But it doesn't look like an ad!

“There is no need for advertisements to look like advertisements. If you make them look like editorial pages, you will attract about 50% more readers.” – David Ogilvy

The following historic examples demonstrate early use of content to disseminate information about a brand, and build a brand’s reputation.

  • 1895: John Deere launched the magazine The Furrow, providing information to farmers on how to become more profitable. The magazine, considered the first custom publication, is still in circulation, reaching 1.5 million readers in 40 countries in 12 different languages.
  • 1900:  Michelin developed the Michelin Guide, offering information to drivers on auto maintenance, accommodations, and other travel tips. 35,000 copies were distributed for free in this first edition.
  • 1904: Jell-O salesmen went door-to-door, distributing their cookbook for free. Touting the dessert as a versatile food, the company saw its sales rise to over $1 million by 1906.

Source:  Wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_marketing