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

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Product placement and sponsored content is taking over the media. What used to be just commercials has evolved to cover all of the fronts: TV shows, movies, video games; the possibilities are limitless. Product placement and sponsored content is so common that it's almost impossible to count. Sometimes it's even hard to notice the product placement, intricately woven into many sources of media.

The rise of product placement and sponsored content is partly attributed to the concurrent popularity of TiVo, and a public need to bypass commercials and get straight to the show. Product placement is a way to expose the audience to products without getting skipped over. From the rise of Youtube to the creation of online TV channels, it is obvious there is a nationwide trend to bypass advertising, with a counteractive trend to make it unavoidable.

Youtube has been one of the biggest topics of conversation within the media world. The company that has become huge within a matter of months was snatched up by Google, only to present a number of topics concerning legality of content. Televisions shows can be seen for free on the site, sans commercials. consistently--to this day--questions how a site like Youtube is helping out commercial sponsors. Like TiVo, Youtube is a way for users to view what they would like without suffering through a commercial break.

And so Youtube ignited a spark in the minds of media executives. The site that became huge though viral marketing brought rise to other companies hoping to capitalize on the online video sharing trend. lists that negotiations are currently being made regarding the acquisition of Metacafe, another online video sharing site. It would include the same concept of Youtube, except would be directly sponsored by television channels. The site would include commercials that could not be avoided. This deal demonstrates that Youtube is broken. Advertisers need a platform, and a site that mimics Youtube fixes the broken detail of rampant online video sharing.

The online trend of sponsored content flourished from the onset of the Youtube deal. MTV recognized the difficulty of getting the fickle teen audience to view commercials, so they posted the finale of a show online only, making sure there was no way the ads would be missed. Budweiser has similarly placed ad-ridden content on the net in the form of the TV channel, Then there was The site, backed by HBO executives, has only ads. No shows. It's a reversal that media companies are willing to try because of all the technology that has given viewers the power to press fast forward.

Media companies have become more willing to take risks because of the lack of ad exposure. The book that OJ Simpson had published, along with the subsequent interview that was set to air on television, was a ploy to increase ratings and ad revenues by FOX. They wanted to gain a lot of attention in the form of shock value. They wanted viewers glued to their seats as OJ talked about how he would have gone about basically admitting to murder. This is the unconventionality that some outlets have resortein orderorder to keep bringing in commercial sponsors.

Examples of how media companies attempt to force commercials on the world show a holistic convergence in media that spawns from an increase of technology. The same television show today can show up online, on satellite radio, or on a podcast. There are so many more options for media acquisition. There are also so many more options to avoid the advertisements that have always been institutionalized within the media. Advertisers are aware of the new technologies, and have become sneakier in getting the ads through to the eyes and ears of the consumer.

Television and radio alike have been taken over by a new generation of technology savvy people with a willingness to try new things. This leaves advertisers with the problem of TiVo, XMradio, and a general pace that is simply too fast for a commercial break. Product placement has grown tremendously within television and movies, and sponsored content has taken over the World Wide Web. With the net reigning as one of the most popular advertising platforms, television, radio, and advertisements have all come together online to represent a hybrid of media. Consumers get the immediacy that they desire, while ads get the exposure they were meant for. The convergence is an ongoing trend in media that has brought advertisers to come to think unconventionally in regards to ad placement. With ever evolving technology, it takes a great deal of thinking outside of the box to reach this new generation of media consumers.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Eveyone Wants Their Own Youtube

After Google acquired Youtube, the thought of how huge online media sharing has become sparked the imagination of a few television exec's. Now rumor has it (as reported by that an undisclosed group of buyers want to purchase the Israel based video sharing site, Metacafe.

The site currently runs like Youtube, with user-generated videos posted for all the world to see. If acquired, the site would be a host to television clips exclusively from the networks that purchase it. Because the site would be a legitimate source of television clips, the commercials that run during television would be present as well. The rise of sponsored content on the internet lives on as more and more television networks are offering exclusive clips online.

But the deal only has a 50-50 chance of actually happening. The TV exec's are having second thoughts, because no matter what, the television clips will not be so exclusive once placed on the internet. The networks worry that their material will be uploaded and shared so that the sponsors of these clips will be cut out, altogether.

But Youtube still reigns supreme. Casting a shadow over this deal, the potential buyers of Metacafe are unsure if their site is enticing enough to trump Youtube. I guess this story is to be continued.....

You can check out more details of the potential buy at

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's a bird, it's a plane....

It's a Jeep Wrangler!!!!!!!

There are oh-so-many sights to see in NYC. We've got some subways plastered with red targets (Target logo). There's the neverending saga of the bus completely wrapped in an ad. But how often do you see an actual product, hanging off a billboard?

This billboard in NYC is enormous. Not that this is really sponsored content, but of all the things one ought to call product placement, THIS is product placement!!! It's the most eye catching thing on the block. Forget about the spectaculars it's just so out of place looking.

So now to get to my point. Times Square is getting more bang for your advertising buck. This Jeep ad is just amazing--people in the area will look at it. But it's such a popular place, maybe it will make it into a movie? And perhaps if you ever tune into MTV's Total Request Live, you'll see it again. It's like free product placement, especially on TRL, because it's just there. People watching the show are going to see it over and over and over again, every day until the billboard is gone. So yes, Times Square is an expensive place for a billboard, but TRL is one of MTV's most popular afternoon shows. What a deal.

Friday, December 01, 2006

OJay, now what?

So lately O.J. Simpson has been trying a to get publicity with his new book, If I Did It. The book, which was set to be promoted with an interview on FOX, was cancelled altogether. So from the aspect of sponsored content, who the heck is going to want to back/ promote/ advertise/ publish/ interview this man who allegedly admits that he did in fact kill his wife in this book.

I found the answer to one of those questions. Who would publish such a book? Judith Reagan, former writer for the National Enquirer, current head of Reagan Books publishing. After the books were shipped, they were recalled (what good taste she does have). The boxes were supposed to be returned, unopened. I give it a week before I see the pirated copy on the internet.

Now with one question resolved, next comes advertising. Who would really back this program? The :30 spots were each $200,000 a pop. Websites like were reported to be grabbing up the ad space. Proof that if there is a controversial event, some company will try to cash in. But the 8 million in ad revenues is nothing for FOX. The channel didn't cancel the program because of a lack of interest for advertisers.

The channel cancelled the program because it had the potential of doing exactly the opposite of what they had intended. Set to air on a November sweeps week, the program was meant to bring in some viewership. Instead, it seems that it may have taken some away, with people who were really disappointed with the networks choice to air that interview. I guess Fox will have to wait till the next season of American Idol to get their big revenues, to get back their Coke sponsor, and to command a large viewership.