As VEVO announces plans to retroactively place brands into existing music videos, FRUKT asks whether this kind of meddling with the musical time space continuum will usher in a new lease of life for music videos or create a dangerous paradox that even the most well equipped Delorean can’t escape from.
The humble music video has a long history of brand integration, whether you hark back to Californian hair metal group Autograph bankrolling their entire music video in the 80s via a blatant Parker pen placement, Lady Gaga squeezing everything from dating websites to mayonnaise brands into her epic Telephone video, right up to the spate of progressive collaborative placements we’ve seen from the likes of Smirnoff, Volvo and Fiat.
(“Oh, my new Sony phone is ringing,” says Avril Lavigne in the opening to the video above for 'Rock N Roll', showcasing just how integral product placement has become to music videos)
These placement deals, which all vary in terms of complexity and on screen visibilty, have one thing in common - they are all one-offs. Partnerships with finite financial gain for an artist, which sits somewhat at odds with the unrivalled legacy and longevity a brand receives as part of the bargain.
Enter Mirriad, the veritable flux capacitor at the heart of the newly evolving music video product placement business. The company, which specialises in retrofitting brands into existing content, recently partnered with VEVO and its 250 million monthly viewers, demonstrating its smart placement skills by dropping a Levi’s billboard into the Aloe Blacc video for ‘The Man’. It’s seamless, credible and contextualized – arguably much more so than the more heavy handed Beats music service placement at the beginning of the video.
So, will this now spell the end of the unspoken ‘in perpetuity’ contract that comes bundled in with most music video placements? Could artists/labels potentially now sell in situ ad space with time restrictions, leveraging new brands as deals expire? It would seem so.
A bigger question here is whether ongoing music videos will be built specifically to facilitate this multi partnership tiering of brand integration? If so, perhaps we should anticipate a glut of street scences, blank walls and wide-angle outdoor shots to appear in videos from here on in to accommodate the ensuing raft of perpetually changing brand content.
Only time will tell.