HuffingtonPost has made a point of offering integrated branding opportunities to sponsors. The latest example, Johnson & Johnson’s sponsorship of a new Global Motherhood section, aims to raise awareness about health issues affecting moms and children while driving traffic through inspirational stories.
AOL-owned HuffPost has featured branded sections in the past, most recently with sponsors such as Universal and Capella University. The just-launched Global Motherhood section is a twist on the standard sponsorship model, and one the media firm hopes will serve as a template for cause marketing sponsorships to come. What's unique is that J&J is using the section - part of HuffPost's issue-advocacy related Impact content vertical - as a hub for information from and about its NGO partners, which include Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Save the Children.
"We're going to see a lot more of these," said Brian Sirgutz, SVP of social impact at HuffPost. "Instead of using advertising, companies will be providing services for NGO's that they support, and giving them a platform [to communicate their messages]."
The section features HuffPost's signature enormous above-the-fold image, but also incorporates a large sponsored content area, inspired by AOL's large Project Devil ad unit. The right-side sponsored area includes a featured story link to an article on "Eliminating Pediatric AIDS" on the J&J site. An expandable video unit touts J&J's "over 100 years of global caring" and highlights the firm's work and donations to help prevent birth asphyxia in Uganda and Malawi, as well as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
A dynamic section presents posts from the @JnJStories Twitter account. "Today is World #MentalHealth Day. See how having family support can help when battling bipolar disporder http://t.co/tfJm4y8D @JNJVideo #JNJ," reads one post.
A series of articles from J&J, like the one published today from Sharon D'Agostino, the company's VP of worldwide corporate contributions and community relations, will also appear in the Global Motherhood section. And, in keeping with the HuffPost celebrity-driven content approach, posts from better known people like Christy Turlington Burns and Ricki Lake are featured there today.
According to a draft post introducing the section from HuffPost founder Arianna Huffington, it will "be keeping you updated on the organizations on the front lines of the fight, like the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, which is dedicated to improving the odds for the millions of women the world over who risk death to give birth."
However, while the sponsored section provides a place for serious discussions about important problems facing mothers, its content may not always be unobstructed by the tabloid subject matter that often fuels the site. A visit to Turlington Burns's full blog post, part of a series on Partners in Health's work in Haiti, turns up a dnyamically-generated link to one of HuffPost's most popular stories today: "Mom Recorded Herself Getting High On Meth Before Killing Her Kids: Cops." The "Most Popular on HuffPost" links are dynamically created based on the site's algorithm. (screen capture below)
J&J joins other recent cause marketing sponsorships on HuffPost. The Teen Impact section is sponsored by Universal, and shines a spotlight on teen volunteerism while promoting the company's upcoming feel-good film "Big Miracle." And, the just-launched Good News section is sponsored by Capella University, which is running an expandable video ad presenting stories of students using their education "to make a difference."
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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