3 brands that nailed native advertising

Written on 14 September, 2015 by James Baylis
Categories: Marketing | Tags: online business, online marketing

Offering a creative way to engage new customers, native advertising is the content marketing technique predicted to evolve and expand the most in the coming years. Well worth exploring, native advertising campaigns transform ad content to suit the space they appear in – whether that’s a sponsored ad perfectly tailored for Twitter or a BuzzFeed article promoting your business.

The most successful native advertising campaigns are the ones where readers and potential customers enjoy the content so much that they barely notice or care that it was sponsored or created by a third party. So which brands have really nailed it?


Star of the small screen, Netflix showed its native advertising prowess with an excellent campaign in The New York Times. To grab attention, native ad content should be fresh and thought-provoking, and the TV company managed exactly that with its article “Women Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn’t Work”. Written by a Times journalist, excellently researched and accompanied by a video with testimonials from real former prisoners, this content was released to promote the show Orange is the New Black.

It contained so many interesting statistics and offered so much value to the reader that it was a runaway success and is a great example of how far some original research and content can reach.


BuzzFeed is one of the best places for brands to connect with a wide and diverse audience. What’s more, its consistent house style is one that clever businesses can easily complement. HarperCollins is a great example of a brand that made the site work for it. The publisher created a list-style article titled “10 Quotes Every Grad Needs to Read” that was based on the viral “You Are Not Special” commencement speech by teacher David McCullough, Jr.

Not only did the article conform to BuzzFeed’s style and piggyback on a popular video, it provided a soft sell designed to help link books and graduates in the minds of readers without intrusive ads or branding.


The drink-maker created written content and behind-the-scenes clips of a video about English race-car driver Sir Malcolm Campbell and published it in Vanity Fair. This lifestyle magazine is ideally positioned for aspirational native advertising and the video and content were unique, interesting and focused on the first man to break the 300mph land-speed record way back in 1935 – an ideal symbol for ambition, which was the message the brand was trying to drive.

This piece worked so well because not only was the subject matter fascinating and unique, but the authors also worked hard to match the chic style of Vanity Fair while keeping product placement minimal and natural.

Take some inspiration from these three brands that have achieved huge success from their recent campaigns and incorporate native advertising into your next content marketing strategy.