Ad creep—where commercial messages are placed in previously uncommercialised zones—has been on the rise for years as consumers increasingly turn away from traditional media. There have been ads on Japanese schoolgirls’ thighs, on foreheads, on lakes and practically anywhere else a pair of human eyes might be forced into seeing an ad. Product placement is one of the biggest areas of focus and big bucks are spent to get brands into movies, TV shows and, increasingly, games. So, given the music industry’s relatively parlous state, it’s not entirely surprising to see that Universal Music is doing everything it can to get some extra cash, including letting brands pay to be retroactively included in its previously released music videos.
As NME wrote:
The Independent reports that Universal will start by placing liquer brand Grand Marnier into a video by Avicii. The placement will then be stripped out after a pre-arranged period of time and replaced with another brand.
“Being inside content is more valuable than being outside content,” Mark Popkiewicz, Mirriad’s chief executive said in an interview with The Financial Times.
Universal’s chief executive Lucian Grainge issued an assurance that the deal “ensure that artists’ and brands’ interests are aligned,” with the idea being that MirriAd’s technology removes the need for lengthy negotiations between labels and advertisers prior to music videos being filmed.
The Atlantic wrote a piece recently about the internet’s original sin: the adoption of the ad-funded model. And while the author says it’s not too late to change, it’s going to be tough to reverse the trend.
As Garth so famously said: “It’s like people only do things because they get paid. And that’s just really sad.”