The Power of an Advertorial

by JR Griggs

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/dohOn last night’s Celebrity Apprentice, I was a bit shocked at the use of the term “Advertorial”. The two teams were tasked with designing an advertorial for Melania Trump’s new skin care line. When I heard this, I was interested to see what the teams would do. Being that an advertorial is a copywriting task, this could be very interesting. Instead, somehow it was thought that an advertorial was simply a fancy word for advertisement. Because what the teams made was a display and two posters. Not one person on the show, including Donald Trump himself, seemed to know what an advertorial was.

What is an Advertorial?

An advertorial is not a fancy word for an advertisement. It is also not what you call an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper.

An advertorial is an advertisement disguised as an editorial. Makes sense right? Adver-torial.

Here’s the Merriam-Webster definition:an advertisement that imitates editorial format

So two posters that are nothing more than pictures and a slogan, are not an advertorial.

The entire idea is to design the ad so that it looks like an editorial, so people read it because they think it is a story. In this case, they could have written a story about the benefits of the product. The reader does not know it is an ad until the end where there should be a call to action or a coupon.

It’s a very powerful ad tactic, when done properly.

How to use an Advertorial


An Actual Advertorial

Now that we have properly defined what an advertorial is, let’s look at some ways you can use this in your business.

As stated before, you are disguising the ad in an editorial format. So you need to have a good story. You need to make the reader, want to read your ad.

So let’s look at the product that the Celebrity Apprentice teams were tasked with writing an ad for. The skin product is made from caviar. Pretty interesting concept. Melania stated in the show that it took her 10 years of research to develop this product.

Here are some possible titles that could be used.

“10 Years of Research Reveals That Caviar is the Secret to Healthy Skin”

“Revolutionary Skin Care Method Using Caviar is Result of 10 Year Study”

You get the idea, with more info on the product and it’s results, a much better headline could be written. The idea is to write the headline like a news story and get people to read it. That ad should be placed in a magazine or newspaper format. This way as readers are reading through the magazine or newspaper, they see that ad and think it is another story in the magazine. You can even use these as a stand alone piece in a mailer. It looks like just a story being mailed.

In the body of the advertorial should be interesting facts and stories. Interviews with people, which are basically disguised testimonials. Just by looking at the product page, I see that the caviar is harvested at optimal ripeness to maximize nutrients. A good line in the story would be. “One of the keys to this breakthrough is that the caviar must be harvested at optimal ripeness in order to maximize the nutrients.” So in the story, you are listing all the features and benefits of the product and including testimonials from customers.

You see how powerful this can be?

The ad must finish up by leading the reader into a pitch for the product and a call to action. A link to the site, phone number, coupon, etc. Or you can have the advertorial wrapped around what appears to be a separate ad (as shown in example).

Can you think of any good advertorials you have seen lately?

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