In-show Ads, Products as Stars and Other Tests of Restraint

There’s been lots of talk about the return of live, in-show ads in a number of talk shows including Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno and Ellen Degeneres and now networks like NBC are making it clear that their new slate of webisodes will include a new degree of product integration beyond just simple brand placement.

What will this actually mean?  Well, it depends on how far they go in the name of the sponsor at the cost of the viewer.  It’s not as though modern viewers are used to being bombarded with a constant stream of corporate names and images and if those elements happen to be part of a good plotline with compelling characters people won’t care at all.  However, if the show itself is just a vehicle for the brand or the message than viewers will be turned off from both the show and the sponsors.

A bigger question might be whether or not a brand well-integrated into a show will still have the desired effect of driving sales…

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