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Virtual Product Placement- Putting the Brand in the picture

24-May-2002
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Virtual Product Placement- Putting the Brand in the picture

Neha Pant

To beat the media clutter and rising cost of traditional ‘in-film’ branding, agencies have hit on a novel solution - Virtual Product Placement (VPP). VPP is a relatively new technique of morphing a brand, shown within the context of a movie, through digital imagery. So the digitally maneuvered movies could have the hero sipping Pepsi while actually, in the original shoot, he was sipping Coke!

Internationally popular, Virtual Product Placement is done through a special technology - ‘Princeton Video Imaging.’ Typically, the insertion of brands is done post the completion of movie and the digital images of a brand can also be pulled out anytime.

This close cousin of In-film branding is seen to increase the efficiency in the media buying by cutting the clutter. “The VPP clip is not seen as a commercial message by the viewer. The brand establishes better as compared to the traditional ways. Hence, it results in a better brand registration with the viewer,” claims Rohinton Maloo, MD, Mediascope. Maloo is offering similar placement opportunities on Hallmark channel.

Surely for channels this is a new form to attract revenues in a tight market. Hallmark, in Latin America, has used this new technology for large clients like Samsung and Visa and hope to meet with similar success in India.

Says Laxmi Hariharan, Director Marketing - Hallmark, “VPP offers a unique advantage. The viewer sees the product in natural surroundings, almost as part of everyday life of the film characters, and it is much cheaper than classic In Film placement”.

Though an interesting way to cut through the media clutter, marketers should realize the limitations of VPP. It offers for little scope for direct sales pitch and results are difficult to measure. “Virtual Product Placement is done more on a qualitative grounds and not on any quantitative parameters like TRPs. Here, you cannot measure the value in terms on conventional means, you have to have a faith on the name of the director and the star cast as well as the way it finally looks” cautions, Sridhar Balasubramanian, Senior Media Consultant, Maximize.

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