How to Make Advertorial Work

In today’s TWO MINUTE PR TIP we look at how you can use advertorial as a tactical PR tool and get your target audience to read it without even realising it’s a paid-for feature.

1. What is advertorial?

Advertorial is a cross-over between paid-for-space advertising and editorial. It’s used mostly for the written word rather than graphics.

2. But people hate advertorial

Yes. Mostly they do. But that’s only because its usually badly executed and it “looks” like advertorial – so people instantly dismiss it. And that’s before they even see the tiny type at the top which says “Advertisement feature” or similar.

3. Common mistakes

Because advertorial is based on paid-for space, people usually approach it with their “advertising heads” on. Or they get their Ad Agency to do it.

This leads to several unforgivable horrors:

  • They display the company logo. That’s 80 per cent of readers immediately switched off.
  • They or the Ad Agency produce the artwork themselves in a significantly different style to the magazine itself:
    • Two columns instead of four
    • Different font
    • Different line spacing
    • That’s successfully warded-off another ten per cent of readers.
  • And for final confirmation that this is pure propaganda they write the copy in advertising style or brochure-speak.

That’s it. Your advertorial is dead in the water.  It just cost you a fortune and nobody read it.

So here’s how to do it successfully!

4. Write it for the reader, just like PR

Your target reader is viewing his or her magazine or website because they like they style and quality of the content it gives them. Respect their needs!

First, even though the information you want to deliver is not news per se, you can and must deliver it in the form of a “great to read” piece of high quality journalism. (I would always recommend having a professional journalist to write it as we do for everything).

Wrap your story up within an informative article about an industry issue which will interest them – and to which your product/service/company is the ideal solution.

The headline and first 200 words must captivate the reader so well that they don’t even notice the small print; “Advertisement feature” at the top.

(Very occasionally you can persuade the publisher to leave the “Advertisement feature” small print out if the editor agrees the copy is “editorially sound”. But this doesn’t happen often).

If you’ve captivated your reader well enough, then even if they do notice the “advertisement feature” small print, they’ll carry on reading: Because it’s a good read!

5. Make it NOT stand out

You don’t want the reader to realise this is a paid-for-advertisement immediately, if at all.

So make it look EXACTLY like every other editorial feature in the magazine.

Ideally, get the magazine to typeset it and give them the same quality of supporting photographs you would with an editorial feature

If you have to get your Ad or design agency to do the artwork, make sure they do a specific artwork for EACH different magazine and that it is indiscernible from the magazine’s norm.

6. That’s all

It really is as simple as that.

And if you do it this way it really is highly effective.

It’s expensive, of course – so reserve this technique for special and highly important occasions.

But do stick rigidly to these guidelines. It’s so easy to do advertorial badly – and that takes it from “hero to zero”.

Make well executed advertorial your secret hero!


Don’t Mention The Olympics!

Marketing and the Olympics: the Advertising Standards Agncy (ASA) quizzed LOCOG ( London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) for guidance

10 May 2012
ASA: In terms of protecting the marketing/advertising activities of Olympic partners, what are LOCOG’s key objectives in the lead up to and during the Games?

LOCOG: Since we won the bid to host the London 2012 Games in 2005 we have always sought to educate people about our legal rights, the investment our sponsors make and the damage which ambush marketing can do to a nation’s ability to host the Games. In other words, deterring and preventing ambush marketing has been our priority and it still is. Our guidelines and FAQs remain on our website for anyone to view ( and we continue to work with industry bodies, like the ASA, to ensure businesses are able to seek advice if unsure about what they can and cannot do.

We have had fantastic support from our sponsors – without them, the Games simply could not happen. Now is the time that the rights they have purchased are the most valuable, and we must protect the exclusivity we have promised them by ensuring their competitors don’t seek to gain an association with the Games. We hope that all of the educational measures we have employed over the last few years pay off but where businesses do undertake ambush marketing we are ready to take swift action to prevent this.

ASA: What top tips can you give marketers planning ad campaigns around the Olympics on how to avoid breaching LOCOG rules?

LOCOG: Our legal rights are very wide and therefore any ‘Olympic’ themed campaign is likely to infringe them – even if it doesn’t refer explicitly to the Games. If a business is looking to undertake a marketing campaign which capitalises on the Games we would ask them to consider the ethics of doing so. Trying to associate a brand with the Games, and to feed off the excitement and goodwill in the Games, when you have not paid the sponsorship fees to do so directly damages the funding for the Games and the British Olympic and Paralympic Teams competing at them. The best way to support the Games and our athletes is to respect the legal framework and not attempt to leverage the Games in marketing campaigns.
To understand the scope of our rights, we would recommend businesses look at the faqs and documents available at

ASA: What are the common pitfalls that non-Olympic-partner advertisers run into?

LOCOG: Some businesses think that if they don’t use any of our logos or refer explicitly to the Games, this won’t infringe our rights. However, the London Olympics Association Right is drafted widely so that any representation which creates an association between a business or brand with the Games (subject to certain defences) infringes the right.

It is also worrying that we are still seeing businesses promoting competitions or prize draws to win Olympic or Paralympic tickets. The terms and conditions of the tickets prohibit all use of tickets for advertising, promotional or marketing purposes without our consent (which we reserve for sponsors). In addition, Section 31 of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 makes it a criminal offence to “sell” tickets in the course of trade without our consent. The definition of “sell” is broad and can capture use of tickets for promotional purposes where, for example, someone buys a product in return for being entered into the draw.

ASA: Are you actively monitoring for ads that might contravene intellectual property rights?

LOCOG: Yes, we are working with our official market research services provider, Nielsen, to monitor for infringing advertisement.

ASA: Do you provide any advice and training?

LOCOG: We have produced a range of faqs and guidelines (including some for specific sectors such as tourism and betting) which are available at We have also spoken at many industry events and held our own events, for example for marketing companies. We are not able to provide individual advice or training for businesses but have worked with organisations like the ASA to ensure they are able to provide advice.

ASA: What sanctions can LOCOG invoke if a marketer gets it wrong?

LOCOG: In relation to adverts which create an association with the Games, LOCOG is able to seek civil remedies including an injunction and damages. In addition, in the case of tickets being used without authorisation, we can void the tickets and where there is an offence under Section 31 of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 we will refer the matter to the police. Use of Olympic and Paralympic symbols and terminology to promote goods can also be a criminal offence which the police or trading standards may pursue. LOCOG could also refer a case to the ASA for adjudication for issues than can be addressed under the CAP or BCAP Codes.

During the Games, advertising and trading regulations will be in place around venues, meaning that many forms of advertising in the defined ‘event zones’ is prohibited unless authorised by LOCOG. For example, billboard advertisement, leafleting or sampling, give-aways and experiential advertising on the streets around venues will require LOCOG’s consent. Undertaking such advertising without LOCOG’s consent will be an offence punishable by a fine. More information on these regulations is available at

See the original article here:


Using PR To Win New Business In The Recession

IT sector magazine Netcomms Europe has published the first in a series of articles by Turtle Consulting founder Phil Turtle in both its print and online editions entitled:  Twist and Shout! Using PR To Win New Business In The Recession

Read it here