From the weekend New York Times:
Product placement and other stunts and strategies to bring a sponsor into entertainment are not as recent a development as you might assume. Turner Classic Movies devoted Friday nights in March to ”product placement in the movies,” showing films like ”Gold Diggers of 1935” (one of 10 films featuring Buicks as a result of a deal between the carmaker and Warner Brothers). In the 1950’s, Cecil B. DeMille became involved with the efforts of a civic organization to put up big, marble versions of the Ten Commandments all over the country, at the very time he was filming and releasing ”The Ten Commandments.”
Considering that, once upon a time, every show in Radio was named for its sponsor, it seems to me we’re very much behind the times on this trend (for better or worse).
I have heard rumblings, for example, that a very important radio station plans to name its studios after a prominent sponsor so its morning show can come from the [insert sponsor here] studios. The pricetag? Seven figures.
Is it only a matter of time before dayparts are sponsored? How long until jocks open the mic in order to deliberately but subtly weave a sponsor’s name into an otherwise extemporaneous bridge?
Not long ago, AOL made such “invisible promos” part of their demands for sponsorship in at least one major group. Invisible promos? Or fake word-of-mouth? The beauty is definitely in its beholder’s eye.
How soon until the morning show is called “The Pepsi Morning Show, starring John Boy and Billy?”
The more listeners skip our ads, the more our ads will become integrated into our programming. TV leads the way in this regard.
It’s only a matter of time, folks. Everything old is new again.