native advertising at its worst

Most Obvious Sponsored Content

31st march 2016 - 1st april 2017

With the catastrophic decline in both print and online advertising revenues, many news organisations have dropped the separation of commercial and editorial, and are actively pursuing 'sponsored content' - i.e. 'native' advertising which disguises itself as journalism.  The London morning paper, City AM, recently announced its online version would take offers of sponsored content. On other news sites you can buy a headline editorial for the right price. 

Often the 'sponsored by' caveat is hard to spot. Sometimes it's not even there. Either way, it's a short term fraud perpetuated on readers, with adverts trying to pose as journalism or impartial commentary. Let us know of the best examples you can find. 


Finalists 2107

And the first category in the Bad Press Awards is MOST OBVIOUS SPONSORED CONTENT. These awards should have been sponsored by HSBC and the Daily Telegraph for their leading efforts to bamboozle the public.  The JUDGES have been inundated with possible nominations these year for hidden advertorials or ‘native advertising that seeks at a) Deceive with a Lack of identification and labelling b) Avoids all the advertising codesc) excels in inauthenticity by twisting editorial independence and trust to serve brand promotion and finally, d) e) f)  undermines the integrity of channels of communication


Handsworth Grammar School continues to go from strength to strength: Birmingham Mail 17 Feb 2017

Handsworth Grammar School continues to go from strength to strength. A recent excellent Ofsted inspection came on the back of excellent A-level results, which were the school’s best ever, and superb GCSE results, as well as high Progress 8 and value-added measures. The inspection is probably best summed up by the following comments the school received from the inspectors themselves: “What a lovely school;” “I would love to work here... it is a calm and purposeful environment;” “What fabulous and committed staff you have;” “The students are delightful, great ambassadors for the school – they are smart, polite and very proud of their school.” The school has been upgrading its facilities, with significant investment in the design technology block, a refurbished pavilion and a third Astro Turf pitch at the playing fields this year alone


Paris is always a Good Idea: The Guardian 24 September 2016

JUDGE’S COMMENTARY:The premise is a ‘diary’ report on a city break to Paris written by Gemma Briggs who visited with partner Alex and child, Nell. Gemma’s account consists of 23 sentences of which 10 refer directly to the AirBnB apartment.  The couple stay in the apartment of a film director who leaves them champagne. Two-year old Nell is ‘goggled-eyed’ at the owner’s colourful artefacts, and doesn’t break any. In her own ‘diary’ Nell describes the Pompidou centre as ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’ and mentions her ‘comfy’ apartment bed; impressive since the average vocabulary of a two-year old is 240 words. 


THE WINNER: Most people wait FOUR years to end a bad relationship - here's why, Mirror
15 Jan 2016

Would you consider staying in a relationship even though you know deep down it's bad for you?  Well, you're not the only one. In Britain, two million people are in a relationship with somebody who is not right for them. But what's the best time to take the plunge and get back on the market? psychologist Dr. Linda Papadopoulos comments: “The start of a New Year is a great time to take stock of everything in your life and work out what you want from the year ahead, be it a career change, new fitness plan or relationship reassessment. Jemima Wade, expert for, comments: “They say that breaking up is hard to do, but it’s vital that. "That’s why eHarmony partners people on the things that matter – like your values, beliefs and character – finding better matches that really last.”.