Digital media has opened up exciting new worlds for the advertising industry. It has given advertisers the ability to reach audiences in new places, on new devices, in more engaging ways, and in more targeted fashion than ever before. No doubt about it: these are all good things.

But the advent of digital media has also given the industry a whole new set of concerns about trust. This is a topic I’ve been talking about a lot lately, and for good reason. The advertising industry simply isn’t viable without trust. To begin with, consumers must be able to trust the content of advertisements they read, see, and hear. This is the “trust” issue that advertising lawyers like myself have traditionally … Continue Reading

When it comes to trust and digital media, it’s an understatement to suggest that it cuts both ways. It’s more accurate to state that it slices and dices as many ways as a kitchen appliance from an infomercial.

On one hand, it appears to be easier than ever to assess trustworthiness across the digital landscape. We can vet product recommendations from Amazon, pull factoids from Wikipedia, and even gage credibility based on search engine rankings.

But on the other hand, what we see on digital media already reflects some prior manipulation or steering of products, or information. Or we may be seeing products and services that can’t even be sold. For example last year, Google banned 14,000 advertisers for hawking … Continue Reading

Once again, Advertising Week has come and gone. And once again, I was thrilled to be part a special event for our industry. It’s not often that you can get famous statistician Nate Silver, Olympian Lolo Jones, and musician Bootsy Collins under a single tent, but they were all there at Ad Week along with the biggest executive names adding to a vigorous exchange of ideas about the future of advertising.

I had the pleasure of kicking off the “Trust Forum” presented by OpenX.  As the program materials noted, “Advertising and trust have always had a challenging and somewhat tortured relationship.” It’s a statement that feels more true now than ever before as advertising is becoming more deeply … Continue Reading

A phenomenon that has been present as a form of advertising for many years is now blossoming in digital media and the subject of much discussion in the industry:  native advertising.  Native advertising is content that promotes a brand or product in the native format of the website, publication, or platform in which it is presented.  Native advertising looks different for each medium – for instance, a Sponsored Story on Facebook, Featured Partner content on BuzzFeed, a branded or promoted playlist on Spotify, or a traditional advertorial page in a magazine are all types of native advertising.

As more advertising dollars flow away from traditional display advertising into native advertising, the seamless integration of brand messaging into entertainment, news, and … Continue Reading

Increased mobility and access to information with digital media and mobile gives consumers real power to shape the marketplace.  Yet consumers can be fickle and easily distracted, to say the least.

With so many options and constant change, the question for advertisers is:  how do we determine what reasonable consumer behavior and perceptions are when the norm is rapid change?  Let’s look at some examples of what it means to be “reasonable.”

In a recent class action lawsuit, consumers claimed they were deceived into believing Fruit Roll-Ups and Fruit by the Foot snacks are made with real fruit.  Using the word “fruit” in the name, along with images of fruit on the packaging, could be enough for a “reasonable” consumer … Continue Reading