Six examples of great native advertising


By Leanne Brinkies – Head of Native Advertising, King Content

Now that people are starting to understand what native advertising is, it’s time to share some great examples.

I’ve scoured the internet and asked many native publishers for their opinions. Today we’ll focus on examples from the travel, business and entertainment industries. We’ll also only focus on custom content that is embedded in a relevant environment – in-feed and recommendation widgets can wait for another post.

Interestingly, the responses provided many examples I didn’t think were native… so we’ve still got a way to go with this.

Before we get into the ones I think are great examples, it’s worth stopping for a minute to consider the key attributes that go into making native advertising a success, and therefore making this list.

Firstly, the content needs to be relevant. Is the content relevant to the target audience – their mindset, needs and demands? Is the content relevant to the environment it is being placed in? And is it relevant to the brand – should the brand be telling this story?

Next, your content should demonstrate your brand as an authority on the topic and be authentic. It’s important to share your expertise with your desired audience, providing the insights they need to make smart decisions. Connecting through authenticity can also enable your brand to become a trusted advisor.

Does it share a story? The best content marketing is when a brand becomes a storyteller. It’s important to focus on providing content that informs or assists your intended audience.

Is it transparent? Is the audience aware that the content is brought to them by a brand? It is important to be upfront and show it’s a paid placement.

And lastly, has the brand used the right native partner? Does the content reach the right audience and does it feature in highly relevant, credible and well-respected environments? Do the content, website and audience intersect? The right partner can boost credibility by 33 per cent, so this is a key consideration.

Let’s jump in!


Fast Company and Virgin Atlantic launched a video series called Brilliant Minds in April 2014. The series gave an up-close-and-personal account of some of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business 1000. Aimed at the business-traveller market, this series provides content that ticks all the key attributes mentioned earlier. Filmed in the Virgin Atlantic Business Lounges, they tell the story of six brilliant minds through two-minute videos. It’s relevant content, directed at the right audience through a respected website. The branding is subtle and, while clear to the audience that Virgin Atlantic is bringing them this content, it doesn’t get in the way.

GONE (BY MARRIOTT & MEDIUM.COM) is a site that connects readers and writers by inviting people to tell their story. The Marriott hotel group has tapped into this with Gone, a place where people can tell their story about different destinations around the world. The byline for each article is from the writer, with Marriott promoting different hotels within the group depending on the location of the story. This is nicely done, providing an engaging platform with relevant travel-related content to a curious audience.


Providing a different approach in the travel space, Cathay Pacific used The New York Times to focus on the reasons why business travel and in-person meetings are more effective at converting business opportunities. Cathay Pacific is obviously looking to grow their share of the business-traveller market, however this is an informative, relevant piece of content that reaches the right audience. It provides interactive elements, market comparisons, statistics and an interesting history on flight over time.


In May 2014, Wired launched a deeply immersive native ad for Netflix that included text, charts, a reader poll, live stats, an integrated Twitter feed, an interactive timeline, audio and video. TV Got Better is a feature on the way technology, like streaming video, is fuelling TV’s current growth. Utilising talent from Arrested Development (a show featured on Netflix), the video gives an interesting viewpoint on why TV is changing and how audiences seek out TV experiences. This is compelling reading. Wired used promotional drivers from across their network and social media to promote the post. Love it!


This is one of my personal favourites. As a huge fan of the Orange is the New Black TV series, I was captivated by this execution that brings to life the US prison system for women. Featured in The New York Times, this piece of content includes videos with inmates, infographics and an in-depth article on why the current prison system needs to be reformed to meet the needs of women. Featuring the author of the book that inspired the series, it brings to life the reality of prison life for women. It features real stories that are authentic and content that is topical. Placed within a news environment, it is also credible.


As the only Australian example showcased in this post, Powering People is a great native execution created by The Guardian for GE. It is an immersive and informative four-part series that gives a detailed exploration into how technology is transforming Australian communities. There are interesting stories with videos, images and statistics beautifully shot and put together, and they really resonate with The Guardian’s audience. I learnt something new not only about what is happening in different parts of our country, but also about GE, which changed my perspective on their brand.

What struck me as I went through the multitude of native executions is the lack of Australian examples that surfaced. So let’s change that! It’s my mission to do amazing work in this space. Let’s lift the bar. Let’s think differently about how to use the native environment and how to bring to life stories that are authentic and provide utility and value to audiences.

I’d love to hear from you on what you think are great examples of native. Let’s add to this list and provide inspiration for each other.
Have any questions? Ask our strategists here.