Different people in the media have very different opinions on native advertising. You may recall that Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker called the practice “a Faustian bargain” before his own paper jumped head-first into the trend by launching its own in-house native ad studio.
John Oliver laid out the terms of the debate on his increasingly impressive HBO show Last Week Tonight. If you have ten free minutes, this clip is worth a watch.
Of course, one of the funniest aspects of this extended rant is the seemingly legitimate paid promotion for Mountain Dew that appears between the three and four-minute marks. The fact that HBO ran a sponsored BuzzFeed post to promote this very show is also perfectly appropriate.
Yet therein lies the problem with Oliver’s rant: he has the funding and the independence to not only offer the public his (very strong) opinion on media trends but to also make fun of the very companies giving him money for a brief appearance on his high-brow television program.
99.9% of his colleagues in media do not have that option.
Still, he makes a great argument. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on Katy Perry.