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A recent Advertising Age article, “From the Big Screen to Any Screen: Some Takeaways for Marketers and Media Companies”, touches on the current state of product placement, and calls attention to the intentionally blatant and “increasingly campy” ways in which products are being integrated in music videos and TV shows. For example, the article cites Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” video, which provides “huge exposure for brands such as Virgin Mobile, Wonder Bread, Miracle Whip, and Polaroid.”

So what insight can we glean from Gaga about the future of product placement?  More than you might think. Tongue-in-cheek product placement is nothing new – in Back to the Future (1985) Marty’s mother thinks he’s called Calvin Klein because the name is scrawled all over his underwear – but until recently effective placement was for the most part the art of seamless integration.

Linger too long on Tom Cruise’s Nokia or Will Smith’s Chuck Taylors and you risk losing your audience. No longer.  The line that writers once walked between noticeable placement and artistic legitimacy is being erased.  Whereas overdone product placement once detracted from our experience as viewers, it now enhances it.  As the article in Advertising Age hinted, nowhere is this more obvious than Lady Gaga’s “Telephone,” which involves a kind of self-awareness that allows her to be at once artist and critic. She is able to blatantly push products in her videos because we recognize it as commentary on itself.

by Cody Short Brand Futurist The Republik Corporal Strategic Ops

Photo Credit: Screengrab from Lady Gag’s music video “Telephone”