Are they content?  Or commercials?  Yes!

In this Opinion piece, the NY Times examines why brands like McDonald’s, John Deere, Facebook, Trader Joe’s, McAfee and — even the US Navy — not just buying ad insertions but creating their own podcasts.

Finding the right content/commercial balance is key, and Sound That BRANDS® Storyfinder Matrix™ can help.  A strong brand like Trader Joe’s, for example, has strong stories, too.  So as the Times points out, “The supermarket’s loyal following doesn’t seem to mind the self-promotion. ‘Inside Trader Joe’s has almost a perfect five-star rating on iTunes.”

In our opinion, content that’s transparently commercial doesn’t blur lines.  On the other hand, commercials that aren’t perceived and consumed as content will not be effective.

Read more from the NY Times here.