Multimedia Product Placement
The dawn of the 21st century has brought many new technological advances and with them more opportunities for entrepreneurs to market their products. Rather than developing a simple slogan or commercial jingle, advertisers are using various forms of media to engage the consumer on a number of levels, enabling them to learn more information about the product, compare it against competitors, and obtain trial usage or samples. There are a number of vehicles through which product placement takes place, including television, movies, and the Internet.
This paper will explore the growing trend of using multimedia resources for advertising products.
Keywords: Application Software; In-Game Advertisements; Multimedia; Product Placement; Viral Video
In 1968, Arthur C. Clarke's science fiction epic, 2001, A Space Odyssey, came to the big screen in unique fashion, thanks to the visionary director, Stanley Kubrick. Like many films, 2001 is filled with product brands that were prevalent at the time. However, Kubrick's vision of the future was ill-fated, at least in terms of those household names he believed would last into the 21st century. A video telephone call placed by one of the characters is made on a telecommunications system allegedly operated by Bell Telephone, a company that was completely divested in the early 1980s. Additionally, that same character flies into Earth's orbit on a commercial spacecraft run by Pan American airlines, which entered bankruptcy long before the millennium.
Advertising appears in many forms and in every media. Over the course of history, printed advertisements have been joined by radio and television commercials, billboards, banners and premiums, among other traditional vehicles. Feature films and television shows have increasingly been used for subtle advertising. However, in the 21st century, such media has become limited in terms of reach, especially given the fact that so much new technology meant people in every corner of the globe were connected. The Internet and mobile technologies have greatly increased opportunities for entrepreneurs to market their products.
The New Technology for the 21st Century
No one in the late 19th century could have predicted the technologies that brought moving pictures and radio, nor could the people of the early 20th century envision a television in every home. In the modern age, people in every corner of the world are able to communicate via a hand-held mobile phones. Technology has made the world a smaller and vastly more interconnected place.
As technological advancements (especially those involving communication and information) continue to evolve, product and service providers in the world marketplace consistently adapt to new developments. For decades, advertisers have used roadside billboards to attract the attention of consumers as well as radio, film, and television to solicit the business of captive audiences. The manner by which these resources are employed for the purposes of product placement and marketing is simple — the viewer or passer-by would be captivated by message and inspired to purchase the product.
Multimedia marketing employs multiple layers of communication. There are two major characteristics of multimedia. First, multimedia employs a number of different types of imagery and sound, layering text, sound, animation, still photos, video—and multiple displays and combinations thereof. Second, unlike traditional marketing methods, multimedia is often interactive — the user can control the information using a mouse, voice controls and touch-screen devices. Consumers regularly engage in real-time conversation and events and participate with other parties—in person or remotely (Teow, 1999).
Advertisers are turning to this developing form of information exchange and presentation to call attention to their products. Rather than developing a simple slogan or commercial jingle, advertisers are using multimedia to engage the consumer on a number of levels, enabling him or her to learn more information about the product, compare it against competitors and even obtain trial usage or samples. There are a number of vehicles by which product placement is increasingly taking place using multimedia.
The Latest Games
In 1972, Magnavox released its Odyssey home video game console, the first of its kind. Although the games were limited and crude in terms of their graphics, computer game-makers seized upon Magnavox's example, and an immensely profitable industry was born. Today, home video game consoles are commonplace — by the end of 2006, 45.7 million American households had such devices, representing more than 41 percent of all US homes ("Nielsen says," 2007). Video games and the internet have provided advertisers with enormous and creative opportunities to stretch their product placement endeavors.
A major reason for the continuing growth of video game sales is that the games themselves are vastly improved over their predecessors in terms of complexity and graphic quality. 1970s-era games like "Pong" and "Space Invaders" have evolved into "Grand Theft Auto" and "Resident Evil;" games that contain story lines, character development and a level of realism never before seen. As part of this realism, game makers have added consumerism. As the "hero" battles his or her enemy, in the background the player sees a billboard advertisement or a beverage brand. Originally, these products added to the realistic feel of the game but were fictitious. Increasingly, however, advertisers have seen an opportunity in such games. As technologies improve, game makers are not exploring fantastic concepts, but rather are attempting to better mimic real life. As one observer comments, such a strategy creates opportunities for advertisers: "in mimicing that life, they have, rightly or wrongly, created a virtual arena that accommodates for the movement of advertisers and marketers into the framework of games" (Woolfrey, 2009, par. 11).
That open door represents an enormous boon for advertisers. Rather than feature fictional products and services, "in-game advertising" has become more commonplace. Apparel, toiletries and other brand-name goods are readily seen in many of the latest video games. Sometimes, the message can be political; in a game called "Burnout Paradise" (released in early 2008) an automobile drives past a presidential campaign billboard for then-Senator Barack Obama.
According to one 2009 study, in-game advertising will drive spending on such games significantly over a short period of time. In 2009, in-game advertisements generated $100 million — by 2014, the study forecasted, that figure would swell to well over the $1 billion mark. At the core of this development is the fact that video game users continue to grow in numbers.
There are two probable reasons for this exponential growth. First, in an economy that has generated a popular search for inexpensive entertainment, video games (many of which are free, accessed on the Internet) represent a low-cost diversion for consumers. As a result, a larger volume of video game players can be expected as economic issues persist (Knight, 2007). Second, the players themselves seem to embrace the advertisements as part of the realism of the game — with such connections, they may be inspired to purchase the product and/or suggest the products to friends or via on-line reviews and chat rooms ("In-game Advertising," 2009).
(The entire section is 3349 words.)