A decade ago, everyone would balk at product placement in movies. It was seen as cheesy and forced. Now that trend has been reversed and a new form of advertising, dubbed “trackvertising”, is trending. One can postulate that “trackvertising”, or the association of a brand to an artist through a music video, has gained more acceptance because a personal endorsement from a celebrity is more relatable than blatantly displaying brand logos in movies. As sales decline and artists look towards alternative revenue streams, fans may be more accepting of endorsements than ever before.
At the same time, some trackvertising can be downright tacky. Look at Nikki Minaj’s video “Pills and Potions”, which features falling purple pills and Beats Pills XL in between shots.
Or how about any of the other 40+ music videos that have included Beats by Dre placements since 2008. Blu electronic cigarettes are getting in on this trend, producing their own e-cig music video commercials. It makes sense that edgier brands would associate themselves with cool and hip artists to sell products but this trend is evolving beyond that.
Shakira recently teamed up with Activia to create the most shared video ad of all time. It has been shared over 5.375 million times across Facebook alone, making Shakira the first person with 100 million Facebook likes. It was a brilliantly executed, using World Cup players and soccer theme to springboard the release during the tournament. Branding was limited to dancers painting the Danone smile on their stomachs alluding to the health properties of the yogurt.
Old Navy is also getting into trackvertising, as they shift away from traditional media buys and start to target younger audiences online. Their original ad “Unlimited”, follows a girl on her first day of school as she overcomes inner nemesis, the Womp Womp, and realizes all that she is capable of. This shifts away from relying on an artists star power to bring attention to the brand. This allowed for Old Navy to completely control the message of the track and to create additional content around the story.
Traditional broadcast and cable advertising gives the consumer a very static experience, while online video advertising offers a broader and much more dynamic experience allowing for consumers to interact with the brand and offers options on how deeply that want to connect with the brand. As “trackvertising” and brand placement in music videos becomes more common, it will be interesting to see if brands can find creative ways to keep fans and consumers engaged without over saturating the market to the point they become disinterested, which happened with product placement in movies.