What the hell is “Native” Advertising and why should you care?

images (68)The last few posts on this site may seem disconnected but that is what we do here at Deviations on a Theme – sharing seemingly random yet somehow interconnected threadlings.

I attempt to connect dots on various subjects by looking for reputable information and weeding out the crap.  I am a research geek (it gives my OCD an outlet).  It is an imperfect system but hopefully we learn something together.

I am currently interested in a layman’s education regarding hormones and their effects.  There are many thousands of online sites, support groups, books, and articles about hormones and the ways in which they may help or hurt (autoimmunity comes to mind) our bodies.

There is an astonishing amount of pseudo-medical information regarding herbal and natural remedies. Many use seemingly “newsworthy” articles to draw attention to their products.  We have all come across an article that seems of interest only to discover it is obviously just about a product – that is advertising! The ad is usually colorful, enticing, full of smiling young beautiful faces. In other words, what it is, is obvious.

However new advertisements are becoming more like our news broadcasts, e.g., selling a point of view, an agenda, opinion (or product) by insidiously disguising itself as something it is not. A product may be offered as a news item, medical or scientific breakthrough, or new technology; yet even some of these ploys are still somewhat obvious.

Recently it is increasingly common to come across information that is harder to decipher or dissect, and this is no accident.  It is sleight of hand and trickery – preying on vulnerable people who cannot tell the difference.

images (70)Since I am currently interested in information from the healthcare field let us take that as an example. It is now common to see products touted by doctors, Ph.Ds, or healthcare officials who lend their name to a product in order to sell a book or product.  Now they start a blog, or a Youtube channel and rehash old topics on hair tonics, penis enlargers, herbal remedies, or whatever the latest gimmick is to lose weight.  Only now it seems markedly worse because it is becoming harder to differentiate the facts from the fiction.  Most of it is age-old greed; a quick buck and nobody gets hurt?!  Another part of this phenomenon can be blamed on the internet for giving everyone a relatively free forum for unleashing their own blather. 🙂  But there is an increasing amount of misinformation mixed in with serious health issues. And that can be dangerous.

7c8i7ab28akjasThis brings us to a more recent article I posted from the NYTimes, regarding supplements and the lack of government oversight/regulation (hmm… where have we heard that euphemism before?)

Often touting a product’s positive effects and benefits, companies can say anything short of “cure.” Does this make you the consumer, a sucker who should have known better?  These companies are preying on our most sick and vulnerable.

Several well-known supplement companies have recently been caught selling products in well-known stores, which contain useless or inert ingredients and/or none of what is stated on their labels.

And worse, perhaps including ingredients that images sssare unsafe, or may cause allergic reactions. The supplement business is a multi-billion dollar industry of snake oil salesmen (including Orrin Hatch, Senator from Utah).

Check it out: John Oliver is a master at exposing America’s absurdities:

Here is another Article:

CIO.com blogger says the practice is often deceptive, and the FTC is currently investigating the issue.
An increasing number of online editorial organizations are running something called “native” or “sponsored” content, a.k.a., advertisements disguised as news. 

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