Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who's the fairest native ad of them all?
Turns out it's "The Ascent," the sponsored article from The Atlantic and Netflix, which won Best Sponsored Content Editorial in The Native Creatives, the inaugural native advertising awards, presented by Sharethrough.
The splashy, sponsored post focuses on political couples as a promotion for Netflix's popular show "House of Cards" and took home the award for Judge's Selection and People's Choice. Winners were announced at NATIVE 2015, the premier native advertising conference from Sharethrough.
The Native Creatives, the first ever awards exclusively dedicated to native advertising, recognizes publishers, brands and agencies that have established themselves as leaders in content creation, creative execution and user engagement.
Finalists were nominated in five categories:
• Best Sponsored Content Editorial
• Best Sponsored Video
• Most Pioneering Publisher
• Best Brand Content Hub
• Best Sponsored Series
There were two ways to win for each category: Judge's Choice and People's Choice.
"I specifically looked for the strongest tie between brand, platform and message," said Ian Schafer, founder of global creative agency Deep Focus and one of the judges. "The winners I chose did the best job of creatively delivering a message while preserving a strong tie to each brand's ethos."
The Verge, a Vox publication focused on technology, took home the Native Creative for Most Pioneering Publisher, while also snagging a People's Choice award for its sponsored content series with Cadillac, "The Pursuit."
The judges awarded Best Sponsored Series for "What I've Learned", a three-pronged collaboration between Esquire, a publisher, Medium, a publisher and a platform, and Microsoft, the technology brand.
Video was also part of the creative mix as Purina Nestlé and BuzzFeed's "Dear Kitten" won Best Sponsored Video. The adorable and funny sponsored video, produced by BuzzFeed's content studio, is a wee bit more polished than your average cat video.
Best Brand Content Hub, a brand site dedicated to publishing articles went to Green Label, the sponsored lifestyle publication Complex created for Mountain Dew.
Here are your 2015 winners for The Native Creatives:
BEST SPONSORED CONTENT EDITORIAL
• Judge's Choice & People's Choice - The Atlantic & Netflix House of Cards - The Ascent