A combination of the terms ‘advertisement’ and ‘editorial’, the advertorial is an advertisement disguised as an editorial. Typically conducted in print form, they have begun to creep onto the internet and show up as links and articles about specific products.
An advertorial may be written like a press release; giving new information about a product, introducing a new product or line or simply to bring attention to an existing product. It can include statistics, local trends or other pieces of information. The well-written advertorial is used to draw a customer’s attention and inform the reader of the new or highlighted product.
Done correctly, the reader may not even realize that it is an advertisement. Advertorials appear to be objective writings about the benefits of a particular product, and can seem as though they are teaching the reader new information, while helping the reader decide to purchase a product. These written advertisements are anything but objective, however, as they paint a glowing picture of the specific product, while neglecting to mention any negative aspects.
The advertorial was primarily used for cosmetic procedures, nutritional supplements, travel agencies and other industries where words are more effective than pictures to sells. Recently, however, they have begun to be used by a variety of industries that spans the marketplace from clothing lines to burial services to house paint.
Differences between advertorials and other printed content are subtle: the font is typically different, many times the paper the advertorial is printed on is a different kind and there may be a notation on the page that indicated the content is an advertorial. Internet based advertorials may be even more difficult to distinguish from actual content and require keen attention to detail to discover.
Referred to as a form of ‘product placement’, the advertorial appears to be a method of advertising that works and will be around for a long time.