Just watch the first minute or so of the above clip, a Brits broadcast from online entertainment channel ITN On. As product placement goes, you might think that Will Ferrell’s new film, Semi-Pro, had lucked in what with the reporter’s clipboard proudly declaring its title to camera (0.33). But keep watching – Farrell’s only gone and innocuously got his film into another shot (from 1.12-1.30): this time the intrepid reporter’s standing next to a billboard advertising the movie and – hey – there’s its title again, on the side of the taxi she’s climbing into! Lucky coincidence?
Well, no. All of these references to Semi-Pro were actually added in to the broadcast digitally and, according to MirriAd who are behind the work, this is a first for “embedded advertising in showbiz content”. While the work is for an online commercial channel, targeting an audience who, potentially, would be interested in seeing the film, doesn’t this all just feel a little creepy?