Thinking about the relationship between content and containers immediately drew my mind to native advertising. Native advertising refers to sponsored content which is presented in the same typeface, layout, and tone as the rest of the content in the magazine, newspaper, website, etc. – the container in which it sits (Bakshi, 2015).
Although most people have encountered native advertising (an example is any sponsored Buzzfeed post), many people fail to recognize native advertising as advertising; instead, they identify it as an article (Lazauskas, 2015). Of the people in this study, 62% of respondents felt that a news site loses credibility when it publishes native ads (Lazauskas, 2015).
However, it’s not only that the website loses credibility when people figure out it has native ads. What’s more troubling is the fact that many people will mistake these ads for articles, which can lead to a lot of misunderstanding and a spread of false or biased information.
The blurred lines of between advertising and editorial content has not been without critique:
What interests me in native advertising is how the container can make content misleading. Its job is to blend visually and tonally into the container; however, by doing this, it disrupts the overall content and, seemingly, the authority or reputation of the publication.