Book Masterclass

The branded e-book: A new form of native advertising?

Native litterature?

Native litterature.

The Vanishing Game is the title of a short fiction written by British author William Boyd. It is available on Amazon's Kindle and Apple too and it's free. You may be wondering, why would William Boyd and his publisher give away brand new writing free of charge? Because said publisher is Land Rover, and they are looking for publicity.

As The Drum mentioned this week, Amazon is experimenting with ad opportunities on E-book reader Kindle. At the Financial Time's Digital Media event, which took place on the 28th and 29th of April, Amazon's Seth Dallaire explained the partnership between Kindle and Land Rover. The auto brand commissioned The Vanishing Game, which was then written by William Boyd and Amazon distributed the free e-book on Kindle. The branded e-book was published this past November.

According to Seth Dellaire, speaking at the Financial Time's Digital Media event, The Vanishing Game saw "very high engagement". It's 17.000 words and tells the story of "A down-on-his luck actor (edit: who) is paired with a weather-battered Land Rover Defender on a seemingly innocuous courier job. But some things are too good to be true and this innocent journey quickly unfolds into a dangerous plot with a shadowy cast of characters", explains the branded e-books very own Amazon page.

The vanishing
Branded e-book tells the story of down-and-out actor. And his car!

As different types of native advertising continue to emerge, there is one discipline we should probably get used to, which is answering the question: Is this content to be classified as native advertising or does it just kinda sorta look like native advertising?

To help us answer that question, let's take a look at the opening line from our very own definition of native advertising:

Native advertising is paid advertising where the ad matches the form, feel and function of the content of the media on which it appears.

The Vanishing Game certainly matches the form, feel and function of the content usually associated with Kindle. It reads like a regular book, it looks like a regular e-book. The fact that the author most likely wouldn't have written the book had it not been for the sponsorship, doesn't change the fact that The Vanishing Game is fundamentally similar to the standard content on Kindle.

Heck, The Vanishing Game even sports distinctive labelling, something that we consider a cornerstone in quality native advertising.

Is this native advertising? We think so.

Anders Vinderslev is a trained journalist and former editor and key contributor to the NAI blog. He has, according to himself, produced some of the most thought-provoking and impactful reporting on the state of native advertising. Today he works as a content creator and editor at Brand Movers, but from time to time he will deliver spicy takes on native advertising and sponsored content here at the NAI blog.

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