Product placement on film predates the Talkies. Savvy advertisers have long realised the potential for James Bond to surreptitiously sell Aston Martins, or the cast of Friends to chug Budweiser in front of legions of loyal fans, who might just be sold by such endorsements.
Some forms of product placement are clearly more subliminal than others. A company might pay for their brand to be written into the script of a programme, or a fashion brand pay for characters to be decked out in their clothes. Product placement has been permitted by international filmmakers and broadcasters for years, but it wasn’t until 2011 that the UK’s independent regulatory body Ofcom authorised product placement for UK-made TV productions.
But now product placement is catching up with digital innovation. Products can now be altered, modified, or even added in post-production, meaning tailoring ads within TV content is a possibility. This could be adding or changing billboards to street scenes, changing the brand of a drinks can depending on location, editing display boards on subway scenes or changing brands of parked cars if viewers might be more attracted to that, than an alternative.
As we are experiencing a golden age of television with binge-watching and viewers obsessing over series, now, maybe more than ever before, viewers can share an affinity with characters, actors or artists meaning brand sentiment has the potential to soar.
So what are the benefits for brands and advertisers in using this technology?
Depending on the viewer’s location, gender, age, viewing history and preferences, products can be modified accordingly. In this way brands can reach their audiences more effectively in the most accessible way possible, as seen in the TV programmes they love. Brands can be positioned for the right context and brand messages reinforced within the content to suit the specific tastes of viewers.
Another benefit for production teams and advertisers alike is that no further shooting is required, meaning brands can monetise existing content or adapt to contemporary trends. By adding advertising opportunities related to geography or changing brands, new potential can be given to content.
Chinese video streaming site Youku has just signed a deal to use this technology with its content, just as video sites ramp up their concern that people will block advertising content moving forward.
With this new ability to fully integrate, personalise and modify products placed into productions there is huge scope for savvy advertisers to keep updating content to suit the target.
Watch this in action here.