Product placement is dead. Long live reverse product placement!

If there is advertising, why there should not be a product for it? Especially if advertising is popular with the audience (no, it is not an oxymoron). Harry Potter’s fans loved “eating” Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans or “drinking” butter beer, while reading all books by J. K. Rowling. Hasbro seized the moment and actually created those beans. The future of product placement is in the reverse product placement, mostly because of the clutter that comes with product placement as it is right now. When advertising was new and now as ubiquitous as it is today, people were watching it. It had stronger effect on their purchase decisions than it has now. The same thing is happening with product placement. Not many products could enjoy the effect of Colbert bump, i.e., when something is mentioned by Stephen Colbert in his show, it gets an instanteneous increase in Google hits. That is, apparently, what happened to many products and personas. However, a story with the usual product placement is not as simple, because product placement is no longer a new thing, it is becoming much like advertising…meaning that there is a fight for the viewer’s attention.

Nowadays, when the viewer is appalled (in the best case scenario) with the quantity of brands on the TV screen, when he or she is watching a movie or, (in the worst case scenario), when the viewer is disgusted by obvious product placement techniques that do not even bother to connect the stories of the products to the story-line of the show, product placement is in trouble. And the only thing that could save it, apparently, is reverse product placement.

“Thumbs up if Colbert report brought you here” (a most “liked” comment posted to a video on YouTube)

Right now, after Colbert’s story on Summer Eve’s magical soap, one only has to wait for the appearance of Autumnal Afternoon brand.

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