I was recently in a conversation on Twitter with some people from the #usguys group about the ROI of product placement in moves/tv shows. The conclusion was that it overall was not worth the investment. Thoughts included the lack of an actual call to action as well as the uncontrolled ‘rerun’ phase of any show/movie displaying outdated products or campaigns.

So where does this leave the future of product placement?

Right now viral videos are the rage of the web, and the next stage of product placement. The world has seen the ‘Old Spice Guy’ ads (and their predecessors) and their followups on YouTube, where its both a forthright commercial and viral ‘uncommercial’ campaigns. So we know that having a unique, funny or invocative video works. But only a small percentage actually get to the ‘viral’ stage.

So how does a company get its brand into the viral whirlwind? What about viral manipulation. Say a video of a skateboarder crashing into a no-name pop machine goes viral. Anyone watching the internets can see it building in its viralness. As its shared and reshared around the net, the no-name pop machine suddenly becomes a Pepsi dispensing machine. Ah the magic of digital video manipulation. Now its a viral video featuring a product. Is this the next step of product placement? Piggy backing on rising stars? Viral videos have the advantage of a short shelf life, making them work well with a brand’s campaign. This is of course just hypothetical (unless you know of this happening…then I take full credit).

You thoughts?? Can companies make placements work in the future?

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