In a time when brands must move comfortably across contexts to extend their relevance and engage consumers, Lady Gaga's mind is prime real estate. Her latest brainchild, a 10-minute long mini-film for "Telephone," is a product placement hotbed. Miracle Whip, Virgin Mobile, Diet Coke, HP, Polaroid, Wonder Bread, and the dating Web site Plenty Of Fish all co-star, shaped by the artist into a surreal mashup that confirms the importance of brand to our cultural dialogue.
Tag: product placement
Most national brands are strategically positioned at the national Web level with strong awareness and branding, but these companies often lack insight into how their brands are represented at this level. Their local presence becomes clear when you conduct local searches on national brands using the “Local Web Test.”
Inspired by Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock's bold new documentary about the ubiquity of branding messages in our daily lives, we embark on our own no-holds-barred exploration of the relationship between content and advertising.
Where have all the marketing strategists gone? Perhaps the downturn has forced marketers into a more tactical mode; perhaps the lack of strategy is due to leaner teams trying to execute more for less. Whatever the reason, marketing strategy seems to have all but disappeared from the marketing skill set. And this gap has huge implications for marketing effectiveness. When strategy is neglected, the price paid is beyond just dollars out the door; the price comes in terms of fewer opportunities from the target market, lower inquiry rates, and fewer sales conversions.
The fact that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, the new agency on “Mad Men,” has landed the Pond’s cold cream account is not the only ad news to come out of “Mad Men” this week. AMC, the cable channel that presents the series about the ad industry — and America — in the 1960s has made a deal with a giant marketer, Unilever, for a season-long sponsorship agreement. The agreement, for undisclosed terms, is centered on six commercials being created in the “Mad Men” vein for six Unilever products. Brands like BMW, Canada Dry and Clorox have previously tailored commercials for the show, but this is believed to be the first deal to involve multiple products from the same marketer.
Lady Gaga has given a boost to Virgin Mobile and Miracle Whip via her video hit, Telephone, which has already been viewed 63 million times on YouTube. There’s nothing new to product placements like these – but what is new in this growing trend is the prominent positioning of brands in a clear bid for additional revenue.
Mr. Yospe was not a screenwriter, not a producer, not even a studio executive. No, Mr. Yospe was a lawyer with the firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. He was meeting with the writer-producer Roberto Orci, who co-wrote “Transformers” and “Star Trek,” to talk about how to include brands in “The 28th Amendment.”
The day when commercials are indistinguishable from the programs they support finally arrived -- just before 10 p.m. Eastern last Thursday night. That's when an ad for Dr Pepper ran after NBC's insider-y sitcom "30 Rock," making use of recurring character Dr. Spaceman, played by comic Chris Parnell. In the spot, which was paired with a more-traditional TV commercial for the soda, Mr. Parnell's fictional medical practitioner decried boredom and told viewers how drinking Dr Pepper could banish it. A few moments later, viewers saw the credits roll for "30 Rock." Staffers from "30 Rock" were not involved in the creation of the commercial, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The Association of National Advertisers' annual TV & Everything Video Forum is supposed to be a place where marketers gather to figure out where the business of TV advertising is going. That quest has yet to be completed. But this year, advertisers had no trouble showing us where TV has already gone. Speaker after speaker lined up example after example of shockingly intrusive pacts that placed -- nay, shoved -- commercial messages deep into programming.
The world's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, and Procter & Gamble, the world's biggest consumer-products maker, are jointly creating a made-for-TV movie, in an effort to promote "family-friendly" alternatives to what they say is increasingly risqué TV fare. The two advertising heavyweights have teamed up on the two-hour "Secrets of the Mountain," to be broadcast in April on NBC. The movie, which focuses on a single mother who brings her family to a mountainside cabin, highlights values—such as generosity, honesty and togetherness—that Wal-Mart and P&G executives say are in short supply on television.
Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air" prominently features the film's star, George Clooney, in its marketing materials, while Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick have been getting a lot of awards buzz for their roles in the new Paramount drama. But two other unique co-stars are getting just as much screen time and attention.
This week Microsoft pulled the plug on plans to sponsor a half-hour variety show produced by Seth MacFarlane, creator of the Fox comedy Family Guy. The idea was to promote its latest operating system, Windows 7, on what was tentatively called Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show, without commercial interruption. But after attending an Oct. 16 taping, and feeling the brunt of its characteristic off-color humor, Microsoft execs got cold feet. "It became clear that the content was not a fit with the Windows brand," says a Microsoft spokesperson, who won't disclose details about the nature of the sponsorship. Fox still plans to run the show, but with another, as yet unnamed, sponsor.
After a U.S. senator was shot on Fox's drama "24" this year, another character blurted out the make and model of the assassin's submachine gun. The German brand had been prominent in so many episodes of "24" that gun-enthusiast bloggers, among others, speculated whether the company was paying to advertise on the show.
With so many companies in the past few years talking about producing online video and other forms of "branded entertainment," I'm amazed by how people often talk about these trends as if they are new. Radio and early television was full of "product placement" and shows produced directly through the subsidy of major brands, such as The Philco Playhouse and Texaco Star Theater. Nowhere has this trend taken greater hold than the soap opera, where the blend of art and commerce is clear from the very title given to the shows. From their early 1930s radio debut and through the "golden era" of broadcast television, soap operas were the consistent daytime juggernaut that fueled experimentation in primetime.
As advertisers reconsider the value of traditional television commercials and product placement, many aim to weave their brands into entertainment in new, enduring ways. Jon Kamen is the chairman and CEO of @radical.media, a company that produces television programs, films and commercials. Kamen chose five examples of companies that have effectively integrated entertainment into their brands.
Viva, attempting to counter sales erosion from private label, is positioning its paper towels as a companion to food, not just a mechanism to clean up after it. Central to the effort is a deal with Food Network celebrity cook Sunny Anderson that includes 30-second interstitials showing her using the paper towels as a way to enhance the experience of utensil-free eating. Those segments show Anderson, star of Food Network’s Cooking for Real series, preparing her tomato and mozzarella bruschetta by using a Viva towel to squeeze moisture from basil leaves. In another segment, she suggests using coasters made from Viva towels to jazz up red pepper salami bites.
Fans of the AMC's Mad Men know that the show, about fictional 1960s advertising agency Sterling Cooper, names other real-life agencies and brands to achieve some verisimilitude. What they may not know is that some of those are actual product placements.
When Audi was looking to win screen time for one of its cars in this year's crop of summer films, it turned to Ruben Igielko-Herrlich, whose Geneva-based shop, Propaganda Global Entertainment Marketing, helps companies place their products in films, TV shows, and games.
Five years after the publication of Madison & Vine, my book on the convergence of entertainment and advertising, branded content remains one of the least-understood and easiest-to-scoff-at marketing disciplines.
The line between advertisers and entertainment producers is rapidly blurring in China, as many brands go online with their own films and Web series, taking advantage of the shortage of popular shows on China's state-controlled TV.
As it goes into its third season as a smash TV hit across the mainland, the Chinese version of "Ugly Betty" is also pioneering new levels of product-placement clutter. The show is set in an advertising agency rather than a fashion magazine, which enables the program to focus on all manner of products and their attributes. Mateo Eaton, who heads the branded-content division of Mindshare North Asia, acknowledged that the dense placements are a bit over the top, but advertisers -- and the TV producers they're paying -- aren't complaining at all.
Here's the precise moment that brand integration died for me.
In the 1950s, network censors forbade Lucille Ball — whose real-life pregnancy was being incorporated into the plot of “I Love Lucy” — from using the word “pregnant,” so she said she was “expecting” instead. Today, though, the topic so permeates prime time that First Response, the leading home pregnancy test, is getting something unheard-of a few years ago: product placement.
Vespa is in the mood for a little bromance with onscreen brand integration in the Paramount comedy I Love You, Man. Vespa is also kicking off a contest on MySpace, and will award the scooter used in the movie to a BFF who can show he’ll go the distance for his buddy.
There is a lengthy list of agencies that are famous though fake, invented for popular television series about advertising. Among them are Sterling Cooper, from “Mad Men”; McMann & Tate, from “Bewitched”; DAA, from “Thirtysomething”; and Livingston Gentry & Mishkin, from “Bosom Buddies.” Beginning on Monday, the TNT cable channel hopes to add Rothman Greene & Mohr to those ranks as it introduces a weekly series, “Trust Me.”