Latest News: Posts Tagged ‘blackops’

MARA EINSTEIN appears on Rising Up With Sonali, discussing BLACK OPS ADVERTISING, “fake news,” and Facebook’s role in the outcome of the election

Monday, September 25th, 2017

Listen here.

Clickbait headlines and BLACK OPS ADVERTISING at Huffington Post

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Read it here.

“Products don’t solve problems.” MARA EINSTEIN in New York Magazine on Pepsi’s advertising fiasco

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Her take, and more from others in the industry, at New York.

“In the digital space, advertisers are able to hide. You don’t know you are reading something with a sponsor behind it.” MARA EINSTEIN in the Washington Post

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Native advertising. Because consumers have become more adept at skipping or blocking advertising, marketers have become more creative and covert, said Mara Einstein, a professor at Queens College at CUNY and author of “Black Ops Advertising.”

Native advertising refers to any paid product pitch that’s designed to resemble a publication’s editorial content. Because it looks like content that readers trust, they are more apt to let down their guard, Einstein said in an interview.

“In the digital space, advertisers are able to hide,” she added. “You don’t know you are reading something with a sponsor behind it.”

Einstein recommends limiting notifications from legitimate news sources, especially on your smartphone, which, in turn, will reduce the time you spend online and reduce your exposure to ads pretending to be news. She also suggests using browser plug-ins like Ghostery and Disconnect to block websites from tracking you.

Read the full article at the Washington Post.

“Stealth Marketing is Everywhere” BLACK OPS ADVERTISING in The Guardian

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

“Google’s founders once wrote that any search engine that sold ads would be compromised; now it’s the biggest advertising company on the planet. Your smartphone, media studies professor Mara Einstein says, is fundamentally an ad-delivery device. Advertising is everywhere. And yet, increasingly, we don’t want to see it. We install ad-blockers because webpages are increasingly slowed down by waiting for intrusive adverts to be loaded from some distant server, and because we don’t want to be tracked around the internet by shadowy companies that trade our personal data. But who does ad-blocking really hurt? Clue: not the advertisers.”

Get the full story here.

“How new is native advertising?”: MARA EINSTEIN on Majority Report

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

“How new is native advertising? How the press has devalued its credibility by lending it to advertisers, such as the infamous scientology ad in The Atlantic. Why the onus can’t just be on individuals as consumers. The daunting challenge of regaining press credibility.”

Read the full piece here.

“It turns out that even the savviest reader gets duped into reading advertising as news content”: BLACK OPS ADVERTISING in The New York Times Books Roundup

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

BLACK OPS ADVERTISING: Native Ads, Content Marketing, and the Covert World of the Digital Sell, by Mara Einstein. (OR Books, paper, $18.) It turns out that even the savviest reader often gets duped into reading advertising as news content. This book offers a prediction of a world where “everything . . . is some form of sales pitch.”

Read the full article here.

“We are being sold stuff all the time”: BLACK OPS ADVERTISING in The Drift

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

The basic premise of “Black Ops” is that content marketing – as practiced online – represents a fairly evil and cynical blurring of the line between content and advertising – the old “Church and State” argument dusted off for a new generation. According to Einstein, we are being sold stuff all the time…even when we think we’re just being entertained or informed.

Read the full article here.

“The editorial department will always rely, existentially, on advertising.”: BLACK OPS ADVERTISING in The Los Angeles Review of Books

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Church and state can exist completely apart, while in the world of a publication, the editorial department will always rely, existentially, on advertising. We’ve long ago bid adieu to the concept of paying for digital news, and so the lifeblood of any editorial staff will always be the team in the other room with slicker hair and wider smiles. But despite this, the church and state allegory has a deeper ring of truth. To what else can you compare those journalistic ideals of integrity, steadfastness, and a nearly ascetic avoidance of material influence, than to those of religion? Sterling principles — in life, in religion, and in advertising — are merely theoretical; they’re something to aim for, but are rarely attainable in full. To label native advertising as the leading corruptive force in the modern digital newsroom is to ignore the industry’s most pronounced trends. What’s the influence of a sponsored post compared with the fact that a non-sponsored post is often judged solely on how many clicks and shares it garners? How often does an outlet’s success lie in partisan pandering? What modern publication can truly claim to be of the people without succumbing to the lowest common denominator?

Read the full article here.

“A well researched and accomplished book”: Mara Einstein in The New York Times

Monday, November 28th, 2016

I don’t often watch late night television, which may be why I was caught unawares. Jimmy Fallon’s opening monologue began hilariously enough, when abruptly he pivoted to a series of inexplicably weak jokes centered on a forthcoming football game. It slowly dawned on me that I was watching a commercial for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” albeit one baked right into the opening monologue and delivered by Fallon himself.

The realization that something you thought to be “real” is actually an advertisement is an increasingly common, if unsettling, sensation. Mara Einstein calls it “content confusion,” and if her book, “Black Ops Advertising,” is right, we’re in for even more such trickery, indeed a possible future where nearly everything becomes hidden commercial propaganda of one form or another. She forecasts the potential of a “world where there is no real content: Everything we experience is some form of sales pitch.”

Einstein, a former advertising executive turned media professor (who, among other things, worked campaigns for Uncle Ben’s and Miller Lite), makes it clear that things were not always this way. Once upon a time the line between editorial and advertising, if not exactly a Chinese wall, was somewhat clearer. Einstein’s well-researched and accomplished book is mainly about the effort to tear down that wall. The sledgehammers and pick axes in this case are things like “sponsored content,” “native advertising” and “content marketing” designed to fool you into thinking they are real. Such stealth advertising may entertain or inform, yet it also brands, or more cleverly, facilitates a later branding exercise or sales pitch. The handoff can be smooth enough that you don’t notice you’ve been steered to exit through the gift shop.

Continue reading the main story
“Black Ops” presents some startling examples of stealth advertising. Remember that guy who in 2012 jumped out of a helium balloon at 128,000 feet for a new world record? Covered widely in the media, it was all, according to Einstein, a disguised Red Bull marketing campaign, but one where Red Bull’s role was so discreet as to be almost invisible. You may also recall the audacious “tagging” of Air Force One by a graffiti artist named Marc Ecko, which has been viewed nearly a million times on YouTube. It was a hoax intended for the branding of a clothing and accessories label. That “ad” fooled so many members of the public and press that it was awarded the top prize for digital media at the annual Cannes Lions advertising festival.

The book is slightly guilty of exaggerating the novelty of present-day advertising techniques. Content that doubles as brand advertising is not exactly new. In the 1980s, “The Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” were popular children’s cartoons but also advertisements, and so of course was the much beloved “Mickey Mouse Club” back in the 1960s. The idea of inventing media stories for commercial purpose also has a long pedigree, dating to at least the late 1920s, when Lucky Strike staged a protest (the “torches of liberty”) featuring attractive women demanding the right to smoke outdoors as a part of suffragist liberation (yielding, ultimately, an equal right to lung cancer). Subliminal advertising, perhaps the blackest of all black ops, was popular in the 1950s, until it was banned.

The difference, Einstein argues, lies in how much effort is going toward the dark arts. It is, she suggests, for one simple reason: that we, the public, are so good at avoiding or ignoring traditional advertising. We are fickle fish, cynical creatures who have already been hooked so many times that the simpler lures no longer work.

Read the full article here.

“These’s no incentive to create anything with any substance behind it.”: Mara Einstein on Rising Up With Sonali

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Read the full article here.

“The lines between editorial and advertorial content continue to blur”: MARA EINSTEIN on Bric TV

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Watch the full interview on Bric TV here.

“A fascinating and revelatory critique of the ways in which digital adverts increasingly masquerade as news items”: BLACK OPS ADVERTISING is reviewed on Counterfire

Friday, October 14th, 2016

“Those of us using social-media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will notice the increasing extent of advertising and how intrusive the adverts can be. Adverts are, of course, a lucrative income stream for social-media corporations given the extent of their global reach to consumers and the ease with which adverts can be produced.

“The development of digital advertising is the subject of Mara Einstein’s book Black Ops Advertising. Her focus is not, however, on traditional adverts where the content, brand and manufacturer details are obvious. Instead, the book is a fascinating and revelatory critique of the ways in which digital adverts increasingly masquerade as news items, quizzes, ‘guess-what-happened-next’ videos, or lifestyle advice.”

Read the full review on Counterfire here.

“It is time to wake up. There is no free lunch, free movie, news report, or factoid. We are paying and paying dearly.”: Extract from BLACK OPS ADVERTISING on TruthDig

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

“Click a button and we can read the New York Times or watch our favorite TV show or stream the latest movie. Submit a query to Google and a world of knowledge appears on the screen, albeit algorithmically delimited. Newspaper or magazine, TV or movie, fact, tidbit, or commentary, no matter how big or small, how significant or trivial: it’s all available at our fingertips, and it’s all absolutely free.

“This is the perception we have been lulled into believing. It is time to wake up. There is no free lunch, free movie, news report, or factoid. We are paying and paying dearly.

“We pay with our time and our attention—a scarce and valuable resource in the twenty-first century—and the coin of the realm in today’s “attention economy.”

Read the full excerpt on TruthDig here.

Rising Up with Sonali interviews Mara Einstein about BLACK OPS ADVERTISING

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

A discussion with Mara Einstein, author of Black Ops Advertising, about the new wave of hidden advertising.


“Now, in the new and unregulated world of the Internet, ads are increasingly becoming less visible and companies are blurring the lines between content and advertising so much so that corporations looking to sell products are simply creating their own content. If that content is compelling enough, we consume it, we share it, and we may buy products based on our exposure.”


The full interview can be found on Rising Up with Sonali here.

“It is becoming harder and harder to tell what is content and what is advertising” MARA EINSTEIN on ShadowProof

Monday, August 29th, 2016

“We seem to be well on our way to an advertising-augmented world, where our relationships are monetized and where news is not just entertainment but also full-blown corporate puffery.”

To hear more, visit ShadowProof.

“Scorching Summer Read” MARA EINSTEIN in Morning Star

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

“Mara Einstein’s Black Ops Advertising details the many ways in which corporate PR operations have sought to colonise social media.”

To hear more, visit Morning Star Online.

“Charting the rise and rise of ‘sponsored content'” MARA EINSTEIN on ZDNet

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

“In Black Ops Advertising, Mara Einstein… suggests a future in which
advertising increasingly subsumes all content. Everything will look
free, but hidden agendas, data collection and fakery will be everywhere.
This is the internet as con trick, where the natural human instinct to
share news and gossip is co-opted as low-cost marketing for brands and
others who do not fundamentally care about us except as sources of

To read more, visit ZDNet

“Don’t Burn the Books” MARA EINSTEIN in Philosophy Football

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

“Mara Einstein’s Black Ops Advertising details the many ways in which corporate PR operations have sought to colonise social media.”

To read more, visit Philosophy Football

On Smashpipe, MARA EINSTEIN explains the pernicious rise of black ops advertising

Monday, March 21st, 2016

The race between advertisers and publishers centers on creating content that grabs our attention while hiding its corporate sales pitch. It is “black ops advertising,” and it is the purposeful masking of corporate bias by either the advertiser or the publisher so that we can’t discern the underlying perspective — is it an ad? Is it an article? Can it be both? Was the article I read this morning paid for by Apple? Was that BuzzFeed quiz a promotion? Is that post on Facebook “organic,” or did a marketer pay for me to see it?

To read the rest of the excerpt, visit Smashpipe.

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