Sponsor Integration is Better Than Product Placement

or Effective Marketing Techniques I Learned from Watching “Bones”

In his book, “Socialnomics,” Eric Qualman says the best way to incorporate advertising into media today is to incorporate it into the message itself. In other words, viewers prefer

information that [they] didn’t necessarily view as advertising, but rather as part of the experience.

It’s a profound marketing innovation, if you think about it. Previously, marketers tried to match products with media that would potentially catch their desired audience. Commercials for sugary cereals would play during children’s programs, and ads for life insurance policies would play during “Matlock.”

Now, with constantly evolving digital and social media, interaction has become more important than presentation. Audiences are becoming more and more used to personalizing their technology and getting their media on their desired timeline, not the network’s. And the ways that marketers engage their audiences must adapt.

How are advertisers going to keep up when TiVo, YouTube, and Hulu are how people are watching  – and re-watching – their favorite TV programs?

Easy: put the advertising inside of the show.

No, I’m not talking about simple product placement. It’s not enough for the characters to visit the Cheesecake Factory every day for lunch. They have to talk about the Cheesecake Factory, tell you how good it is, how it’s different from every other chain restaurant. And they have to do it in such a way that the audience feels like they’re part of the conversation.

Case in point: Bones’s new car.

If you follow the show religiously like I do, you probably noticed that in season 6 of FOX’s “Bones,” Dr. Brennan (aka Bones) got a new Toyota Prius.

How did we notice that the car was new? In not one, but two episodes, features of the car were specifically highlighted by the characters. For instance, in episode 20, “The Pinocchio in the Planter,” Brennan’s car begins to parallel park itself, which seemingly freaks out Booth and Sweets. This follows a scene a few episodes earlier wherein Brennan uses the car to make a phone call, as well as even earlier highlights of Angela’s Toyota Sienna beginning in season 4.

In each case, the cars – and Toyota’s logo – are named and shown (simple product placement), but then the characters also go into detail about how this product is different (read better) than other cars like it, all while maintaining the integrity of the characters and plot, as well as keeping the audience engaged.

Marketing has now stepped up from being products displayed to potential buyers to a conversation “among friends.”

Perhaps the most important point of all: Toyota gets its ad space regardless of whether the audience watches when the episode premiers on FOX, later online somewhere, or when they buy the DVD set of the season (which traditionally includes little to no advertising).

Voila! The perfect system of sponsor integration. And I’ll bet you may not have even noticed it.

This article was submitted by Sarah Giavedoni, a fellow blogger in Asheville, NC with too many day jobs and interests to list. When she does get a little time to herself, she blogs for StuffMonstersLike.com.


About Blog Boss

Jim MacKenzie and Sarah Giavedoni are the creators of the blogs Stuff Monsters Like, the Incredible Vanishing Paperweight, and more. When they are not blogging, they are devoted to managing the Asheville Blogger Society, watching movies, running a completely unrelated nonprofit, and making money at their paid employment.
This entry was posted in Social Media and the Interwebs, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s