Music videos become latest product placement vehicles: Lady Gaga's epic nine-and-a-half-minute music video for "Telephone" racked up huge traffic (95 million streams on YouTube alone), multiple MTV Video Music Awards and huge exposure for brands such as Virgin Mobile, Wonder Bread, Miracle Whip, PlentyOfFish.com and Polaroid, each of which were featured in extensive (and blatant) product placement throughout the buzzy mini-movie. It was a move echoed by everyone from Flo Rida (branded single "Zoosk Girl") to Taio Cruz (the BMW-sponsored "Higher") to Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars (Mini Cooper had a co-starring role in "Billionaire.") With less and less revenue coming to artists from album sales, expect more deals like this in 2011 and beyond.
Product placement on TV gets creatively campy: Can you imagine "Chuck" without Subway? Ever since the sandwich chain became a marketing partner of NBC's action-comedy spy series, the writers have found increasingly campy ways to weave the brand into the series without disguising the awkwardness -- if not preposterousness -- of the integration. In a recent episode, a Subway sandwich was used as bait to lure guest hottie Summer Glau into a trap. If only it were so easy in real life.
Product placement on TV stuck in creative rut: USA's hit series "Burn Notice" has in the past successfully worked with many brands, such as General Motors and Nationwide Insurance. This year the show created custom spots with Hyundai that aired during commercial breaks to give viewers some added value with behind-the-scenes footage. But when burnt spy Michael Weston delivers his tips during an episode about what a good secret agent needs from a car, the integration does nothing to enhance the scene and only calls attention to forced script integration.
Jingles are back: OK, so maybe the use of music in many ads isn't the jingles of yore, but brands are turning to original songs -- if not sounds -- to create a connection between brand and consumer. From Gatorade tapping hip-hop producer David Banner to pen a rockabilly tune for its current "Revolution" campaign to Doritos partnering with Rihanna recently to record a new song called "Who's That Chick" for its Doritos Late Night, marketers are giving new life to original, branded music that helps lift band and brand alike.