Way back in 2010, we were all astonished by the sheer cheek and volume of product placement in Lady Gaga’s audacious ‘Telephone’ video. The 9-minute short film, sound-tracked by Gaga and Beyoncé’s chart smash featured products from Virgin Mobile to Coca-Cola and beyond, not at all subtly hidden.
But last week we saw product placement soar to a whole new height in the music video world. Universal music group have now penned a contract with UK advertising giants MirriAd to permit the use of ‘retrospective product placement’ in their artist’s music videos.
MirriAd, who create advertising for the so-called “skip generation”, have concocted an invasive ploy to digitally work brands into scenes within music videos. Their motive: to overcome the fact that the majority of music video-watchers actively skip advertisements that play before the video begins.
Video Ga Ga
The technology will even allow brands to drop their products into music videos already in existence. But where will this stop? Let’s just hope we’re not going to see Freddy Mercury prancing around in ‘I Want To Break Free’ with a brand spanking new Dyson Cinetic instead of his vintage Hoover Floormax…or whatever the exact relic was.
The first use of the technology will be in an upcoming Avicii video where apparently a mass of Grand Marnier bottles will appear, before being removed from the promo once their marketing campaign ends. The video will then be open to other brands to have their product displayed instead (picture the Swedish EDM titan going from knocking back cognac liqueur to hydrating responsibly with an iced Volvic).
Shaken and stirred
But has product placement ever really felt comfortable? I can’t help think back to watching James Bond order a bottle of Heineken in 2012’s Skyfall over his archetypal vodka martini and feeling scammed. The whole concept is a multi-billion pound business, but it’s just never done subtly or smoothly and will surely induce plenty of cringing around the globe when it makes its way into our Vevo playlists.
With the additional announcement of feature film-like censorship to make its way into music video circulation, we are certainly beginning to see a whole new dawn in the way we view this form of musical promo. Let’s just hope it doesn’t hurt too much.
Watch the demo video from MirriAd below, and prepare to be invaded: