I was initially on the fence on whether this article would be considered as an advertorial or not. My assessment was guided by this provision from the SPJ Code of Ethics:
- “Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. Prominently label sponsored content.”
The article distinctly features products from Tim Hortons’, and solely from the brand. It also talks about the chain’s Christmas campaign, with insight from the CEO of the Philippine franchise. It serves as a writeup of the brand’s Christmas products and nothing more. I believe the intention of the article was made clear with the introduction:
“MANILA, Philippines – Christmas is fast approaching and that means the holiday menus are coming out. Tim Hortons announced their holiday menu on last October before selected media at Uptown Mall, Taguig.”
This opening section makes it clear that the idea behind the article came directly from the brand, and thus could in a way not be seen as an advertorial. It is indirectly indicated to be a semi-sponsored post. However, I believe that this still could have been made clearer through the following revisions: 1) placing the article under the BrandRap section rather than the Lifestyle section of Rappler, and 2) directly stating that it is a sponsored post.