Medium is partnering up with auto-maker BMW to bring a collection of 100 sponsored posts to Re:form, a design-focused blog nested under the renowned blogging platform. As Medium’s first attempt at generating revenue since its creation in 2012 by Twitter’s former CEO Evan Williams, this sponsorship also offers a new spin on native advertising. Instead of populating the elegantly designed site with BMW advertorials, for now** the partnership simply manifests as two bold and strategically placed “Presented by BMW” logos on each page, with absolutely no other advertising in sight. And rather than measuring impressions and pageviews, Medium will guarantee BMW a total reading time metric measured in minutes.
Such a novel, minimalist approach allows BMW to attach its brand of excellent German engineering to the great reading experience of the flawlessly designed site in the least intrusive way possible, as it utilizing Medium’s celebrated reputation of smart design and high-caliber contributors to elevate BWM’s brand in the design industry. Any brand could slap their logo on a given website and call it a sponsorship, but only when the feel of the sponsored content is aligned with the brand image would such method work effectively and effortlessly.
Native advertising is currently on the rise, but as customers become more familiarized with and therefore, desensitized to branded content, its magic will inevitably start diminishing. Trying out new approaches like this is certainly one way to prevent such diminishing effect from occurring too soon, especially in a market as innovative and capricious as digital advertising.
** Some branded posts on BMW is reportedly in the works according to AdAge, It’d be interesting to see how they perform compared to other posts in the sponsored collection.