From the piece:
The Panasonic program is one of several undertaken by brands carving out a new take on the old notion of advertorial. Rather than relying on magazines, they are contracting with influential bloggers who bring with them their own powerful distribution networks. Rather than a long-form narrative, content is fit for the Web via blog posts, Twitter updates and YouTube videos. And the key differentiator: instead of dictating the content to lead to a sale, brands typically keep their distance to maintain credibility.
Panasonic wanted to build cachet among Internet influencers for its array of tech products. As part of its "Living in High Definition" push, Panasonic new media consultancy crayon recruited five bloggers to travel to CES on Panasonic's dime. Panasonic footed the bill for their travel and passes to the event while also loaning them digital video and still cameras. The bloggers, which include popular Internet figures Chris Brogan and Steve Garfield, will also meet with Panasonic executives and preview products. The catch: Panasonic has no say on what their guests post, according to Greg Verdino, chief strategy officer at crayon.
"There's not a direct quid pro quo," said Verdino, who also blogged and Twittered about CES for Panasonic. "When you give people equipment and they love it, just like any other consumer they'll evangelize it. We're not looking for them to hit message points and in effect shill."
Brian also writes about recent outreach programs managed by Izea, and a small business blogger initiative from American Express and Digitas. It's good to see blogger relations get some good coverage, although Brian does clump all of these initiatives under the banner "Advertorial 2.0."
I don't know that Brian intends the term to be negative and, for me, well done influencer junkets bear more resemblance to the traditional press junkets that are sometimes planned to spark mainstream media coverage, than they do to paid advertorials (which are simply ads designed to be viewed as legitimate third party content.) UK blogger Robin Grant sees a similar distinction and has an interesting conversation taking place on his company's blog about this very topic.
But hey, it was my program so I'd love to hear what you think.
How do you feel about blogger programs like the ones in the Adweek piece? What works for you and what doesn't? What would you do differently?