These days, we are constantly being sold products and experiences but now, companies are getting more trixsy. Instead of just airing a commercial selling a trip to Las Vegas, the city’s Convention & Visitors Authority is collaborating with shows like Logo’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, drawing in fans of the program and making them think about a trip to Sin City. Is it still inception if you’re enjoying a seller’s soft pitch?
Over at AdWeek, David Gianatasio writes that advertising and television shows (and music videos) are getting more integrated by the day, especially since consumers are so good at tuning out what we don’t want to hear. When was the last time you clicked a banner ad or a sponsored tweet or Instagram post? Never, unless it was by accident and then you were pissed about the seconds you'd never get back. In response, advertising agencies are finding new ways to woo us with funny commercials or, say, placing their products in the middle of Top Chef, instead of, say, having Halle Berry mention the brand name of her lipstick on the Today Show.
The transition from product placement to product integration is an evolution driven by the need for brands to be more meaningful to consumers,” says Patricia Martin, founder and CEO at trend-tracking firm LitLamp Communications and an expert on entertainment and popular culture. More than ever, advertisers “need to win hearts and minds,” she says. “That’s why Hollywood and talent agents are diving deeper into brand integration as brands and agents look for alliances … rather than getting Kim Kardashian to wear your watch or tweet that she’s sipping your beverage.”
Like John Oliver joked about recently, these shows don’t pay for themselves and there’s inevitably a corporate sponsor behind our favorites, hell, even our beloved celebrities are spokespeople for some company, if they're lucky. Look at Jennifer Anniston hawking water or Lupita Nyong'o who was signed up to represent Lancôme months after she won her Academy Award. But that doesn’t mean us folks with expendable income want to be beaten in the head with ‘Buy This Now!’ ads, though ads with Nyong'o being gorgeous are welcome. Still, be gentle, guys.
A good example of a light, timely touch is RuPaul’s Drag Race teaming up with the Vegas tourism authority for a commercial, pulling together drag shows, a trip to Caesar's Palace and shopping, all of which are plausible things an average person would do in Britney Spears’ new home.
“The integrations allow us to advertise things in a way that’s sort of a soft sell,” says RuPaul. “We do it in a way that’s clever, that doesn’t really offend the intelligence of the viewer. We have fun with it in a way that we know what we’re doing, they know what we’re doing—and we make it an adventure.”
As we’ve mentioned before, Jezebel does native advertising but I still want to see it the other way around. Like The Daily Show or Last Week Tonight, hide my important news in a pile of adorable bunnies, which suddenly stop eating carrots to update me on the ridiculousness of the St. Louis police. If we’re agreeing to be inceptioned, and it doesn't include Tom Hardy, it should at least be for a good cause, right?
Image via Drag Race.