NEW YORK: Product placement is becoming increasingly sophisticated, as brands are worked into dramatic storylines at a much earlier point in the TV production process and as games developers find new ways to avoid "banner blindness".

Earlier this year, Starcom struck a deal with Turner Broadcasting that would see Starcom's clients' brands considered for use by writers and producers. And Amanda Richman, president of investment and activation at Starcom, told Advertising Age that the company had already briefed Turner on its clients and each of their goals and objectives in order to make the process more seamless.

She added that the arrangement was also an opportunity for brands which had previously shunned product placements because of resource demands and high cost.

Up to ten brands are currently under consideration and at last one, Kellogg's Pop Tarts, is due to appear in a forthcoming episode of the new TBS comedy, Ground Floor.

Marketers have been looking anew at product placement as consumers find new ways to avoid ads. Richman noted the growth of social media chat around TV and said content was driving those social conversations. "We want our brands to be associated with that content," she declared.

Turner struck a similar deal with MillerCoors, which has resulted in over 40 placements of ten brands, including Miller Lite in Dallas and Coors Light in Sullivan & Son.

Donna Speciale, president of Turner Entertainment and young adult ad sales said it was important to have the time to integrate brands into shows organically in order to avoid the risk of alienating viewers with overt marketing. "We are not force-fitting these integrations," she said.

And the games sector is following suit, as MediaSpike, a company specialising in product placement in social and mobile games, recently reported its network had grown twenty-fold in five months to reach 20m unique users.

Where product placement in games had previously focused on static banner ads which users found easy to ignore, MediaSpike has taken a more dynamic approach. So, for example, a player visiting a vending machine in a game may be able to purchase a virtual Mountain Dew soda or, by watching an embedded video, gain a branded T-shirt for their avatar.

Data sourced from Advertising Age, MediaSpike; additional content by Warc staff