I saw an interesting online ad on the New York Times over the holiday break. While the buzz today is about how the Times is now running display ads on the front page of the paper, IBM has run advertising on the Times’ site promoting Web content from the Times itself. I had to look at the ad a couple of times before I realized it was a paid placement. What it did was to link to four Thomas Friedman articles that spoke about IBM’s technical solutions, such as how Stockholm uses IBM to reduce inner city traffic.
What a great idea! Use content, from the pub itself, as advertising for the company described in the articles. We’ve all seen that technique used as third party PR, but this was the first time I’ve seen it done this way.
I ended up reading three stories about IBM’s technology from a source I frequent by advertising on that source. Too bad I’m not in the market for the technology, because that was the best online advertising I’ve seen in a long time.
IBM built its ads on trusted and valuable content placed in a setting that would maximize that trust. I hope we see more of that.