Because the music industry apparently hasn’t sold enough of its soul, someone has figured out a way to stick new products into classic music videos. So don’t be surprised if at some point in the near future you see Nirvana singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with an actual stick of Teen Spirit.
In a bizarre but not all that surprising native-advertising deal announced Monday, Universal Music Group (UMG) said it will allow companies to unleash a bit of retroactive product placement into its online repertoire, meaning viewers may soon see unwanted brand images superimposed on familiar music videos posted to YouTube. The plan is part of an agreement between UMG and Mirriad, a company that integrates products, signage and “other forms of branded assets” into video content. Mirriad has been introducing ads into older content since 2008. Its deal with UMG will allow companies like Coca-Cola, Dish Network, LG and other Mirriad clients to insert their products into select videos online and on mobile devices.
A video by the Swedish DJ artist Avicii will be the first to use the technology, and will feature an image of the liquor brand Grand Marnier, the Independent reported. Currently UMG has yet to announce plans to pollute classic videos with new products, so there’s no need to panic. But given the sheer size of UMG’s catalog, the sky is the limit. UMG, a subsidiary of the French conglomerate Vivendi SA, is the largest music company in the world. It owns dozens of record companies, including A&M Records, Def Jam Recordings and Virgin Records, and has a roster that includes everyone from Justin Bieber and Jay Z to the Rolling Stones and John Coltrane.
In an age when more and more consumers are using DVRs to bypass commercials, Mirriad touts itself as a company that creates ads for the “skip generation.” Spending on product placement has surged in recent years, and hit nearly $10 billion in 2012, research from PQ Media indicates.
So is this an innovative way for brands to been seen in the age of DVRs or a dangerous slippery slope? Watch Mirriad’s promo video below and decide for yourself.