The future of product placement

Louise Osilaja

Project Slipstream is a venture between MEC, MirriAd, STV and the Technology Strategy Board to examine the effectiveness of personalised PP in television.

From February 2011, television programmes made for UK audiences were able to contain product placement (PP), as long as they complied with Ofcom's rules. ITV was the first broadcaster to secure the first-ever live placement in a programme with Nescafé Dolce Gusto. To date, the majority of PP deals have been linked to sponsorship or advertiser-funded programming.

Digital experts MirriAd have developed technology which allows for the embedding of personalised PP when viewing television programmes on demand. MEC teamed up with MirriAd, STV and the government's Technology Strategy Board and built a working prototype of personalised PP technology.

To illustrate what the technology can do, imagine a new mother is watching her favourite TV programme online and one of the characters has a pack of nappies in their bathroom. Now imagine that a young man is watching the exact same programme and scene but, instead of seeing the nappies, he sees shaving foam. This would be an example of personalised PP, where viewers see placements relevant to them based on information held by broadcasters.