WSJ GOES NATIVE: The Wall Street Journal is making its first big push into native advertising today through a three-month advertising partnership with Brocade, a technology data firm. The new content division, WSJ. Custom Studios, includes a native advertising arm the newspaper calls “Narratives,” which combines native storytelling with video, data, surveys and infographic content produced by Studios. Brocade’s three-month partnership with WSJ. Custom Studios includes a native advertising blast of 12 articles on “game-changing technology and data” focused on the tech company.

This story first appeared in the March 11, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In recent months, much has been made about the blurring of the lines between sponsored and editorial content, but according to the Journal, clearly marked digital content will be woven into written content for its Narratives campaigns. More specifically, the company said such ads would “live organically on the homepage within the editorial landscape.”

The native ads are meant to “complement, not interrupt, the reader experience,” and will be clearly “delineated” from news and editorial stories, the company said.

Raju Narisetti, senior vice president of strategy for News Corp., said clients come to the Journal not to “get into the news business,” but to “get into the storytelling business.”

“Brands trying to create their own content will struggle to do so, and will quickly find out that creating engaging content inexpensively is going to be difficult. That is where our expertise comes in,” Fellows said. “I think there is a role for big brands to work with the advertising departments of big publishers to figure this out, rather than to think that brands creating content is a way of circumventing big media platforms.”

That point is debatable, as many brands — at least in the fashion industry — have internal editorial departments stocked with seasoned editors.

Either way, the push into native and branded content isn’t new for WSJ parent News Corp. Many of its other properties, including the New York Post, have similar offerings.

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