Product placement for profit; narrative engineering for social control.


Never has re-scripting the narrative and manipulating history seemed so frightful and profitable.


Your favourite episodes of Friends could soon come with added product placement following the rollout of new technology that digitally inserts branded goods into pre-existing video programmes.


The technology, described as “product placement on steroids” is being premiered for Bushmills whiskey in specially created content on Vice’s Viceland TV channel, but it could also be used to introduce product placements into older shows.


The technology is the result of a partnership between Mirriad Advertising Ltd and media agency Havas Media Group, which claims it will attract $25m (£17m) in spending over the next 12 months.


“Forget intrusion, this is about creating content that becomes something of genuine interest so it’s led by content, not the product,” says Shane Ankeney, president of Arena Media US, part of Havas. “It’s a kind of product placement but on steroids.”


Using the new technology, brands can be swapped out to suit different audiences on different platforms, both on and off-line, a plus as Viceland rolls out into different territories.



Product placement today; social manipulation, tomorrow.