By Joe Pulizzi published August 9, 2014

This Week in Content Marketing: John Oliver Vs. Native Advertising

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

In this episode, Robert and I discuss TopRank’s new series of content marketing best practice eBooks, take issue with one author’s claim that content marketing can’t work in associations, and share our observations on the success of Adidas’ awesome World Cup content marketing campaign. We also talk about Instagram’s fast-growing engagement numbers, how “dark social” may be affecting your ability to accurately measure content impact, and chuckle about John Oliver’s funny take-down of native advertising. This week’s #ThisOldMarketing example: The AOPA, an association which, coincidentally, is doing an outstanding job of content marketing. 

This week’s show

(Recorded live on August 4, 2014; Length: 1:04:56)

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1. Introduction

  • CMI Partners with the TopRank Blog (3:59): CMI has partnered with Lee Odden and his team at the TopRank Online Marketing Blog to produce a series of four eBooks, which will be rolled out in the weeks leading up to Content Marketing World 2014. The first, Building a Content Marketing Strategy, includes advice from some of the top thinkers in this space. In keeping with the “Beyond Storytelling” theme of this year’s CMW, the eBooks are built around one of the most imaginative stories of all time: Alice in Wonderland. Watch for a new eBook each Monday for the next three weeks.

colorful ebook covers-content marketing

2. Content Marketing in the News

  • Why Associations Are Failing at Content Marketing (5:09): In her post on the SocialFish blog, Maggie McGary claims it’s not so easy for associations to adopt content marketing — contrary to what I said in a recent presentation to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). She cites silos, technology, and staff skills as the three reasons it just doesn’t work. Robert and I talk about the key element that’s missing at most associations that makes it hard to implement content marketing and what needs to change for them to be successful.
  • Adidas’ Watershed Moment for Content Marketing (13:28): An article published on the U.K.’s Marketing Magazine website takes a deeper look at how Adidas built engagement using real-time content marketing during the World Cup soccer tournament. Robert praises the shoemaker’s “content first” approach, while I discuss other events where this type of strategy could work really well.
  • Instagram Closes in on Facebook’s Marketing Territory (23:44): This article from Adweek cites a study by social media agency Sharablee that shows the number of brand posts year-over-year is growing twice as fast on Instagram as it is on Facebook. It’s also achieving three times the engagement per post compared to Facebook. Adding to the Facebook discussion, Robert and I also explore the invasive terms of service of Facebook’s Messenger service, which the social network is pushing consumers to adopt.
  • Content Marketing Goes Deep on “Dark Social” (31:48): Social distribution via “share” buttons doesn’t paint a complete picture of how consumers interact with content, according to this article from CMO Australia. People who copy and paste links via email, instant messaging, or through other “narrowcasting” channels aren’t counted as shares. In some cases, the audience for this “dark social” content can be many times the size of the trackable audience. Robert and I recommend two tactics you can use to get a more accurate picture of audience interaction with your content.
  • John Oliver on Native Advertising (36:51): Comedian John Oliver rants about native advertising in his latest Last Week Tonight piece on HBO, calling it (among other things) “recycled bovine waste” and bemoaning the blurred line between editorial and advertising, especially online. I explain why native advertising has become a controversial issue lately, and outline the steps publishers and advertisers need to take to avoid a backlash against it. Robert’s take? Advertiser and sponsor influence over news and publishing has been going on for a very long time. What’s changing is the business model, not the influence itself.

3. Sponsor (46:27)

  • This Old Marketing is sponsored by Emma — email marketing for the modern brand, featuring mobile-responsive templates, social integration tools, and concierge services. Emma is promoting a new webinar entitled The 5th P of Marketing: People, Email and the Shifting Power Paradigm, which shares best practices and proven strategies for creating small but meaningful conversions at every point in your multi-channel marketing strategy. You can view it at

emma-screenshot-video clip

4. Rants and Raves (48:25)

  • Robert’s Rant: Designer Stefan Sagmeister, in this video on, shares his distaste for the term “storyteller,” which he claims has been co-opted to the point where it has become a meaningless buzzword.Yet, he claims that, because he is a designer, he has the right to call himself one. Robert explains the issue he has with Stefan’s flawed thinking about this term.
  • Joe’s Rave: Last week, I had an opportunity to tour the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn. I was amazed at the hundreds of products this company produces from a single process: the one used to produce Black Label — all of its other liquors are derivatives of it. As content marketers, we can learn a lesson from this historic company and how it has organically created extensions of its core product: Think story first and then decide which media should be used to distribute it.

5. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (59:14)

  • Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association: This week’s This Old Marketing example is the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), whose members are commercial and private pilots. From the start, AOPA has fought to protect the freedom to fly while keeping general aviation safe, fun, and affordable. It now has over 600,000 members. This progressive association has published AOPA Pilot magazine, a member-only resource, since 1958. In the early 2000s, AOPA formed the Air Safety Institute, which is dedicated to promoting pilot and passenger safety. Its section of the AOPA website includes a magazine, videos, online learning, a blog, best practice reports, and more. It’s an excellent example of an association taking a long-term, consistent approach to content marketing.

seaplane image-aopa pilot

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

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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

  • Dave Thackeray

    Confounded how, two days on, I’m the first person commenting on this show.

    Joe, Robert, of course you would expect nothing less from the masters of content that you put out something pretty remarkable in this guise.

    But you’ve gone one step further in my mind. Every episode is context, content and curation rolled into one. And it sells, baby!

    Really appreciate all the thought, time and effort that’s gone into this production.

    As a semi-retired podcaster myself, with a yo-yo relationship with my Heil PR40 mic, I would dearly love to understand the process you follow for each show. Specifically, the written content.

    Do you put all this stuff together before the show, as a loose script, then riff on it – or do you record the show with the scantiest of notes and then have another member of the team pull out the pertinents from the recording and add some finishing polish?

    How long does each show take, soup to nuts, from brainthinking to what we see here on this page?

    It’s a study in podcasting excellence – thank you so much for taking us as a community leaps and bounds forward.

    • Robert Rose

      Dave… Well *blush* thanks for all. of. that.

      Basically, yes, you nailed the process…. Both Joe and I collect links in a joint Evernote folder during the week… I then (usually on Saturday or Sunday) go through them and assemble the Show Flow for our recording on Monday night…. We usually finalize in real time before we record…

      Then – the show flow (which has all the links) goes to one of our awesome team members who then writes up the show notes and provides all the links… Joe puts the two audio feeds (we record separate audio tracks for quality) together – and produces the final piece…

      thanks again for such an awesome compliment…. and thanks for listening…

  • bobledrew

    Just how sensitive does someone have to be to have a month-old blog post expressing a differing opinion spur a seven minute discussion of why that blogger is wrong?

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi…are you talking about the first article? We were having a bit of fun, and hopefully adding some value about associations and content marketing. Hopefully no offense taken.

  • Isabella Lo

    I join force with Dave Thackeray. Thanks for the great work that you both put in. Always informative, insightful and inspiring.

    As inspired by Robert’s (joking) comment regarding Maggie McGary should have interview Joe first, I am here to request an interview with our god father of content marketing.

    One of my focus points in life is to enhance CEOs online presence. Content is a major vehicle for them to show their values, believes and aspirations as they build their relationships with stakeholders. As CEO for CMI, Joe you have done a great job in building content that’s valuable for us as an audience. But what about your own brand? What kind of strategy have you applied to tap into this asset, just like Steve Jobs to Apple or Richard Branson to Virgin?

    I can send you a list of questions if you need that beforehand. We can have the interview via mail or by Skype.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Best regards, Isabella

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Isabella…thanks for the comment. Please send an email to Pam [at] contentinstitute [dot] com and she can get the interview in motion. Cheers!

      • Isabella Lo

        Thanks, Joe. I wrote to Pam already and Looking forward to interviewing you. Take care.