Xerox is currently running a piece of sponsored content featured prominently on the front page of MSNBC.com. This is what it looks like:

A World Made Simpler ByXerox - Sponsored Content on MSNC.com Front Page

A Headline To Ignore

I think this sponsored content play fails simply because of the headline: A World Made Simpler By Xerox. Here’s why:

  • The headline says it’s all about them
  • There is nothing that indicates what the reader gets out of the content
  • There is no compelling reason to click “Read this”
  • People don’t inherently care about Xerox
  • For all these reasons, the headline looks exactly like what it is: An advertisement

On the landing page, you get two paragraphs of copy touting how great Xerox is, from the invention of copying technology to present day when Xerox “remains true to its heritage by using its technology, expertise, and business process services to help customers address business challenges.” Here’s the screenshot of the full page:

Click For Full Version: A World Made Simpler By Xerox - Sponsored Content On MSNBC.com

Click to open full page version

Burying The Lead

Blah blah blah blah blah.

The copy gives no specifics and is followed by a very well-done video that illustrates Xerox’s history of innovation and highlights many surprising facts about the company that many people likely do not know.

This is actually interesting content with which they should have lead. The headline should’ve promised a video and focused on how technology has made life simpler. The landing page should’ve eliminated the image and shortened the copy in order to bring the video above the scroll.

But instead, it was all about them. The irony is, presumably, the purpose of this sponsored content play was to get views for the video. A hint of the degree to which this content is (or is not) compelling to MSNBC,com visitors can be found on the sponsored content’s own social sharing tools: Only 5 visitors have voted it up. And how many of them are Xerox employees?

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A World Made Simpler…By Xerox Video

Here’s the video: