We see an incredible amount of product placement/integration for cars but the lastest move from VW cannot go unnoticed. As sponsor of the 25th anniversary of shark week on the Discovery Channel they’ve built an underwater shark cage in the shape of the new beetle.
The new videogame “Splinter Cell: Double Agent” features a series of in-game product placement by Nivea. The brand aims at reaching the male 18- to 34-year-old market by featuring its product in the main character’s hotel bathroom as well as through in-game billboards with slogans like “There are many faces of evil. Don’t let yours be one of them” or “The ‘Good Guy’ almost never has a beard” etc… An extremely basic mini-site and a series of online sweepstakes are also part of the promotional effort. While the investment in in-game product placement could be considered interesting, the implementation of the campaign on the web looks rather weak. I believe much more could have been done to promote both the videogame and the link with the Nivea brand. Also the prize “meet the game developers” is not really appealing, not even to hard-core gamers which probably aren’t even in the Nivea’s target audience.
Product placement evolves and meets online video. Mediapost reports CBS will put a bonus scene from CSI: Miami on its website featuring a plot twist that will not be revealed to television viewers until later in the season. This is already a smart marketing move for the broadcaster, but the the big news for advertisers is that the bonus scene page will be sponsored by General Motors’ Hummer brand of trucks which will also actually appear in the bonus scene itself. This is actually something that confirms there is life after the 30 seconds commercial, and that product placement can be done in more sophisticated (and smart ways) than just showing a guy drinking a Coke in a popular tv series.
Hollywood and Madison Avenue call it “brand integration”, but it’s just an euphemism used to hide product placement. The upcoming Tv season will be full of ads outside the traditional 30-seconds spots. The New York Times explores the characteristics of “product placement 2.0″ where “advertisers and their representatives are increasingly working with a show’s writers and producers and the network’s ad sales staff to incorporate products into the story lines of scripted shows as part of more elaborate marketing deals.”
USAToday reports marketers have started placing products in other marketer’s commercials. You might say this is just a natural market evolution, a new way of coming up with co-marketing ideas. Someone calls it the commercials’ colonization, but the point is it is actually just a way to spare some money when planning a campaign. You share the expenses, you might share the success, as the combination Starbucks Frappuccino and Michael Bublè managed to do. Again, the traditional TV commercial is dead.
The International Herald Tribune reports Italian automaker is investing in product placement. The new Grande Punto will be featured in a new video game and another Fiat car, the Panda, will make an appearance in the next James Bond movie. The move is part of a corporate strategy to improve the brand image and make it more trendy, in order to attract young consumer. Fiat’s leader Lapo Elkann (the grandson of Giovanni Agnelli) who is only 27 years old, has already started selling the brand name on sweaters and shoes, having this way thousand young people advertising “for free” Fiat on the streets.
I must start by saying I have a negative attitude towards product placement in movies, because most of the times it’s done in a stupid way. Fortunately I’m not the only one thinking product placement is going to far. Rance Crain, editor in chief of Advertising Age wrote an interesting article yesterday on movies becoming “one gigantic product placement” and consumers getting tired of paying to watch a movie full of advertisements. Now there is also a new source of stress for movie lovers: Bluetooth promotional kiosks eager to connect with their mobile phones while they wait for the movie in theater lobbies. The New York Times reports 20th Century Fox has signed a deal with Loews Cineplex Entertainment to distribute movie trailers, ring tones and pictures through kiosks in three Loews theaters, in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. To me, the only good thing about this kind of initiative is that if you’re really interested in this such goodies, at least you get the content for free. Actually I’m not against Bluetooth technology used to deliver (permission-based!) marketing messages, I’m just against movies becoming an advertising show. If you’re interested in movies and product placement read also this: “Must love dogs” becomes product placement bonanza
Germany seems to have a problem with product placement. An article on Deutsche Welle (in English!) points out that is getting more and more difficult to distinguish editorial content from advertising. Recently a polemic has emerged when it became clear that public Tv network ARD was broadcasting a soap opera (Marienhof) full of hidden promotional messages. Unfortunately the product placement “problem” is not limited to Germany, and the EU commission has started considering the issue. Brand Channel recently published an interesting article on brands and movie advertising moving beyond product placement deals.
MUD, MMOG, videogames, there are a lot of new places where you can place your ads on. Online video game advertising hasn’t just come in the form of product placements, says Tessa Wegert on ClickZ, analysing the opportunities for advertising offered by the entertainment industry. If you want to reach young male consumers, product placement in videogames is what you need. Let’s just hope these actions won’t lower the games quality has it is happening in the movie industry…
Tom Hespos wrote yesterday about advergame, maybe not exactly about advergames but, more in general, about the potentials of videogames for advertisers. He comes up with a new perspective on the matter, which I believe is rather interesting. He takes the issue a step further, not considering only advergames and product placement (remember Intel and the Sims?), but suggests brands to think about full game sponsorships. In his excellent analysis, Tom says:“While some marketers are paying game developers for product placement, I haven’t seen anyone completely underwrite the cost of a game and distribute it at no- or low-cost to end users.”
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