35+ Inspiring Native Ads Examples

What are the keys to successful digital advertising?

Emotion and context.

Marketers who can weave emotion and context into a compelling story will have a significant advantage: content that engages their audiences and moves them to action.

The next challenge is targeting the right people at the right time, which is the best assurance of ROAS. 

Luckily, native advertising is an effective way to maximize emotion and context in your campaigns, turn your message into a compelling story, and target audiences precisely and effectively. Need some inspiration? We’ve gathered some examples of the best native ad examples in the list below. Take a look at the roundup of native advertising we loved in recent years:

Best Native Advertising Examples of 2023

Pride of the North


JFOODO (The Japan Food Product Overseas Promotion Center), partnered with CNN to create an atmospheric campaign promoting the Japanese scallop, “From Ocean to Plate”. The native content features chef and restaurant owner Hirotoshi Osumi, who takes the audience on a fishing and culinary journey in Betsukai on Japan’s northernmost island. The campaign works so well because it does exactly what native content is supposed to do: provide a compelling and engaging experience that takes you to the heart of the matter. 

As you scroll down the landing page, the content takes you from the fishing boat through the shucking and cooking process, with videos, images, standout quotes, and text to tell the story of the Japanese scallop, the pride of the North. And we especially loved the touch of interactivity – drag the digital shucker to shuck the scallop yourself!

James Webb Space Telescope

NASA blog – Sky News

If you’re wondering which brands are using native advertising, then look no further than NASA. Yes, the space agency is advertising with sponsored content from the NASA blog to keep its target audience engaged and up-to-date with their space exploration activity.

The native ad below appeared on the Sky News website, promoting the latest images from the incredible James Webb Space Telescope. Although the Webb telescope is a marvel of innovation bringing us the most extraordinary images ever seen from space, getting eyes on blogs is a challenge in our information overload age (maybe even harder than space travel!). It’s no wonder that NASA is turning to native advertising to drive traffic to their blog and build interest around the Webb telescope endeavors. After all, native ads are known to be less disruptive and more engaging than display ads

New Vision of Everyday Luxury

COS – Le Monde

Storytelling. That’s exactly what native advertising is built for. The COS contemporary fashion brand gives us the perfect example with its native campaign, “New Vision of Everyday Luxury”. The campaign, promoted on the French daily Le Monde news site, features a clickable ‘carousel’ style format with poetic descriptions and attractive images of its spring-summer 2024 collection against the backdrop of the Mexican seaside. What makes this campaign stand out is not just the storytelling, but the self-awareness – the content explores every aspect of the brand’s design and marketing approach for the new fashion collection, complete with an interview featuring COS’ artistic director. With a compelling textual and visual story, brand authenticity, and of course, a subtle CTA at the end to visit COS online and explore the new fashion collection, this native advertising example has it all.

Engineering Hope 

NI – The Washington Post

Speaking of storytelling, this native content collaboration between NI, the engineering test and measurement company, and the Washington Post Brand Studio is an example of the power of story told through a personal lens. The campaign, titled “Engineering Hope”, is ostensibly about a technical field, but it knows how to pull at the heartstrings with the best of them.

The native content includes a series of three short videos, each telling a part of the story of David Yi, and how he helped to develop a pediatric medical device with Berlin Heart, which can save the lives of thousands of children. The first video, “The Calling of an Engineer”, sets the tone for the entire campaign, providing an emotional first-person perspective of the positive potential of engineering. This native campaign makes you believe that hope really can be engineered, and through engineers like Daniel and companies like NI, it can indeed change the world.

Authentic Home Cinema Experiences

Leica CINE-1 – Outbrain Brand Studio

If the purpose of native advertising is to provide engaging brand experiences through content, then Leica and Outbrain hit the mark with a campaign for CINE-1, Leica’s first laser TV. The challenge of the native campaign was to create amazing visual and cinematic experiences that the target audience could engage with on their mobile devices. Outbrain Brand Studio leveraged four rich-media ad formats to tell a compelling visual story about CINE-1 and draw viewers in with multi-touchpoints. With ads featured on premium Onyx placements, the native campaign certainly delivered on its ‘adalytics’ results: a third of users were more likely to say they would buy the CINE-1 as a result of viewing the ad.

A Woman’s Place

KitchenAid® – Vox Creative

The kitchen is the heart of life, where so many stories happen. Stories about food, relationships, and family, and for women chefs, stories about bias and empowerment. Together with Vox Creative, KitchenAid created a powerful native campaign, “A Woman’s Place”, showcasing the careers of three women in professional kitchens in a short film that won a Tribeca award in 2021. The documentary focuses on a butcher, a chef, and a restauranteur, all women who encounter inequality in culinary professions traditionally associated with men. A high-quality cinematic experience like “A Woman’s Place” is of course not your average native advertising content, however, it is a long-term investment that pays off in stronger brand awareness over time. 

Best Native Advertising Examples of 2022

Hanami At Home

MGM National Harbor – Washington DC

Maryland-based MGM National Harbor hotel created a lovely interactive native experience in conjunction with the Washington Post to celebrate the Cherry Blossom season. “Hanami” is the traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the beauty of blossoming flowers, and this native ad let Washington Post readers do just that. With the help of Augmented Reality technology, readers could enjoy “Hanami at Home”, and watch a cherry blossom bloom virtually through all the phases of growth. Combined with loads of information about cherry blossom-themed events at MGM National Harbor, this native experience brings the unique beauty of the flower and the hotel brand to life.

Best and Cheapest Life Insurance

Cavendish & This Is Money

The best native content always has two qualities: it must be relevant and useful to the reader, and it must fit naturally into the webpage they are browsing, without being disruptive. This native ad by Cavendish insurance broker is featured mid-article on a page of the ThisIsMoney.uk section of the Mail Online. It looks and feels just like another piece of content that might interest the viewer, with a clear, sharp headline to draw them in. The reader is invited to “Compare and save on life insurance”, a compelling CTA that leads them to a highly informative and detailed article about how to purchase the right life insurance at the right price. Context matters, and so does content. This native ad experience is a great example of both.

The World’s Lab

Brand Hong Kong

When Brand Hong Kong wanted to promote the region as a world leader in technology at the forefront of the fight against COVID, it turned to the Morning Studio team of the South China Morning Post to create a comprehensive native campaign. The campaign included an informative infographic, several articles, and a video article, boosted on social media and featuring interactive content, such as in-article polls, to drive engagement. The results are clear: over 164,000 users reached, and 10,000 engagements with the native content, helping build awareness of Hong Kong as “the world’s lab”. 

Powering Tomorrow’s Leaders


One of the key benefits of native advertising is that it provides the space for brands to tell a deeper story that connects with the target audience, Salesforce.org, in conjunction with The Atlantic’s Re:Think, created an outstanding native video exploring the legacy of the first Boys & Girls Club to serve black children – the Wissahickon Boys & Girls Club in Philadelphia. The 5:29-minute long video explores the history and the impact of the club, and showcases how Salesforce technology is helping the club to streamline its operations, freeing up more time for counselors to focus on the youth. If you want to see the power of native advertising that creates an emotional and compelling experience for the audience, this is a perfect example.

“Are we flirting or is this an ad?”

True Classic Tees

Another tactic that works great with native advertising is humor, and this is evident in a native social ad promoted by True Classic Tees, the company reinventing men’s t-shirts. The ad features a chat conversation between a guy and his lady, which takes a hilarious turn when she realizes that the chat might not be sweet talk, but an ad for True Classic Tees. Besides fitting in so comfortably with the context of the social feed, making it a very readable and relatable experience, the native ad is clever, simple, and just works on every level. When you’re creating copy for your native social ads, use this as a guide for how to do ‘funny’ the right way.

Let the Dice Roll Remain Fun

Croatian Lottery

This native campaign for Croatian Lottery was so good, it was a winner in the Native Advertising Awards 2022. The campaign took a fairly serious subject – gambling – and made it engaging, compelling, and relevant to the target audience. Around 13% of Croatian youth are believed to have suffered difficult consequences of gambling, and the campaign aims to show young people the risks and how to keep gambling both safe and fun. The campaign kicked off with a survey asking Croatians about their views on gambling. Then, the results were featured on a purpose-built microsite, showcasing data and personal stories around the topic. The next challenge was how to keep visitors to the site engaged and interested with the content? The answer was gamification. The campaign featured a range of fun games to build awareness about gambling and the impact it can have, while ensuring that time-on-page rates remained high. 

Best Native Advertising Examples of 2021

This post was updated on November 18, 2021.

In 2020, the world under pandemic lockdown went truly digital. Online shopping peaked, meetings moved to Zoom, and consumers became more reliant on the internet for just about every daily need.

As “normal” life resumed, and people slowly returned to in-store experiences, something became clear: consumer habits had turned a corner, and it is now more important than ever to engage with customers online as well as offline. 

Native advertising has been one of those ways for the past decade, and it continues to prove its efficacy. Thanks to their soft-marketing approach, native ads demonstrate a 5-10X higher CTR than more aggressive ad types. Not surprising then that native ad spend in the US is expected to increase by 21% this year. 

A great way to understand native advertising is to see it in action. So we’re continuing our tradition, rounding up some of the best native ad examples we’ve come across this year. Check them out.

A Sign of the Times


This is an awesome example of native content at its most sophisticated. Featured on CNN in its “Better Tech for All” feature, Samsung is using native to promote the “A Sign of the Times” campaign about its new accessible TV screens and “Screens for All” corporate vision. Once the viewer lands on the native content page, they are served a long-form article about the story of David Cowan, a sign language specialist, his personal journey as struggles with his identity as a deaf person, and his work in ASL and the role tech can play. But this is not your regular scrolling article. It’s filled with video, audio, clickable links more, showing how native content can be completely captivating and fully accessible, and the ideal medium for true storytelling.

Winter Products


To succeed at native advertising, you’ve got to be creative. But there’s a science behind it as well. That is evident in the Outbrain native campaign run by the leading tire brand, Michelin, which was mapped out with very clear goals in mind – generating website views longer than 30 seconds, and a maximum cost per visitor of 1.5 euro. This was part of a larger goal to drive interested readers to content about Michelin tire products relevant to them, and to direct them to the nearest retailer. The result? Outstanding! Outbrain leveraged its Conversion Bid Strategy tool to automate bids according to the pre-defined goals, and the native ads outperformed comparable social media campaigns. This is a great reason to consider repurposing social media ads for native; why not give it a go?

native ads examples 2021 - Michelin - winter products

NSW Central Coast’s Most Scenic Picnic Spots

Love Central Coast

If you thought Carousel ads were only on social media, then you’d be wrong. In recent years, great strides have been made in the range of ad formats supported by native networks, and Carousel is one of them. Carousel ads are very effective for brands to tell a story, showcase different aspects of a brand or product, or promote several related products or topics. Users can scroll horizontally through the carousel, and become immersed in the story, making for a very powerful user experience. We love this example by Australian tourism company Love Central Coast, who used the Outbrain Carousel ad experience to showcase the most scenic picnic spots on the New South Wales Central Coast. Watch the experience below, and see for yourself how the Carousel leads the user to the relevant content page via an interesting, visual and content-rich ad.

Love Letters from Britain


The pandemic has been tough on the luxury goods market, so it is heartening to see Walpole, the official body for the UK luxury goods sector, promoting a beautifully crafted native campaign to drive awareness and engagement for luxury goods brands. Featured on BBC.com’s “StoryWorks” special feature, the “Love Letters from Britain” campaign showcases 9 inspiring video stories about luxury brands, from whiskey to fragrances, fashion, and cars. It’s a good example of the power of native advertising together with targeted video content that tells a powerful and interesting story, and also a testament to the way that native can be used as a top-funnel strategy to build brand awareness, rather than just a bottom-funnel conversion strategy. 

Islands of Adventure

Philippines Tourism Ministry

We are living in a visual world, and images are an incredibly important part of native advertising. So much so, that it is a true pleasure to see when a brand does it right. In the travel vertical, images are key to creating atmosphere and immersing users in the native content, and the Philippines Tourism Ministry is totally on the right track, in our opinion. Once again, BBC.com features a StoryWorks campaign that provides just the right amount of copy to read, set against stunning images of the “Islands of adventure” they are promoting. The layout and user experience is designed to make scrolling feel like a leisurely walk on a tropical beach. The native content leads directly to the brand’s website where “More fun awaits”, with information about thousands of islands in the Philippines that is relevant and engaging for interested readers.

best native ads 2021 number 5 - Islands of adventure - Philippines Tourism Ministry

Covid-19: History of infectious diseases and vaccines


The pandemic is a heavy subject. But it’s also one that has preoccupied the interest of web users, globally. No one was left untouched, but for vaccine developer Novavax, it was a matter of finding a way to broach the subject, but in an informative, engaging and snackable way. We think they did very well with native content promoted on The Guardian website. Part of the Guardian Labs native advertising feature, the “From mumps to Covid-19: A brief history of infectious diseases and vaccines” campaign includes a richly informative, eye-catching, and interactive historical timeline. Sure, the subject matter is intense, but it just goes to show how native campaigns can be crafted to suit all types of topics, consumer interests and even hot-button social issues, in a unique and compelling way.

Black Friday Deals

The Inventory

Together with images, native ad headlines are absolutely critical to getting clicks that lead to conversion. We loved this native ad copy, promoting an article of Black Friday shopping deals on The Inventory. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, in November 2021, the world faced a shipping crisis. Supply chains are affected with store shelves empty in some parts of the US and elsewhere. Rumors abound that consumers might not be able to rely on retailers to deliver their holiday gifts on time, and people spurred up for early shopping – and that’s even before the Black Friday frenzy gets started! This native ad is a perfect example of snappy, timely copy that hits the precisely correct tone of the consumer mood: “Show the supply chain who’s boss”. The ad featured The Takeout food and pop culture website, in an article about Best Halloween Candies of 2021, targeting consumers who are searching for Halloween tips and deals. Awesome targeting, awesome ad copy – what more could you ask for in native advertising?

best native ads examples 2021 - Black friday deals - the inventory

Best Native Ads 2019

No Need to Fly?

German Rail

This ingenious travel campaign, promoted via paid ads on Facebook, takes native advertising to the next level, and got the advertiser a 24% boost in revenue. German Rail targeted potential customers with personalized ads showing how local destinations in Germany looked similar or even identical to exotic locations around the world. The images of the German and international locations were placed side by side, together with the travel cost for each, demonstrating how much cheaper it is to visit the German location by German Rail rather than flying to the international lookalike! All summed up with the campaign slogan: “No Need to Fly?” The campaign had incredible visuals, a smart premise, advanced personalization and targeting. No wonder it performed so well…

Spring Reboot

Home Depot – Apartment Therapy


This sponsored campaign by Home Depot, featured on the home design website Apartment Therapy, is just about the most fun you can have with native ads. It takes a cute visual of a home, and showcases videos and links to recommended products at Home Depot for each room of the house. This native ad example uses interactivity to turn home upgrade and Home Depot shopping into a fun, engaging experience.

best native advertising example nr 2 - 2019

Hotel Nutella


Is there any ad more ‘native’ than turning a product into a real life 3D hotel? Welcome to Hotel Nutella! The world’s favorite chocolate spread is opening a pop-up hotel complete with Nutella-inspired construction and interior design, and celebrity chefs cooking Nutella-infused meals for guests. The catch? The hotel will be open for one weekend only, and you have to enter a competition to have a chance at becoming a guest. Contestants must produce a 60-second original video showing how Nutella makes their morning special. What a great use of user-generated content. Plus, a chocolate hotel is the fantasy of many a consumer, so the campaign generated loads of earned media to help promote the competition and lead customers to the dedicated landing page.

best native ad nr 3 - 2019

Goodbye Gravity


A key part of native advertising is creating great content. That’s what keeps a brand relevant and interesting to its customers. Well, what could be better than Adidas partnering with the ISS (International Space Station) US National Lab to research and test products in microgravity. For example, Adidas sent soccer balls to the space station to test their behavior, such as spinning, in weightless environments. Another plan is to test improvements in footwear materials and design in space. This multi-year partnership will no doubt drive incredible research and never-before-uncovered knowledge. And it will also take the Adidas brand name to the stratosphere with native content like this video:


A New Way to See


The beauty of native advertising is the way the ad fits in seamlessly to the page on which it appears, so it doesn’t seem like an ad. The best native ads do this, but they also stand out at the same time. Brilliant is a learning platform with a mission to inspire people to achieve their dreams in the STEM fields. Their native ads campaign, which appeared in the Guardian among other places, featured eye-catching math riddles with colorful moving images that were too tempting not to click.

best native ad nr 4

Beauty Unaltered

CVS Pharmacy

When a chain store recruits leading brands to drive social change, native is the way to do it. CVS Pharmacy set a goal to reach full beauty transparency by the end of 2020, meaning all in store graphics will be natural, non-Photoshopped imagery, or marked to indicate that the image is airbrushed and not authentic. Good native advertising goes way beyond sponsored ads on websites. It is an entirely different approach to advertising that speaks to the consumer with content that matters to them. The instore campaign by CVS Pharmacy does just that, plus provides ample room to promote the campaign natively, with discount offers, charity contributions, and user-generated content like this Instagram post:




When a series as beloved as Game of Thrones comes to an end, brands must find ways to leverage the worldwide buzz and become part of the conversation. Oreo did it this year in style, with the recreation of the famous Game of Thrones opening credits using 2,750 cookies. This is the essence of native advertising – an ad for a product that is less about the product itself, and more about bringing relevance and entertainment to the audience. And of course, it’s all about targeting the right people – Oreo increased its targeting by 20% towards males for the GOT campaign.

Best Native Ads: 2018

Taking the Dragon Challenge

Land Rover

We love Dragon Challenge native campaign by Land Rover, as it combines the best of everything in advertising – a great story, fabulous cinematography, and loads of suspense.

The ad shows the first ever attempt to scale the 999 stairs to Heaven’s Gate in China by car. This was accomplished by a professional Formula One driver in a specially fitted Range Rover SUV, featured in a nail-biting video by Land Rover.

This is not just an ad campaign; it’s a mini adventure movie. Promoted on social media, it uses a storytelling approach to broadcast the values of the Land Rover brand (excellence, daring, success), for an unforgettable native experience.


Laurel or Yanny?


Every year has at least one viral meme, and 2018 was no different. Remember the great “Laurel or Yanny” dispute, which kept the whole internet busy for a few days? VentureBeat chose to leverage the meme to promote its Transform conference on analytics and artificial intelligence.

How? The tech website used AI to test whether it was really “Laurel” or “Yanny”, and then promoted an article on how they did it. (Spoiler: Even AI is not really sure…)

The article included a CTA to register for the Transform conference, with a 30% discount promotion. This campaign shows the best of two worlds – viral meme and native ad – coming together to drive results.

laurel or yanny

Hyperloop Competition by SpaceX

Altran Engineering

Here’s a native ad that has it all. A great human story, futuristic hi-tech, and Elon Musk, all combined in a sleek, watchable video.

The ad was produced by Altran Engineering, supporters of a group of students competing in the 2018 Hyperloop Pod Competition run by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

The video, “Hyperloop: designing the future of transport?”, follows the story of the students as they race to design the fastest ever pod that will change the future of transportation.

Promoted in the Industrial Tech section of the Financial Times, it’s a fun and inspiring tale of “Can they?” or “Can’t they”?


The Rise of the Superhuman

Mercedes Benz

Native advertising works by providing relevant, interesting content for the reader, rather than pushing a particular product. It’s the difference between the hard sell, and the extremely soft sell.

Mercedes does it beautifully with a native campaign called “The rise of the superhuman”, which presents different technologies that are turning us ordinary folk into “superhumans”, like virtual reality and robotic suits.

This ties in seamlessly with the Intelligent Drive system, a new feature in the Mercedes E-class vehicle.  Clean, smooth and cutting edge – these are the brand qualities of Mercedes, promoted so well by this native ad. Bravo!

Superhuman - Outbrain Blog

Know Your “Girls” – Breast Cancer Awareness

Susan G Komen & Ad Council

When a great native ad is used for a great cause, it’s even better! Check out this campaign to promote breast cancer awareness and breast health among African American women in the US.

It’s called “Know Your Girls”, and it has a cheeky, friendly approach to appeal to the target audience via native ads on AOL.

Click on the ad, and you are taken to an informative, user-friendly website featuring health advice and information, personal stories and a host of resources about breast screening, risk factors and more.

It’s a perfect example of what happens when an important social issue meets native advertising best practices.

know your girls

The Green River Project

Eni Energy

The beauty of native content is that you can include just about everything, as long as it supports and enhances the story.

This example, by Eni, the oil and energy conglomerate, uses so many different types of engaging content – images, video, text, timelines, maps, audio, personal stories and graphics – all set in an inspiring storytelling format.

Promoted via native ads on CNN.com, the campaign focuses on a development program for farming and livestock in the Niger Delta, run by the Eni company. Called the Green River Project, it aims to enhance the livelihood of local communities.

The native content is expertly designed with a look and feel more suited to an environmental agency. It’s hard to tell that the campaign, in fact, belongs to an oil company.

This campaign is a good example of how powerful native can be when it comes to brand building and perception.

Green River Project - Outbrain Blog

“The Great Rewrite” – Rethinking Innovation


If you want to know what great native content looks like, look no further than KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms, and “The Great Rewrite” campaign, promoted on Forbes’ BrandVoice platform.

In the campaign, KPMG explores the question of how our world is being “rewritten” in a post-innovation age. The look and feel of the campaign is ultra modern, with a rich user experience loaded with content, including featured articles, videos and first-person perspectives.

Much like its title, this campaign is rewriting the native concept, taking the content experience to a whole new level of sophistication.

Best Native Ads: 2017

Match Your Music to Stranger Things Characters


Nielsen reported a whopping 15.8 million Americans had watched the first episode of Stranger Things by the third day of its release. There’s no denying the series has garnered an almost cult-like fan following.

Spotify was quick to capitalize on its recent release, matching users of its platform to characters on the show, based on their listening habits. Even guests of the platform can select five jams to submit for their results.

When two powerhouse content creators combine, amiright?

Outbrain Blog

Serena Williams’ Career Journey


Gatorade served up the most memorable gamification experience of the year paying homage to one of the most talented athletes of our time, Serena Williams.

Users can attempt to win the match point of every one of her 22 major victories with the simple click of their mouse — no download necessary and without a glitch.

The game resembled some of Nintendo’s earliest crowd pleasers. This one is definitely in the running for the gold in “Best use of native advertising.”

Outbrain Blog

Remembering Ellis Island


In partnership with The New York Times, Airbnb reflects on the history of travel and hospitality. The interactive experience goes back in time to reference New York’s own Ellis Island. The heart-warming and educational story details what it was like to migrate to America back in the day.

Navigate through four chapters (some with sound effects) for personal stories from Airbnb hosts, historical facts, old photos, and documents for a journey back in time.

Then, book your next great adventure.


Outbrain Blog

Driving Progress


Not what you would expect from a legacy car brand on game day… this past Super Bowl, Audi used its 60-second ad spot to advocate for pay equality, a social issue far removed from our rearview mirrors.

Despite the brand’s association with older, more traditional consumers, Audi has been reporting younger demographics since back in 2014. About 50 percent of its sales are to Gen X and Gen Y consumers.

Audi is clearly looking toward the future. And these days, a little bit of activism, especially during game time, can make a big difference among its next generation of buyers.

Getting Personal with Marcus

Goldman Sachs

The finance sector has experienced massive shifts in consumer behavior with the emergence of new technology like mobile apps. And like most industries, if brands don’t bend to the consumer’s needs, they will seek greener pastures.

That’s why one of the oldest institutions, Goldman Sachs, has been working to revamp its image with the introduction of its new online lending company, Marcus.

A quick visit to Marcus.com combines the engaging elements of an infographic with interactive elements. There’s even a powerful tool in the form of a loan calculator.

While the financial services industry may never viewed as “sexy,” Goldman Sachs certainly makes up for it with utility.

Mosaic Maker Gets Personal


Lego enthusiasts, much like the parts in their kits, come in various shapes and sizes — whether it is a parent buying their toddler beloved building blocks or an adult looking for the next intricate model to carefully piece together.

In an effort to represent its diverse set of superfans, the toy maker created an instant photo booth and Lego vending machine within its London location for visitors to recreate their own headshot of out bricks.

Just think of all the user-generated content!

Best Native Ads: 2016

Kids’ Imaginations’ Rules

Homegate & 20 Minuten

Who wouldn’t want a black hole in their house? Or to live in a giant strawberry? And don’t tell Princess Llaria she can’t have smiling shrubbery and transforming stars in her castle. Swiss real estate company Homegate pulled off the ultra meta campaign by integrating its brand into the vibrant imaginations of children using Oculus Rift technology.  To create native advertising for Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten, Homegate – in conjunction with the Bandara agency and film production company Frame Engine – asked children to draw their dream houses. The three most creative renderings were brought to life in virtual reality. The expression on the kids’ faces are priceless, but they’ll probably never be satisfied with having their drawings taped to the refrigerator door again.

“The Message” Podcast


Here at Outbrain, we love our podcasts, so no surprise that this Webby-winner would also be one of our top picks. The 8-part series was co-produced by GE (with their agency BBDO) who also worked in collaboration with Panoply Media (Slate’s podcast network). The #1 podcast on iTunes ended up being a hit, garnering a million-plus listeners. GE came up with the original concept that blends sci-fi and real life, following the main protagonist as she attempts to decode a 70-year-old message from outer space in her job at an encryption think tank. Additional online content allows viewers to dig deeper into the show. This was a new medium for GE and following the success of MailChimp’s sponsorship of “Serial,” it looks like the podcast is becoming another go-to touchpoint for brands to reach their audiences.

SXSW Comedy Bang Bang Podcast

Mack Weldon

“Don’t like my underwear? Why don’t you choke on it.” Mack Weldon, the New York-based men’s underwear brand, visited the Comedy Bang Bang Podcast this year in SXSW, and pulled off an unlikely live native advertising campaign offering genuine hilarity that resonated throughout communal online spaces like Reddit. As a result, Mack Weldon’s sales doubled. In the podcast, comedian Paul F. Tompkins plays a microbe-loathing Mack Weldon executive who, along with the podcast’s hosts, critiques the physique, mannerisms – and, yes, the Mack Weldon underwear, T-shirt, and socks – being showcased by a male model. Though there was a clear native advertising strategy behind this campaign, Mack Weldon scored big because it had faith in the talent of the participants and the scary but undeniable power of spontaneity to create unparalleled branded moments.

Online Scavenger Hunt

Bacardi & Goldroom

Exclusivity has deep roots in aspirational advertising, but Bacardi’s 2016 collaboration with BBDO and electronic music artist Goldroom, aka Josh Legg, infused the concept with a native twist by integrating the VIP treatment into the digital experience. To locate and claim 10 pairs of free tickets on Goldroom’s website, fans have to activate Google Chrome’s incognito mode – an option most use when they want their browsing histories to disappear – which launches a special landing page promoting a unique scavenger hunt. Fans who hack through the online clues receive backstage concert tickets and access to special tracks and an exclusive clip of Goldroom’s latest video.

Powerball Drumroll

New York Lottery

Though the year 2016 may forever be known as the year that our favorite artists, comics, and musicians passed away, it began as the year of the largest Powerball jackpot in U.S. history. To mark the occasion, the New York Lottery teamed up with McCann to give New Yorkers a continuous 12-hour live drum performance to celebrate their purchases of Powerball tickets. A simple idea, but fun and effective and perfectly suited – considering the cultural context and auditory and visual payoff of a 35-second video – for a YouTube campaign. For anyone who ever dreamed of being rich enough to be followed or preceded by a marching band as they went through their day, this – unless they actually won the lottery – was as close as they’d ever get.

That’s all, folks

Once again, it’s been a great year for native advertising. 2019 was the year that native video really started to flex its muscles. Also this year, we’ve started to see a meteoric rise in programmatic native advertising.

Even so, there’s one thing at the center of every great native ad – a great story. The examples above are just a taste of the native ads we enjoyed in the past few years. What will the new year bring for native advertising? Stay tuned!

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