious.
Jeremy Zimmerman is Associate Content Editor for Target Marketing magazine and Direct Marketing IQ.