Streamers queue up virtual product placement
Future. Film and TV streaming services are testing virtual product placement — the ability to dynamically change out products in a scene. It’s a win-win for both streamers looking for more revenue and brands wanting more control. But it may only work as long as the updated brands don’t distract from the filmmaker’s storytelling and aesthetic intent… something keen audiences will be able to spot from a mile away.
Product placements are getting an update, per Fast Company.
- Product placements are pricey — like seven figures pricey — and come with little guarantee that they’ll be used in a way that will actually make the brands happy.
- But the new tech of digitally inserting product placements is starting to pop up in streaming, where movies and shows can be dynamically edited.
- Amazon and NBCUniversal are testing virtual product placement on their services, Prime and Peacock, respectively.
The tech is already being used in shows like Amazon’s Reacher, Jack Ryan, and Bosch. In the latter, a bag of M&M’s was added to a bowl on a table. The changes can be that subtle.
But they can also be anything but subtle, such as Lexus adding 3D models of its cars to a music video for artist Mickey Singh.
Fresh ads on Friends?
Streaming is still a Wild West when it comes to advertising. Unlike typical broadcast shows, streamers aren’t yet required to follow the FCC’s rules of disclosing brand sponsorships… so brands can essentially be switched out continuously without anyone being all the wiser.
The tech gives more opportunities for brands to give product placement a shot while providing an ongoing revenue stream for productions (Stranger Things showcased 140 brands last season). Advertising lawyer Jeffrey Greenbaum notes that the tech could be “very exciting to advertisers” because “you know exactly how the brand is going to be used and how it’s going to look there.”
No brand wants another And Just Like That… incident.