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Sephora: Sambodian for Advertorial


Have a Monte Pascoal Belicoso on me — a all too brief hour of cheroot heaven. I accept payment in kind — a walk-in humidor would be nice

I read it in the Folha de S. Paulo:

Receiving freebies of name-brand goods, getting invited to special events, and earning cash payoffs between R$500 and R$ 15,000 for a favorable review of a product are among the privileges enjoyed by well-known bloggers.

See also:

  1. Analysis: “reality blogs” seduce with glamorous style
  2. Bloggers earn sales commissions
  3. Conar warns Sephora over clandestine propaganda
  4. On heels of accusation, Sephora says it does not attempt to influence reviewers

According to a Folha survey of 12 ad agencies in the digital marketing field, at least one blogger with 40,000 hits per day makes between $15,000 and R$80,000 per month writing and publishing «advertorials».

Also known as «publiposts», «pay-per-posts» and the traditional term, «jabaculê», they are texts financed by brands and published on blogs.

Most contain a discrete disclosure that  the material is publicity — such as the use of the tag “publipost” in the tag section of the post.

Others do not disclose. Most commonly these disclosures appear only at the end, in a reduced font size.

We all remember the dawn of this phenomenon when the first marketers infiltrated Amazon reader forums in the guise of fellow bibliophiles.

«Advertorial», or «publipost» consists of any and all material published on blogs as though they were normal blog posts.

In a way, they resemble the so-called «publicity insert», which look like normal journalistic stories but are produced by advertisers and published in newspapers and magazines with a label marking them as publicity.

The Economist runs such material in Carta Capital magazine, but the two graphic styles are unmistakeable.

Spurred on by paid posts, bloggers can be found praising brand of tampons, clothing, cell phones, restaurants and even dermatologists.

The advertising, whose visual design is not typical of publicity, is not always labeled as such. Written in the first person, it can read like advice to a personal friend.

“The problem is the lack of regulation. Each blogger identifies, or chooses not to identify, each advertisement that appears. Others come with a tiny “tag” at the end, and others display a small banner,”says blogger-publicist Alexandre Inagaki.

Inagaki, the veteran blogger-publicist of Thinking Makes You Crazy! Think About It!


In Inagaki’s vuew, the correct thing would be to identify the note as publicity in the headline —

and to his credit, this is exactly what he does, above.

This year, Conar — the  national auto-regulatory publicity council  — investigated its very first case of fake news appearing in blogs: three bloggers published identical articles praising the beauty products of  Sephora.

That it took CONAR this long to tumble to the problem tells you something about the efficacy of self-regulation in contemporary Brazilian mass media. The organization was founded in 1977 to protect the publishing industry from attempts to regulate advertising.

That journalists and publicists are authorized to exercise their profession only after completing the exact same — and I mean verbatim — four-year course tells you something about how hazy these Sambodians can be when it comes to the distinction news-propaganda.

Conar finally recommended that Sephora avoid practices that undermine the trust of consumers in its brands.

According to the 12 agencies polled by the Folha, the best blogs to advertise on are humor- and fashion-oriented. These genres have even mounted their own system for the distribution of «publiposts», called F*Hits.

Facebook likes: 11,000+

The platform created by  Alice Ferraz consists of 24 fashion blogs and recently placed eighth in Fast Company‘s ranking of innovative Brazilian companies.


One of the most profitable humor blogs is authored by Maurício Cid. He says he identifies the publicity content on his site using tags.

“The blogger’s most important asset is credibility. Beyond that, my readers think I deserve to make money with my blog,” he says.