By Joe Pulizzi published February 22, 2014

New “Oldest” Content Marketing Example Unearthed

pnr-this old marketing logoPNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this week’s episode, Robert and I talk about GE’s new sponsored content play on The Tonight Show and discuss the latest native advertising moves from the Guardian and Yahoo before a new discovery has us revoking John Deere’s title as the world’s first creator of content marketing in this week’s #ThisOldMarketing example.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on February 18, 2014; Length: 50:47)

Download this week’s PNR This Old Marketing podcast.

If you enjoy our PNR podcasts, we would love if you would rate it, or post a review, on iTunes 

Show overview

1. Content Marketing in the News

  • Cleveland Tourism Leaves Its Rock and Roll Roots Behind: (1:30) Robert and I banter a bit about Cleveland, Ohio’s new tourism strategy, which will distance itself from the “Cleveland Rocks” tag line, and share some of our ideas on how cities can dominate by focusing on a content initiative — like Warsaw, Ind., has done (contributing article:
  • General Electric Buys Sponsored Segment on The Tonight Show (4:20): GE announced a creative, three-part branded content series, “Tonight Show Fallonventions.” The segments will feature exclusive digital content assets, and will run throughout the year on the late-night show with Jimmy Fallon now at the helm (contributing article: FierceCMO).
  • UK’s Guardian Makes a Novel Native Advertising Move (10:20) Yes, another publisher launches a native advertising program… but this one has a twist: The Guardian will use its current journalist pool to work on paid sponsored content assignments (contributing article: AdWeek).
  • Yahoo! to Use Tumblr as a Sponsored Content Platform (16:30) Yahoo found a purpose for its billion dollar purchase of Tumblr: to function as a repository for branded content (contributing article: AdAge).
  • Native Advertising Faces a $3 Billion Question (21:00) Robert and I give kudos for Forrester’s (and Ryan Skinner’s) stance on the buzz around native advertising (contributing article: Forrester).
  • BuzzFeed Releases its Newsroom Style Guide (28:35) Is this a great new idea by BuzzFeed, or the continued dumbification of the planet, on the whole? You make the call (contributing article: Mediabistro).

2. Rants & Raves (32:10)

  • Robert’s Rave: Robert raves about Vans’ documentary series, called #livingoffthewall.  It’s worth a look for all content marketers.


  • Joe’s Rant: I rant about Groupon’s decision to honor “President” Alexander Hamilton as a President’s Day spoof.

3. Listener Question (40:30)

  • This week’s question comes via Twitter from Jennifer Tribe (Thanks Jennifer!):

@JoePulizzi Thoughts on net neutrality & implications for Content Marketing? Perplexed as to why this isn’t being discussed more. #thisoldmarketing

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (45:00)

  • Big news: This week’s #ThisOldMarketing example rocked my world — and my content marketing timetable. Sending a big shout-out to Erik St. Pierre for letting CMI know about a content marketing example that was launched in 1867 — pre-dating our previously cited “first content marketing” example, from John Deere, by nearly 30 years.


In November 1867, Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company debuted The Locomotive. The publication provides technical information to help equipment owners and operators manage risk and solve operation problems, and is said to be the country’s oldest company magazine continuously published under the same name. Though The Locomotive was originally distributed in print, it is now maintained online.

HSB President Jeremiah M. Allen included this statement of purpose in the introductory issue:

The object of this paper is to bring before the public from time to time information of a scientific and practical nature that will be both entertaining and useful, and although we shall aim in each number to furnish our readers with at least one good article in some one of the branches of natural science, our chief object will be to discuss practical questions and more particularly, steam power and its applications. We propose to keep a careful record of all Steam Boiler Explosions, together with such facts and circumstances attending each, as we are able to obtain, and the various theories of Steam Boiler Explosions, with all the obtainable information bearing upon the subject, will be placed in our columns. The range of scientific information is so wide, and the field over which it extends, so large, that there can always be found something to interest and instruct. Many valuable suggestions by practical men are entirely lost to the public from the want of some medium by which to communicate them. We hope to make this a paper that will recommend itself to every intelligent person under whose notice it may come, and if we succeed in furnishing light to any, our labors will be amply repaid.

The Locomotive is still in existence today and can be found here.

For a full list of the PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

How do I subscribe?




Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • Doug Kessler

    ‘Nother great show, dudes.

    I’ve always felt that the Lascaux cave paintings were actually the first content marketing. Very few people know that the paintings, produced 17,300 years ago with mineral pigments, were sponsored by a local meat processing tribe. They didn’t overtly say, “Eat more Megaloceros”, of course. But they helped their target audience (also the first paleolithic personas) understand all the ways you could cook with this tasty and nutritious genus of deer (now extinct).

    I totally agree with your skepticism about ‘native advertising’.
    This blurring between editorial and paid content is worrisome.
    As a reader, I hate it.
    As a marketer, I’m suspicious of anything that I hate as a reader.

    Did not know Warsaw, Indiana was the orthopedic supplies capital of the world. Gotta give them a hand. Or a… prosthesis.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Road trip to Warsaw?

      • Doug Kessler

        You’re on.

  • Rick Noel, eBiz ROI, Inc.

    Great podcast Joe, Robert. Just discovered the series this weekend so this was the first episode that I have listened to. I will definitely be downloading and listen to all the other episodes.

    Native advertising intentionally blurs the line between advertising content and purely editorial content. This is why I predict that more native advertising will likely trigger additional FTC regulation making it clear to the consumers what is advertising versus what is editorial content.

    The Guardian model may blur the line by design though not sure if successful editorial writers possess all the same skills necessary to create compelling advertising content, native or otherwise.

    Great example from Erik to demonstrate that content marketing is time tested and true. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, becomes the next new oldest content marketing example.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks for becoming a new listener Rick. So true on the native argument. It’s all over the place right now…will be interesting to see what happens.

  • Jeremy Swinfen Green

    At around the same time in 1887, Pears Soap in the UK had bought the copyright to Sir John Millais’s famous painting “Bubbles” and (without the permission of the artist who was understandably irritated) inserted a bar of soap into the image, which it then used as an advertisement. Perhaps the first example of image-based content marketing? (And possibly slightly earlier than The Locomotive which seems to have come out in November of that year). Interestingly a couple of years later William Lever did the same for Sunlight Soap with a picture by Sir William Frith called “The New Frock”.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Jeremy…will definitely check out this example. Thanks for passing on. Just a note though, the locomotive was 1867. Keep sending these on!

  • Douglas Burdett

    Hey, thanks for the mention on the show! Glad that Forrester article I sent was helpful. I really enjoy your podcasts and look forward to a new one each week.

    Separately, in discussing Alexander Hamilton (the newest US president according to Groupon – who knew?) you mentioned that he shot a vice president. While he did shoot “at” Vice President Aaron Burr in a duel, he missed. Sadly, Burr did not miss Hamilton, who died the next day.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Douglas…Groupon needs to hire you as a fact checker 😉

      Thanks again for listening and the contribution.