While watching “Fashionista Diaries” online my best friend commented on the duct tapped Pepsi cans. I’m so used to product branding that I no longer notice the obscene amount of Coca Cola cans that plague the show or the duct tapped blue ones. Her comment reminded me of how tricky product branding can be.
Product branding has been here for some time and is here to stay. But how far will it go?
It started with getting shows and movies to use your product, maybe even pitch a show idea that markets your brand. American Idol took it to the next level: It has cups; it has stripes in the background, and even a red room. The amount of product branding in reality shows makes even the most naïve of viewers understand how far from reality these shows are.
One thing is to add product advertising into a show, I can deal with that. I won’t even make an issue about product advertisement that is the show. But I was surprised when I discovered that now they are expecting us to go online to view the product show.
The surprise lasted two hot seconds: Why wouldn’t they expect us to?
The show is about the lives of four friends in L.A. The three minute online episodes are aimed at younger viewers. Those viewers that spend their time watching 1-5 minute videos on YouTube and probably spend more time in front of a computer than in front of the TV.
Going online to watch a show is not an inconvenience; it’s becoming the norm.
We haven’t seen the end of product branding and commercials disguised as shows. With the debut of Neilson commercial ratings back in May we are about to see the extent of advertisers’ creativity. The days when networks sold ad spaces by showing Neilson’s show ratings are over. A good show doesn’t mean that people actually watch the commercials. The most creative commercials will be the only ones capable of grabbing the attention of the new younger viewers. Companies are about to get really creative.
Kevin Crociata, Tide’s associate marketing director, couldn’t be closer to the truth: “If the content wasn’t entertaining, we wouldn’t be successful.”