A new low with Herald’s native advertising

The NZ Herald has jumped donkey deep into native advertising as a way to shore up their flagging revenues.

For those who don’t know native advertising is advertising that is disguised as news.

The latest effort from the NZ Herald sets a new low….they are using the war records of dead heroes to sell the ASB Bank and Auckland Council.

They call it “content partnership” but I’ll lay dollars to a knob of goat poo that the partnership works like this. ASB Bank and Auckland Council pay NZ Herald, NZ Herald takes some information and gets a journalist to write it up, and the NZ Herald publishes it as news….the only winners here are the NZ Herald…they score revenue.

native advertising

The disclaimer is tacked onto the bottom of the article.  

I started reading it because of my interest in war heroes, and personal sacrifice of soldiers…and now I am angry at the subterfuge.

native2Using the sacrifice of soldiers, mostly all dead now to sell a bank and give out a good vibe for the bank is despicable. Worse still is the Herald featuring this story and publishing it like it is news.

The article itself is full of hyperbole and mis-information.

The sub heading claims:

Bank supported its workers in the fight in Europe. Many did not come home.

The facts are:

During World War II, the ASB had grown to a full-time staff of 90; 74 of them left New Zealand shores to fight against Germany and Japan; five did not return.

Many did not return? The actual number is 5…just 6% of the workforce who left didn’t return. That isn’t “many” as is claimed.

It was a repeat, on a larger scale, of the bank’s efforts during World War I. When Anzac troops landed at Gallipoli in 1915, ASB had 30 staff. Half left to fight; three did not return.

The toll was greater in the First World War in terms of percentages, 3 out of 15, but still not “many”.

“Some” would have been better but that is just being picky.

You really do have to wonder how much the Auckland Council and ASB Bank are paying for this “content partnership”. But it seems to be a bit of a theme, on Friday the NZ Herald ran another piece about the bank…again in a “content” partnership”, this time it was about how nice they are, and where they started with humble beginnings. It is sick inducing.

It is a shameful development though, and one that leaves me wondering whether or not I should remain a customer of the ASB Bank.


– NZ Herald


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  • dgrogan

    Kicked the the ASB for touch decades ago. They’ve not been missed.

    • peterwn

      ASB – the bank that closed down Rob Muldoon’s passbook account (which he had since a child) because ASB was miffed at Rob’s utterances. How petty!

    • Cowgirl

      I left them years ago after a dispute over a stolen eftpos card that went all the way to the Ombudsman. I won the case, they had to pay me out, and I made a great show of presenting the resulting cheque to one of their competitors.

      It is my belief they take their customers for granted, having sucked them in at school, and knowing that many will be too lazy to bother changing banks later. I won’t bank with them ever, but especially not after this tripe in the Herald as well.

  • Monito

    I am disgusted at ASB Bank – they are below contemptible to use dead soldiers in their public relations – we are used to the Herald cashing in on anything and everything but the bank should know better – lets hope that the CEO will investigate how this happened and put a stop to further abuse of information.

    • Nige.

      Its become “trendy” to associate ones self or business with the anzacs or anything ww2. Just take a look at the stories that do the rounds after Anzac day about false relatives marching in the parades….and cunliffe trying to pretend to be a direct descendant of a war hero. It is indeed disgusting. Truth is I’m afraid that the people who do public relations for these companies set the bar lower and lower and its now at the point where nothing is sacred anymore. Even dead soldiers are now not immune from being exploded.

      • taurangaruru

        Helen Clarke started the trend with her headlong rush to be associated with Gallipoli, everyone in the media ignored her treatment of the soldiers returning from Vietnam though.

      • jcpry

        The rugby league ANZAC tests are the worst example. Especially the association of war with a sport.

      • MaryLou

        I think you mean exploited, rather than exploded?

        • Nige.

          yes. thank you.

  • Sally

    Today there is also a 2 page spread in the HOS on ‘Getting Your Finance Sorted’ and on the same page a competition to win $10,000 cash – thanks to ASB.
    As well there is a 16 page supplement courtesy of ASB and Auckland Council.

    • MaryLou

      Now what is in common between ASB and the Council, that they have so clearly teamed up with this “Native” advertising? Would they be the bank that would provide loans to the Council ie for trainsets? Not sure which bank the Council uses…

  • caochladh

    If the ASB are going to continue with this tawdry form of self promotion, then the disclaimer that it is not an actual “news” item should be at the start of the article so those of us who wish can discard it out of hand before reading any of it.

  • OneTrack

    They have been doing native advertising for the Green Party for the last 10 years, at least.

  • It’s funny how things go. We used to have ‘press releases’, created so that company’s could attempt to control (or at the very least influence) the news (by supplying official information and without the problems associated with interviews). The media lapped this up as it saved them a lot of work (on a regular basis, although they retained some investigation capabilities). Now the media have gone to companies and said, ‘Hey, why not just pay us to publish your stuff’ (or something to that effect). It’s really quite ingenious, as we’re probably getting a similar amount of rubbish (I don’t think the news has been ‘impartial’ for years, let alone now) and they’re able to get the ‘narrative right’ every time. The funny thing is that originally newspapers were the agents of their owners, then they became (supposedly) the agents of their readers, and now they’re the agents of their advertisers. Round and round we go!

  • Sailor Sam

    Will they publish statistics on ASB staff going to Vietnam and being ostracised upon their return? I bet not!