An advertorial is basically an ad in the shape of editorial material. The term “advertorial” is derived from the words “adder” and” editorial”. The earliest usage is found in a book entitled, Review of Modern Advertising by James C. Pack. Advertorials, by definition, are “substantial print advertisements” that show or offer some information about a product or service in the form of advertising. Advertorials can also mean a sale, a sample, a free offer, a holiday package, or any other type of promotion.
Advertorials are published in a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical and they serve a dual purpose. Firstly, they inform the reader that something new has been offered for sale, a discount, or a deal. Secondly, they inform the reader that the sale or deal will not be held long enough for them to request a return address, etc. Advertorials are also written for business magazines as an insert to the regular magazine.
The purpose of an advertorial lies in two areas. Firstly, it informs the reader of what the client has to offer and secondly, it advertises that specific item or line of products to be sold. In effect, the advertorial has three parts. The first part is the “buying story”. This is the “hook” that draws the reader into reading the next portion of the advertorial.
Secondly, the advertorial includes the details of how the client can be reached after making a purchase. This is achieved through contact details. Finally, the advertorials include detailed information about delivery and postage costs. These details are all printed alongside the advertorial itself so that the client can easily order online or by telephone.
Because it is written for a publication, an advertorial has to provide accurate and useful information. As such many advertisers prefer to choose publications that have very broad readership. Broad based publications give more room for a well-written advertorial because many people who read these publications may not necessarily be interested in a particular product. In addition, many businesses choose to have advertorials printed in magazines or newspapers over the internet because of its increased visibility and availability.
Advertorials are most successful when they match the nature of a specific client. For example, a financial company will not want an advertorial telling the reader to invest in a particular company because this will conflict with their specific financial advisory aims. Similarly, a clothing company will not want a printed advertorial advocating their clothes because the specific company selling the clothes would be contradictory to the message that the advertorial is trying to convey. Therefore, an advertiser needs to consider what audience would be most interested in the particular commercial message before selecting which publications to print.
There are two different categories of advertorial: one-way advertorials, which are designed to communicate with the audience and only partially disclosed; two-way advertorials, which is designed to inform and partially reveal to the audience. A one-way advertorial often comes as part of a monthly newsletter from a business, which will inform the reader about the recent achievements of a company but does not disclose specific details. An example of a one-way advertorial might tell the reader, “A recent study by McKinsey found that firms that spent the most money on advertising spent much less on hiring employees.” However, the same study might suggest that an ad agency should spend more time informing the reader about the specific facts. If an advertorial contains factual statements, it is more likely to succeed in enticing a reader to take a specific action, rather than simply advising the reader of general facts.
Due to the low cost of hiring professional copywriters, commercial advertising professionals often use advertorials as a cheap method of advertising. When using an advertorial, the advertising agency must ensure that the content of the advertorials does not contain false or misleading statements that could harm the reputation of the client. The ad agency must ensure that all references to specific products and services are clear and accurate, and that the terminology used is appropriate and not misleading. If a commercial advertiser runs afoul of these rules, then it is likely that they will receive adverse publicity from their clients.
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