Ad or Editorial? L'Oréal's New Digital Campaign


L'Oreal on Demand Media

More L’Oréal, coming soon to an unlikely internet location near you.

L’Oréal is upping its digital marketing through a new partnership with Demand Media, which runs sites like eHow.com.  Despite its name and extensive article base, Demand Media isn’t a traditional media company — it’s more a series of content farms aimed to rank high in Google search results.  Their business model revolves around creating content based on popular internet searches, in order to get their clients lots of clicks (and the ensuing ad revenue).

Now, L’Oréal is devoting a healthy portion of their digital budget to Demand, and ads for relevant L’Oréal products will soon be popping up all over Demand Media’s beauty-related articles.  So what does this mean for you? Try Googling “How to dye brown hair blond” — alongside an eHow article on the topic, you’ll also see an advertisement for, say, L’Oréal’s Féria hair color system.

While the partnership makes sense as a way for L’Oréal to move into digital advertising (their focus has been on print and TV ads), we wonder at their choice to focus on a platform like eHow instead of more traditional, verified women’s sites like Style.com or Elle.com.  On the other hand, winning devoted ad dollars from a global beauty giant confers new status on Demand Media itself.

In the end, is this a new way for advertising to influence what kinds of content gets produced online?