Universal Music Group has just signed a deal with UK-based Mirriad, an advertising company, to retroactively add product placements to various Universal videos. Further, the videos that will contain the new ads will adjust according to viewer location and demographics. Once the contract for certain ads has run out, Mirriad can simply switch the ads for new ones.
Now You See It and Now You Don’t
Let’s put this into perspective a bit. You could be watching an Avicii video, and see a bottle of Grand Marnier (which will actually be the first product and video placement the two companies have created). You could watch that video a hundred times, and the Grand Marnier bottle might be your favorite part.
But, once that contract has expired, the Grand Marnier part you like could be replaced by, say, Skyy Vodka. So, the video that you knew will no longer be the video that you’ll see in the future. In addition, the video will change based on where you are living and on other criteria.
Since the Mirriad ads can be placed retroactively, you can expect to see some old music videos showing up with new ads in the near future. Universal Music Group has the rights to plenty of old classic videos including those created by Nirvana and some other classic bands. So, yes, you could see an old music video from the 1990s with new product inserted into the videos.
If the thought of your favorite old videos being tarnished by new brands makes you a bit angry, you are certainly not alone. Few people want to see old beloved videos made into modern advertisements, but that’s exactly what Mirriad does. The company’s tagline is the company that creates ads for “the skip generation,” and that means that you can simply skip these ads unless you want to skip the whole video that you’re watching.
There are some rumours that the company has been putting the same types of ads into older sitcom reruns as well, so old things may start to look really new again, but not necessarily in a good way. Current music videos that are simply shot with product placements already in them do include ads of a certain stripe, but now those ads can change frequently. This not only means more money for Universal and for Mirriad, but it also means more money for those musicians that don’t mind a bit of product placement.
More Money More Problems
It will be curious to see how music fans react to so much product placement. I’m going to guess that most people have had enough of ads, which is why the skip generation skips them, but advertisers will find a way to get into homes no matter what it takes. Both Universal and Mirriad are happy with the new inked deal, of course, though we haven’t heard much from musicians that will be impacted by the deal.
Technology will change the way that we watch music videos both old and new, though that might not be a good thing. The important thing that musicians have to keep an eye on is whether or not product placement makes sense, and when to draw the line.