Retroplugging: putting new ads in old TV shows

Retroplugging: putting new ads in old TV shows

Picture this.

You are watching The Tingler on TV. That’s that old William Castle movie that stars Vincent Price. You already know you aren’t going to see it in Percepto! which was a gimmick where some chairs in the movie theatre would get “buzzed” during a scene in a movie theatre, so people would scream (cool, huh?).

However, when you expect the old black-and-white movie to show in the movie theatre, you still get something in black-and-white…but it’s a trailer for the next Paranormal Activity movie.

Huh? The Tingler was released decades before the first Paranormal Activity movie…how would a current trailer get in there?

Well, according to this

Entertainment Weekly article

there’s a company called


that does what it calls “Dynamic Product Placement”.

They take current products and digitally insert them into old shows. The article has pictures…like a Bad Teacher ad in a How I Met Your Mother Rerun from years ago. There wasn’t even a TV there before…they add that.

That’s important…this isn’t a “bug”, a little pop up in the corner of your screen. It’s integrated into the scene. The video at Seamless Brand Integration’s website says that they can even put the products into it.

Okay…so that means Beaver Cleaver could open the refrigerator and take out a Mountain Dew.

Zip past that, Tivohead!

I haven’t seen anything that says they would do it in movies, like my first example, but I thought it got the point across. 🙂

I have to say, this is really clever. I don’t think you are going to get a “Han Shot First” flap over Chandler and Joey getting a Pizza Hut delivery.

I wonder if an actor could complain that their image is being used to promote a product? Probably not…I don’t think they have any control over what ads are shown during a show…so even if something is put in your hand, I think you are stuck. I wonder if they might get an additional endorsement fee? Not likely.

This all reminds me a bit of the concern people had about ads in e-books…I wrote some example of how that might go:

If ads did appear in e-books

This sounds like a pretty flexible program. Every time you watch a show, you might see something different on the TV, or a different poster on the street. One time the Star Trek’s replicator makes Twizzlers, the next time its M&Ms.

What do you think? Terrible idea? Do you like it? Hey, it’s already here…and I think you’ll see it a lot more…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


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