Hiram Lodge, the manipulative crime lord who targets the fictional town of Riverdale, sits back in his office chair. After plotting his latest scheme with a cohort over submarine sandwiches, he takes a bite of a Doritos chip, holding the bag in clear view of the camera while looking away pensively.
Frito-Lay, which got the snack on the CW Network’s teen drama Riverdale with the help of the No. 1 product placement company BEN, hopes audiences noticed enough to crave their own bag of Doritos, but not so much that they became annoyed. That’s the delicate balance companies strike when using product placement, which is becoming an ever more popular form of advertising thanks to factors including increasingly sophisticated data collection and the rise of streaming and mobile video.
Linear television, the old-school version of programming in which viewers have to be on their sofas at a scheduled time, is becoming an activity of the past, reducing promotional opportunities for brands. Meanwhile, more people are tuning in to Netflix or other streaming services that eschew conventional ads. “If I’m starting to cobble together my viewing experience as a series of streaming services, I potentially don’t get exposed to traditional television advertising anymore,” says David Schweidel, a marketing professor at Emory University. “So product placement becomes the way of cutting down the cost associated with production when you don’t have advertising to support you.”
To do that, product placement is morphing into a more tech-focused and targeted business that can mesh nicely with the data-driven strategies that have proved so successful for digital marketing companies such as Facebook Inc. and Google. While advertisers still try to weave their products into the fabric of a film or TV show’s plot, a lot more is happening behind the scenes to guarantee those marketing dollars will turn into a sale.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
WE WANTED FLYING CARS. INSTEAD WE GOT TARGETED ADS, MORE SURVEILLANCE, INSURRECTIONISTS, AND PETER THIEL
AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM THE CONTRARIAN, A NEW BIOGRAPHY
Home on the Greens
Golf-driven real estate is finally getting out of the rough.
The Inflation Guy Is Feeling Pumped
After a spike in consumer prices, Michael Ashton finds himself very busy
Pictographs of Hate
Moderating emojis is a technical challenge, but critics say Facebook and Twitter make it too hard
Fighting to Be More Than A Cog in the Machine
A German auto parts maker seeks to engineer itself a future for the post-Merkel era
Get in Bed With LVMH
With its new Cheval Blanc hotel—16 years in the making—the luxury behemoth reinvents a cultural landmark.
The SEC Is On the Prowl For Crypto
Digital upstarts and securities regulators are playing a cat-and-mouse game
This Is a House Made of Bread
At the much-anticipated return of Art Basel, Urs Fischer’s tactile wonder will attract plenty of attention. But if it were a simple painting, would it attract more dollars?
The Dinosaur Cowboy's Long Ride
Permissive laws have created a booming market for fossils. Paleontologists aren’t thrilled, but for Clayton Phipps and his peers, it’s a living
“Covid Zero” kept Australia safe, if isolated, for 18 months. Now its states are split over how to move on
NETFLIX BUYS WONKA AUTHOR DAHL'S CATALOG
Netflix has acquired the works of Roald Dahl, the late British author of celebrated children’s books such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
AS TWITTER’S FIRST CHIEF DESIGN OFFICER, DANTLEY DAVIS WAS GIVEN A MANDATE TO FIGHT TOXICITY ON THE PLATFORM AND SHAKE UP THE COMPANY’S CORPORATE CULTURE. BOTH ARE UPHILL BATTLES.
XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K projector
A capable 4K projector — but don’t count on HD
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
A new game builds on the addictive appeal of Sid Meier’s Civilization.
APPLE EASES APP STORE RULES AGAIN, TO ALLOW OUTSIDE SIGNUPS
Apple is relaxing rules to allow some app developers such as Spotify, Netflix and digital publishers to include an outside link so users can sign up for paid subscription accounts.
Hulu: A Top Streaming Choice
As the competition between video-streaming services intensifies, differentiation is ever-important. Hulu continues to offer both a strong on-demand streaming library and a robust live TV option. The service is an excellent option for watching popular TV shows, and we like its broad platform support, even if Hulu’s original series are hit-or-miss. On the live TV front, Hulu’s channel coverage is top-notch, and its DVR features compare well to the competition’s. Despite a few missteps, Hulu keeps its Editors’ Choice award, because no other service can quite match its combination of streaming content.
Cooking With Paris Is Anti-Aspirational Food Television
Paris Hilton rattles the very foundations of cooking shows.
Roku Streambar Pro
A Sound Streaming Solution
FERGIE: I WANT TO BE ON THE CROWN!
There she goes again! The Duchess of York, a.k.a. Sarah Ferguson, a.k.a Fergie, has always been one of the wilder of the wild cards in the royal family.