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Diageo wades into native ads with Baileys shot into Guardian content

Diageo is exploring native advertising opportunities, partnering with the Guardian’s branded content division to create and host ads based on the publisher’s most popular lifestyle articles.

The drinks maker is piloting a tool that identifies in real-time potential ideas from posts on the Guardian’s Life & Style and Culture sections. Content, which is written in-house by Guardian Labs, is signposted “brought to you by Baileys” and produced using insights including where readers are coming from by platform and geographical location alongside how they engage with the posts.

The initiative aims to slot reactive editorial content into the site with Diageo hoping the speed elevates the effectiveness of its ads. It ties to the company’s wider strategy, which sees it searching for more effective ways to leverage its media budgets through channels such as shoppable online adverts or ecommerce.

Content will mirror the theme of friendship between women currently being pushed in the 40-year old brand's new campaign.

Isabel Massey, head of media and futures at Diageo Western Europe, described the project as "ground breaking".

She added: The pilot fits perfectly with our media strategy for Baileys - taking an editorial mind-set, giving readers high attention brand content, quicker than ever and focussing on what the reader wants to see. Baileys has always been an innovative brand, as the first ever spirit to blend whisky and cream, and it’s great that we can reflect this in our media partnerships."

For the Guardian the Diageo tie-up is a chance to showcase the breadth of its native advertising since it was set up in February. It kicked off the division with a seven-figure deal with Unilever and has since started looking at how it can bring Google Glass into the branded content fold.

Despite ongoing reservations about the effectiveness of native advertising from some industry observers, marketers are bullish about the tactic going into 2015.

Diageo is joined by others including Heineken and Ford in crafting a more permanent role for this type of content as they seek out new ways to generate scale around their advertising.

Heineken is set to ramp up its spend on ads that match the look and feel of their hosts’ sites and applications moving forward after seeing native posts for Desperados drive a 23 per cent rise in brand awareness earlier this year.

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