The September issue of Shape contained what should be known as “Exactly How Not to Do Native Advertising.” The New York Times reports that the magazine published a full page article titled “Water Works!” with the label “News.” The problem: It was definitely not news. In fact, the article was just an ad for Shape branded drinks called Shape Water Boosters.
The article/ad cited a few studies about how unhealthy sugary drinks are, but added that some people don’t like the way water tastes. What’s the solution? Why Shape Water Boosters, of course! “Just a single squeeze (equal to a half-teaspoon) adds delicious flavor — but not calories — along with a concentrated punch of nutrients that offer some important bonus benefits,” explained the ad.
Unsurprisingly, The National Advertising Division, the ad industry’s investigation unit, ruled that Shape’s article “blurred the line between advertising and editorial content in a way which could confuse consumers.”
Shape has now removed the article from its website, but other magazines should thank the glossy’s staffers for showing them how awful sponsored content can be.
Oh, and the Water Boosters Shape wanted readers to buy? A nutritionist told the Times, “I’m sure the magazine has a lot of well-founded advice, but in this case they’ve joined thousands of other companies to sell snake oil.”[Image: The New York Times]