Artificial Endorsements: The Future of Virtual Product Placement

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Marketing Brew has taken a deep-dive look at virtual product placement, including the recent partnership between NBCUniversal and ad-tech firm TripleLift.

Presented as a way to more easily put brands into television shows — by reducing the involvement necessary during a show’s production and even, theoretically, increasing the available opportunities through audience-dependent product swaps — virtual product placement has particular potential for those brands that “don’t require hands-on interaction, that don’t require verbal mentions, where you can still have (items) prominently placed within the frame or within the screen,” says Aaron Frank of BENlabs.

With TripleLift’s platform built for such programmatic ad placement, NBCUniversal hopes to significantly cut the time frame in which it takes creative to get approved and placed. But there’s still work to be done before it all seamlessly unfolds on our screens.

“Virtual product placement can involve some legwork for brands,” writes Kelsey Sutton from Marketing Brew, “which have to build or procure a digital model of their products so they can be inserted into shows in post-production without sticking out like a sore thumb, Frank said. And don’t expect for that product to get picked up or otherwise handled in the show: The technology is just not there yet for it to look realistic.”




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