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

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tis the season for RE-RUNS!

It's the holiday season, which means it's time for shopping! And perhaps one of the most important time for advertisers. Which item will be the must-have this year? Every product wants to be number one on this list.

But what does a company do when all that's on television are RE-RUNS!? According to a Mediapost article, December is the second most popular period for re-runs, with 45% of programming already seen. (Summer is number one, with 75% re-runs.) So if there are less shows that capture attention--if "Lost" and "Prison Break" are on hiatus until the new year...

Where will the advertisements go? What product placement can be done if there are no new shows on to place the hot new products in? Well the season is a time for product placement and television advertising to take a back seat to print and internet advertising.

According to research from MORI for the Newspaper Association of America, print advertising is one of the most popular when making a purchase, with the most popular day being Sunday. Even consumers making 100K+ consult with newspaper advertising, with internet advertising being in a close second.

So that's some food for thought. Here my blog is all about how product placement and branded content is the new age of advertising when it is the good-old-fashioned print ads that take the cake--and the Christmas cookies--especially during the holiday season.

For some more stats on newspaper advertising and it's great popularity, check out the Center for Media Research.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Broadband Commercials

First, there was commercials on television.

Next, commercials on broadband television.

Now, just commercials!

A new website, called adTV will be launching, with some of the biggest execs from HBO are backing it. It's not new to have "best of" or "greatest" commercial segments, but to launch an entire broadband channel based on commercials is an advertisers dream. There will be classic commercials and old ones mixed in to draw in people for the memory lane value.

Again, we have Youtube to thank! They started the trend of putting short segments,, copyrighted or not, for public access. The owners of this adTV venture are hoping the same audience from the Youtube viewership will be logging time on the new ad website. Youtube has a mix of used generated content and published and copyrighted material. Hey, this new ad site might actually work, since it's all obtained legally. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 17, 2006


I think I have come up with a formula for movie and television success.

If movie or television show has no product placement,
then it is a success!

I realized this while I was watching the first season of the OC, a Fox television show. Four years ago, when the show first began, there was quite a bit of product placement. Last night when I was watching the first season of the show, I noticed the products. But when I watched the new episode last night, there was none. Since the show has gotten so successful, I believe they have taken out the product placement. Ads during this time slot are expensive enough!

Though the OC does not have any more product placement, it's still a huge source of revenues.
Marketers shelled out 71% more, a hefty $941 million, to integrate brands into TV shows in 2005 vs. 2004 (from USA Today).

But the successful movie have shown the same trend in loosing the product placementPirateses of thCaribbeanan II has no product placement, whatsoever (from! This was also the highest grossing movie of the summer. I havdefinitelyly spotted this as a trend.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sony releases free movie clips!

The Youtube trend has really taken hold of online media, along with the rise of social networking websites like Myspace. Sony has jumped on the bandwagon this week by releasing movie clips to a video sharing site called Grouper. From this site, people can post the movie clips on their own personal web pages.

While Sony is latching onto the rise in video sharing popularity, I think they are doing a lot of things right with this promotion. They have released only their own copyrighted material. Sony movies like "Jerry McGuire" and "Taxi Driver" are property of Sony pictures. These movies, along with about 100 more, are available for others to watch and use. This way, there is no lawsuits involved. All of the clips are quality, and permission is granted for download and reposting.

Sony is hoping that the clips will make users want to purchase the entire movie. It brings back old movies that no longer make a lot of revenue and makes the clips legendary and new again. People reposting and quoting the clips is an easy and free way to advertise.

The deal Sony made is advertainment gold. While users are just looking to the clips as entertainment, they are helping Sony tremendously by making people remember good quotes from movies and hoping that they will go forth and purchase the film in it's entirety.

The other side of this is that Universal Music Group recently sued Grouper for copyright infringement. I believe it's ok when a clip is posted that leaves them wanting more. It's just bad business when an entire song or show is available for download. Read more about Sony or the Universal Music Group lawsuit here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why hire an ad agency when.....

Why hire an advertising agency when there are millions of people begging to made your ad for free? Or the small compensation of a plane ride to an event, or some scholarship money. More and more companies are taking advantage of this idea, and are making advertising even more personal. It's like the Youtube concept with a little more recognition, and it's easy to see how viral this advertainment can be.

I first heard about Coke's make-an-ad while I was sitting at the movies. The fact that there are even commercials at the movies should be a whole different blog entry... But anyways, at the movie they played a commercial that a college student created and produced. It was really cute, it had little monkeys in it. HELLOOOO she received a scholarship for 30 grand. That's a pretty bad deal, if you ask me. She should raise her rates.

Now what Coke got out of this was a commercial that people would pay attention to. It's the ultimate form of advertainment. The student who produced the short film-turned-Coke-commercial has made the commercial more personal, and I'm sure her friends, family, and entire college campus is buzzing about Coke now. Probably even the entire town. Maybe the entire state! See what I'm getting at? This is entertainment in commercial form that people want to see. The contests are are ongoing, and are now available from Coke's mainpage,

The trend is really picking up right now. In October, the NFL announced that they would let the fans make the ultimate NFL Superbowl ad. It's such a great marketing idea because fans will become even more obsessed with football if their free time is spend make clips and editing a commercial of broadcast quality. Heck, it will probably attract an audience that goes beyond NFL fans. If the incentive is worth it (and in this case, who doesn't want a trip to South Florida?) then people will go for it.

JVC jumped on this bandwagon today, announcing a contest for the best home-made commercial (read more). This is really creating awareness of the product by turning commercials into entertainment. The fact that it is entertainment by our peers makes the desire to see these commercials even higher.

Thanks to sites like Youtube and Myspace, user-generated content is very high in popularity. If some stupid video of a Diet Coke and Mentos explosion can gain so much attention, only imagine what a well-though out, carefully produced clip will do for the company.

Of course, there is always a downside to everything. When Chevrolet announced a contest to create the best ad, some great material was submitted--along with commercials criticizing the Tahoe and it's massive fuel use. These commercials then circulated on the internet, proving that branded entertainment, combined with the viral effect of user-generated internet site, creates material that people will want to see. Hopefully it's the material that the company wants them to see.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A little extreme?

Some companies take advertising to the extreme. While being creative is key, I can think of some companies that go to great lengths to appear appealing to Americans. The 7/11 chain of convenience stores/gas stations is one of these companies that have the need to please.

I first learned that the the 7/11 chain had free Big Gulps on July 11th, their birthday! What a great way to make customers happy. But apparently that may not be enough. About a month ago the 7/11 chain announced that because the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez called president Bush the devil, they would no longer carry Venezuelan based gasoline. How does a company that goes from Slurpees become the most politically active gas station in America? I think a ploy for a little product placement in the news might have made some product placement in the political world. A world otherwise untapped by gas station chains.

7/11 really does take huge strides in making their chain prosper. The Chicago White Sox baseball team cannot even begin their home games until 7:11pm, because the chain is their biggest sponsor. The 7/11 company comes up with ways to get different audiences to take notice of the 7/11 brand. I think bringing up political agendas and postponing major league baseballs games are just a little bit extreme.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Up in SMOKE!

Last week I discussed how clever the alcohol companies are in their advertising schemes. I wish I could say the same about cigarette companies. I got this idea from the movie Thank You for Smoking. While watching the movie I got to thinking about smoking in movies, and how it still, STILL has not died out! While watching the movie, my friend told me that a teacher of his had once told him that people smoke after sex, because movies made it look cool! So I have decided to investigate.

I watch Sex in the City and see Sarah Jessica Parker puffing away on her Marb Lights. Brokeback Mountain has huge amounts of smoking. While I watched both of these shows, I always think how smoking neither adds nor takes away from the show. It is just completely pointless. Yet still, young people, ages 10-14 report that they have started smoking because of what they see in movies. And apparently, since 1998, cigarette product placement has been forbidden in movies, according to this article from And according to another source against smoking in movies, whether a company pays for a specific brand to be used, or no money is exchanged and generic white cancer sticks poke out of their lips, the result for the desire of cigarettes is just as devastating.

But cigarette companies are still carrying out their destructive deeds through product placement. Movie industry executives who participate in this are just corrupt. Like I said before, smoking adds absolutely nothing to a movie. Alcohol ads are often funny. They are clever. They produce many things that are tangible, like coasters and beer mugs and signs and lamps and t-shirts for decoration.

What do cigarette companies do? Try to blacken the lungs of more consumers. Younger consumers. Check out the latest movies with cig product placement. This list even identifies the specific brand that the movie is promoting. This is just crazy and old fashioned. I think movie executives need to eliminate this type of advertising, altogether. I just seems so old fashioned, and it the sole focus of product placement for most cigarette companies.