There’s a very interesting, multimedia longread on The Atlantic about the dynamic between U.S. presidents and their wives. It’s got charts, video, fascinating anecdotes… and a Netflix logo. “The Ascent: Political Destiny and the Makings of a First Couple” is a stylish piece of native advertising, created by The Atlantic‘s in-house agency Re:think to help promote the third season of House of Cards.
Last summer, Netflix impressed many (and horrified some purists) by teaming with The New York Times on a similarly newsy, in-depth multimedia feature on women in prison, as a piece of native advertising for Orange is the New Black. On the other side of the quality spectrum, a year before that, The Atlantic embroiled itself in controversy over a fawning, barely labeled native ad for Scientology. Both sparked much discussion about the role and responsibilities surrounding native ads, which John Oliver called like mixing licorice and guacamole.
This time around, the advertiser is a bit more palatable, and the piece is pretty clearly marked as a sponsored effort on behalf of Netflix. From a design and presentation perspective, it’s top shelf digital publishing–the kind the reported six-figure price tag can buy. For now, this kind of ad is the holy grail for marketers–a premium, edit-worthy, and editorially presented ad on a non-divisive topic. It will be fascinating to see what’s next from the teams putting creative and financial firepower behind PR-worthy native ads.