A UK start-up, Mirriad, has developed a technique for inserting brands into video footage after filming has taken place and can alter the brands depending on audience or region. This means, for example, that the same video being watched by a viewer in the UK could contain completely different product placements to those seen by a viewer in China.
"Being inside content is more valuable than being outside content," Mark Popkiewicz, MirriAd's chief executive, told the Financial Times, a reference to the current practice of advertising featuring as a pre-roll which viewers often skip, or as a banner which is simply ignored.
Mirriad scans existing videos for surfaces – bare brick walls, empty billboards, even plain drinking mugs – and is then able to integrate branded assets such as images, video and actual products.
While the system is highly automated, "There has to be a human in the loop to check for context and make sure [the combination of the ad and content] look right," Mirriad COO Ted Mico told Media Post.
Among the first to take advantage of this are Universal Music Group, the record label, which has teamed up with ad agency Havas, whose clients will have the opportunity to advertise in videos by Universal artists.
One of these, liqueur brand Grand Marnier, has already bought space in videos by Avicii, a Swedish dance music producer, and Far East Movement, a US hip-hop band.
Yannick Bolloré, chairman and CEO of the Havas Group, saw the development as a way to help brands build better relationships with consumers. "Mirriad will make it possible for us to create a more authentic, logical and in-context connection with our clients and audiences that have insatiable appetites for content across multiple screens," he said, in remarks reported by Billboard.
For Universal, there was a similar pay-off, as chairman and CEO Lucian Grange explained: "We have the ability to insure that artists' and brands' interests are aligned while we remain focused on presenting fans with the most compelling music experience possible."
Data sourced from Financial Times, Billboard, MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff