Lexical Analysis – a sponsored interview


The elevator doors open and I step into the opulent Royal Penthouse Suite at the Park Metropolis Downtown. Eleven lavish bedrooms, each with its own floor-to-ceiling Italian marble bath, a 100-seat cinema/lecture hall, a four-lane bowling alley (two standard American, one duckpin, one Belgian feather), twin helipads and its own private Caffè Bene. In other words: exactly what you’d expect for $95,000 a night.
Of course, no one’s actually staying here. This is just the space he’s rented for my fifteen-minutes-but-more-like-ten, no-holds-barred-except-several interview.
If I didn’t know better, I’d think billionaire tech wunderkind Lex Luthor was trying to intimidate me.

This sort of thing strikes me as the perfect form of advertising – quality content that gets you interested in what it’s advertising for, and also very clearly an ad.1 Not only is it obvious because, uh, Lex Luthor, duh it’s an ad, but also because the page’s title is “Sponsor Content” and the navigation bar, glued to the top of the page, also features the same text.
Plus, c’mon, who doesn’t want to read an interview with Lex Luthor? The man’s a wonderful villain.

  1. The biggest offenders in the ‘not making it clear it’s an ad’ game? BuzzFeed is a contender, but they’re laughably obvious about their sponsorships even before you get to the “this post sponsored by” footnote at the bottom of the page. No, it’s actually the print version of Wired – Shell’s been running a campaign for a few months that, to my mind, isn’t clear enough about the whole ‘sponsored’ thing. 

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