Netflix, which is soon to launch in New Zealand and caused a bit of a kerfuffle when it said it wouldn't charge GST, has been leading the way when it comes to native ad content, with some classy, expensive and bespoke executions. And its latest effort via The Atlantic aims to promote the third season of its original series House of Cards by focusing on the real partnerships and power dynamics between US presidents and their spouses.
Created by The Atlantic's 15-strong in-house marketing shop Re:think, The Ascent is beautifully designed and full of interesting material. Like The New York Times piece on women prisoners to promote Orange is the New Black and the piece of Wired about the Future of TV, Netflix is basking in the glow of an association with the subject matter of the show—and it's the kind of non clickbaity, integrity-maintaining content that even the sceptics would have to admit is of value to the reader, the brand and the publisher.
While this is a quality effort, The Atlantic got off to a bad start. A few years ago it became a poster child for bad native advertising when it ran a series on Scientology. It didn't make the ad, but the backlash led to some major changes in its policies.
According to Ad Age, native advertising "fuelled a 31 percent increase in ad sales last year" and Re:think "worked on about 100 custom campaigns in 2014 for brands like Chevron, All State, Lincoln and Rolex".