Placement of Products

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Age of TiVo

Why has the media suddenly opened its eyes to product placement?

The obvious answer is TiVo. TiVo is destroying traditional media as we know it, I’ve been told. Its been drilled into my head that when I graduate college with an education in advertising, I’m likely to have to forget everything I learned in these four years because the formulas will all be different. And it’s all because of TiVo.

After all, TiVo’s main users are the one’s that most marketers want to target. They are the ones with the disposable incomes. And we can prove this based on the fact that they own TiVo. Some interesting TiVo statistics (found on this website: as of May 30, 2004:

Number of Season Pass recordings active—21 million
Total number of programs recorded—5.5 billion
Number of times a button to control live TV has been pressed (pause, rewind, fast forward, etc.)—80 billion

With statistics like these, it’s no wonder that people are paying less attention to the traditional 30 second spot. While estimates of only about 10% of homes have a DV-R type of recorder in their house, the number is expected to grow significantly.

Before, the viewers used to be stuck watching the commercials. They would at least have to be background noise. Now, with the option to skip through them, the best viable option is integrating your product into the show. According to Neilsen Media Research, which has only recently begun tracking product placement, there has been an upsurge of a 30% increase in product placement on television from 2004 to 2005. (

Audiences are sophisticated. They know when a brand is being shoved in their face screaming “BUY ME!” It’s the subtle, under the radar product placement that will become effective in the time to come. It’s the main characters on Gilmore Girls eating Pop Tarts for breakfast and having a quick, casual discussion about them that will win over the traditional media in the imminent years. It’s the line about the new Wal-mart perfume that the characters briefly mention on All My Children that will become the new formula for advertising.


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