The Today Show’s Ad Content Play

The Today Show is the latest property to get into the business of creating advertising content for its sponsors.

When landing on the section pages, these pieces of advertising content are blended in with the editorial content. An Estee Lauder piece of advertising content is five tips to keep your skin looking young. Toyota’s advertising content is five tips to making car time fun time for kids.

The site is one of many moving in the direction of converting its ad space, usually jettisoned to the periphery of the page, into the main flow of content. The challenge then is to create advertising content that fits alongside editorial. Today’s creative services team is taking a lead role, in much the same ways as sales teams operate at Gawker, Buzzfeed and Forbes.

Today’s in-house creative services team worked closely with the brands, as well as their agencies, but ultimately created the content themselves. The content is clearly labeled as “advertiser content,” including a scroll over that states: “This is a paid advertisement. The content is created by the advertiser and the NBC News sales department, not the NBC News editorial team.” Since this is still a new offering, there aren’t many on the creative services team yet.

Though there is an option for a brand to provide content, as long as it fits into the Today Show’s guidelines. Jen Brown,’s executive editor, said the show is still testing this new service.

“We want to make sure that it’s working on, but it’s definitely a possibility to run on other NBC News digital properties,” she said.

Part of the decision into creating content for brands is based on’s view that mobile is going to play a significant role in the very near future. Brown said that it’s “clear that banner isn’t effective” in mobile.

“It’s finding solutions that work in that space,” she said. “Once advertisers see the value of this kind of content marketing, the dollars will follow.”

Image via Shutterstock

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