The Daily Meal Rolls Out Sponsored Verticals

Promise of brand boost

The Daily Meal, Spanfeller Media Group’s food-focused site, is going native.

The Daily Meal has rolled out sponsored verticals around topics like grilling and entertaining. When a brand sponsors a vertical, the site pulls in relevant editorial content to complement the campaign. Sponsors of the so-called Content Activation Program so far have included Kettle Brand Chips and the California Avocado Commission.

While native advertising isn’t without its skeptics who suspect it’s just a way to trick readers into reading ads, Jim Spanfeller, CEO and founder of Spanfeller Media Group, said that people who read grilling and entertaining stories are predisposed to view branded content.

To ensure advertisers get what they pay for, The Daily Meal is promising them 100 percent viewability (addressing today’s big concern in the marketplace that online ads often are going unseen) and brand lift in at least one metric, like awareness or purchase intent.

“We believe so strongly in the Content Activation Program …we’ll guarantee it works,” Spanfeller said.

Whether the program is enough to excite foodies remains to be seen. Alex Kakoyiannis, founder of The Culinary Agency, a talent and content shop, said that since food is such a big part of popular culture, ads need to do more than just raise awareness. They need to engage.

The most effective marketing sparks a conversation, he added. “That’s what the Red Bulls and Apples have done so well,” he said.