Did you read Melanie Deziel’s story, “Women Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn’t Work” in yesterday’s New York Times? The one about the current lack of programs and policies to meet the needs of the growing U.S. female prison population? If you did, were you aware you were reading branded content? The very real article was created by the NYT’s new T Brand Studio on behalf of Netflix to promote the new season of Orange is the New Black, its show about…women in prison. And it’s genius.
This is not an advertorial about Netflix or even OITNB. It’s media rich, sponsor-driven journalism, (or native advertising if you’re into buzzwords) in a respected news outlet on a real topic that’s tangentially-relevant to the sponsor’s product.
There are tiny Netflix and OITNB logos up top and that’s it Why is the NYT getting into branded content and sponsor editorial? Because they most likely earned more ad revenue by creating something readable, relevant and valuable than they would have selling Netflix print or online ads people would ignore for exponentially less money.
This is a thing now.