Up In Arms Over Native Advertising? Why? It’s Been Going On For Years. A Mr. Magazine™ Musing.

September 23, 2016

The Mr. Magazine™ Series “From the Vault of Classic Magazines”
Part 4…

When you start an excavation into old magazines for purposes beyond research; in my case, the sheer love of the classics with their depth of content and a type of journalistic style that isn’t seen that much anymore; you begin to notice the things that haven’t changed as well as those that aren’t as prevalent. And the one very apparent fact is that native advertising wasn’t just invented in the 21st century with the rise of the Internet.

I was amazed and a bit stunned to find blatantly “native” advertising in two of the most respected and prestigious magazines, which are still around today, I might add, in classic editions.

esquire-cover esquire-inside

From Esquire’s October, 1939 edition (well over 70 years ago), and I’m sure you could have counted that for yourself, yet I feel the need to verify it again to my own ears, just look at a Brooks Brothers ad that bears an extremely strong resemblance to an editorial page. The way the fashion is presented in the advertisement is very classy, yet appears as almost a story about the chosen garments.

And then with National Geographic, which the edition on topic is from February 1956, there is an article written by a former Ambassador to Great Britain, Lewis W. Douglas, titled “Some Sober Facts Behind the Search for Oil,” which at the end of the article you read:

This is one of a series of reports by outstanding Americans who were invited to examine the job being done by the U.S. oil industry. This page is presented for your information by The American Petroleum Institute, 50 West 50th Street, New York 20, N.Y. Mention the National Geographic – It identifies you.

If this is not a brand voice, as our friends at Forbes like to call it, I must have a different idea of the term. And if the Brooks advertising isn’t native advertisement, yes…well, you get my meaning.

So before we let the horror of it all when it comes to native advertising offend and repulse us, just remember, there really isn’t anything new under the sun out there. Where we believe we’re the first to try something, whether it works or not, chances are there has been another Adam or Eve before us who have already proven or disproven the idea.


Until the next Mr. Magazine™ “From the Vault of Classic Magazines…”

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