Tag Archives: Piri

“Hayfever is really annoying!” says hayfever remedy, semi-transparently

A slight change of pace now, with the news that hayfever symptoms can strike at any time:


Anyone who has hay fever will know all too well that the struggle is real come April and May.

While most people look forward to lunches on the grass, drinks in beautiful pub gardens and picnics on Hampstead Heath, those of us without our antihistamines will be spluttering and streaming miserably in a corner. 

Source: Independent, 14th June 2019

Whose behind this story, and the reason it made it into the Independent? Unsurprisingly, it’s Piri – manufacturers of the hayfever remedy Pirinase.

In fact, the ‘article’ is actually native advertising – in which Piri wrote and produced the content, and paid the Independent directly to publish it. This is clear not only from the “In Association With Piri” below the headline, but also from the clear advertising copy at the end of the piece:

While spring brings warmer weather it also marks the start of the hay fever season. If you’re one of the 18 million people affected in the UK, it makes sense to try to help prevent the symptoms of hay fever.  A single dose of Pirinase Hayfever Relief For Adults 0.05% Nasal Spray in each nostril once a day could help relieve sneezing, a runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy and watery eyes. Find out more here,
 or click here to buy online at Waitrose.

Here’s where things get ambiguous for me: on the one hand, I do find native advertising deeply problematic, dressing up advertising copy as if it were editorial, and mimicking the styling of the host publication in what can only be an explicit attempt to disguise the fact that the entire article is an advert. That raises legitimate questions about how trustworthy the media title can be, if they’re happy to publish other people’s content, unchecked and unedited, for money.

Yet, on the other hand, at least with native advertising such as this the Independent are honest about the source of the copy. Sure, they’re doing their best to whisper their admission rather than shout it, but compare this to any other story I’ve covered on this blog – where the copy was provided by a commercially-driven source, but the truth of this is obscured from the reader, and the story is presented as if it were real news.

Native Advertising has a lot of critics, and has drawn a lot of public ire, and rightly so in my opinion. However, Bad PR rarely if ever gets the same level of public attention… and that’s because it lacks the transparency and even the basic level of honest of Native Advertising.