My thoughts on sponsored content, product placement, branded entertainment, and advertainment.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Being a 19-year-old college student, I never go into bars. Yet somehow, plenty of bar paraphernalia has infiltrated my apartment. I have Molson coasters, and Budweiser mugs from a local pub. This is an advertisers dream come true. For the few cents it costs to make these products, people will use and reuse them. Steal them, and pass them on to friends. I have a friend whose whole kitchen glass set consists of those Budweiser mugs stolen from the bar.

Alcohol companies have such great ideas when it comes to advertainment and sponsored content. I have previously mentioned, a website that will open after the upcoming superbowl with television shows, music, and comedy. The free stuff that the companies give away promote the brand even further.

Alcohol companies are also notorious for sponsoring entire events. In Ithaca, the team 100 Proof Promotions has Absolut Vodka sponsoring all of the events that they hold. The parties hosted by the 100 Proof team are often among the most popular events in the Ithaca nightlife. And all of the flyers and advertisements have the Absolut bottle prominent for all to see.

In Utica, NY, home of the Saranac Brewing Co., they have sponsored more than just events. They have an entire street decorated with beer banners! The street, Varick Street, is also home to many pubs and bars. On Thursdays, the company closes down the street to hold "Saranac Thursdays," in which Saranac is celebrated even more. The best part is just the name. People do not go out to go to the bars, the do not to go Varick St. to party. They go to Saranac Thursdays (yay, sponsorship). The name alone being referred to is great WOM.

So, great job, alcohol companies! Even underage kids like me have Budweiser mugs now!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ithaca College Product Placement

This is going to be a pessimistic post. If you do not wish to continue reading, direct your mouse to the red "X" in the right hand corner of your screen.

Ok, so now that I have weeded out those who aren't up for pessimism, I feel I need to address product placement at Ithaca College. Though we are an educational institution, the college still must promote and advertise itself like any other product. This is simply the way in which students are attracted. Yes, the school has some "bragging rights," but incoming students don't always know what they are getting themselves into.

To begin with, the alumni are always celebrated. After all, the CEO from Disney is an IC grad! You walk through the halls of IC and you see the plaques. You see the Ithacan hanging on the walls. During tours, the guides repeat the same things about how hands-on the school is. The schools ad is always a full-color page in all of the college pamphlets.

I spent an entire half hour in a room with journalism students today, who complained about their high expectations and low academic results. I believe many colleges are guilty of product placement, or even puffery in their accomplishments. Not every student who graduates from a college with a good reputation is guaranteed success. It takes initiatives to get internships or work on college publications.

I do not think this is a bad school! However, I do think that this is something all colleges are guilty of. Ithaca College in ranked number 7 in the best colleges in the northeast. I just feel that colleges need to take it down a notch when puffing up the school.

Friday, October 20, 2006

MTV has a new popular TV show-- "Two A Days." So I did a little math...

-Popular show = lots of advertising interest
-Popular show + TiVo = Nobody sees the advertisements
-Therefore, a popular show means nobody will see the advertising for it!

MTV found a way to make sure the fans would see the advertisements. On MTV Overdrive, a section of the site dedicated to multimedia, they posted the final episode. Only only. So if you wanted the clincher, you had to visit the website to watch. And while you can fast forward and rewind through the show, you can't do anything about the commercials! You can't stop, pause, rewind, or fast forward. The only way not to watch the commercials is to X-out of the window.

This is good supporting evidence to go along with the idea that the future of media lies in the internet. MTV had a really good idea, because any fan of the show would watch, and the commercials would be seen, no matter what. The site also has a lot of unique content, all of which has commercials embedded that are skip-proof. Great idea MTV!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Still unsure about GoogTube

Not to jump the gun, but a few posts back I wrote about how I thought Google buying was a bad idea. Basically because it contains so much copyrighted material, its an infringement suit waiting to happen.

So lately has been discussing some of their opinions, and went as far as to say that the purchase was one of the biggest blunders in Google history. I readily agree with this opinion. They listed the following key points to failure:
1. YouTube is young, the market is young.
2. It only has 65 employees.
and 3. The legal issues.

While I do commend Google for taking a risk, and realize that 1.6B is pocket change for the company, I feel very uneasy about the copyrighted material available on the site. Being in this young age demographic, I like YouTube because it has very few ads, and there is such a wide array of free material available. I can even watch Desperate Housewives on YouTube. This is a copyright infringement. If YouTube takes off, like it is projected to, I'm sure there will be more ads and either the copyrighted material will be removed, commercials will be placed within the shows, or viewing the shows will cost money. I hate to reiterate myself, but it's like Napster. And nobody uses Napster anymore.

Next I would like to point out another idea put forth by, in an article titled, "Why aren't we talking about YahooTube?" The article argues that Yahoo would seemingly be pursuing YouTube as well, if it were such a worthwhile venture. But it did not. The article gave five reasons, one which you will now be enlightened by:
1. Yahoo is a media company.
"YouTube does not produce original content. In fact, it is little more than a video hosting site -- maybe, maybe you could call it a video search engine."

This is my number one concern, as is a concern of critics of the YouTube sale. Yahoo prides itself on originality. Yahoo is in the works banging out a deal to have some integration with And they already own and, which are two very reputable sites.

Now I do not think that the Yahoo empire is any stronger, and obviously not any bigger than the reigns of Google. However, Yahoo is focused on originality, quality, and resourcefulness. YouTube is a bunch of crappy home videos or copyrighted materials. I have a feeling this post is to be continued...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Video Game Advertising

My little brother got a new video game this week. I watched just because I haven't seen him in a while. So this new game mimicking the movie "Scarface" had me thinking: this is a great way to reach a huge market. He was talking about the cars, the different brands, and the different places in Miami that were in the game setting. Almost lifelike, he cruised the Miami streets. It was as close to reality as he was getting, this lazy Saturday afternoon.

I really underestimated the possibilities in video game advertising. Second Life is a popular game that advertising has become a huge element within. After being shown the website (read more about it here), I realize how much people pay attention to game content. The window in New York City which corresponds to the game is a great way to bring people in and show the Intel brand in two venues. Plus people are reporting and blogging about it. It became a huge event, though it was simply broadcast on a videogame.

Advertising in games is gaining in popularity, and I think I finally understand why. When playing a game, people are actively taking in what they see. It's even possible to learn from a game. My brother was telling me about Lamborghini features--and I don't think he's even been near one. It's not just about throwing in an ad here or there, either. He was playing a game he enjoyed, and products were placed in that game that a teenage boy would like. It's a great way to direct products at a specific target market, and unlike movies, these games are played repeatedly. Gaming is not just for teenage boys though; apparently gamers are on average of 41 years old and 52% are women.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Byebye YouTube?

As we all know by now, Google has purchased for 1.65 billion--their largest purchase to date (if you haven't heard, read all about it here). This is really interesting, considering the website is still an unprofitable startup venture and has tons of copyrighted material for free. Now, with this new deal, all of the things that I love about YouTube will probably disappear. Comparisons to Napster are already being made. I am thinking the once-free YouTube will end up a pay-for-play site, or that it will be bombarded with banners or commercials.

The whole premise of Google's purchase was the anticipated move toward internet entertainment. YouTube provides TV shows sans commercials. But with the way things are looking, it is probable that YouTube will soon present sponsored content to the viewers to make some type of advertising revenues.

Maybe not, though. Google video has been free, so far. But it also does not have the amounts of television shows and copyrighted material that YouTube currently has. YouTube has really blown up somehow, with so many people putting their own home videos up. I heard about it though wom, so interestingly enough, YouTube has spread the word without any ads. If Google begins to sponsor the content of YouTube, I think it may loose viewers. I know I would stop watching!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I recently visited NYC and completely forgot how completely overwhelming advertising is there. From the moment I stepped onto the train platform I began to notice so many ads fighting for attention. As the train whizzed down the tracks, everything outside was a blur--even the graffiti. I realized, why go through so much trouble to find a unique spot (like graffiti artists) or pay a sum of money to advertise in a place that is so out of place?

I think many advertisers have a case of product mis-placement. There is so much clutter in the advertising world that nothing had really stood out to me while I was walking around the city. Then tonight I went to see the new movie "Employee of the Month," which is set in a grocery store. The most amazing thing about the movie is the number of products that were featured, that I did not even bat an eye at. Products that are just hanging out on shelves in a movie is no way to promote an item. Because of movies like this, product placement could potentially become ignored--just like the ads I didn't acknowledge in the city (ad-jab thinks so, too). Advertising is about finding a relevant venue for the ad. Advertising is about capturing the attention of your target market. Advertising is not about nonchalantly tossing your product into a movie. Advertisers, like graffiti artists, need to look for more than that blank space among the clutter.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 has provided me with hours of entertainment! I am able to go and check out videos that I like, and based on rankings (google style,) things that I search for pop up. But the site has no ads, whatsoever. is a gold mine for user generated content. People actively consuming media are abundant online, and I feel it is a matter of time before this site has some advertising integration.

TiVo has changed the way we view commercials--because now, we don't. It's possible to avoid video advertising, altogether. But with a site like, a person is able to search for what they want. They will find things that they want to view. And if an ad is entertaining enough, it will be watched. Because the target of generally ranges from teens to twentysomethings, advertisers should take advantage and put up commercials that people can actively search for.

Making an ad specifically for a site like is a good idea. Like the Honda Element online advertisements, or, people who seek out the ads for entertainment value will be exposed to the product, and appreciate it more than someone exposed who is not interested/not paying attention at all.