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Monday, March 07, 2005

Embedded advertising case study

In a world where most advertising has low ROI (except for text links clearly labeled as advertising), I have been a big proponent of embedded advertising. (Related article: General Motors embraces embedded advertising) So I am always looking for good examples and I think one advertising model that I like is a television program "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and its sister programs like "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl."

Embedded advertising takes product placement one step further. The product is part of the story and is clearly a topic of discussion. In many cases, the actors may even "recommend" the product rather than just "inform." While some may argue that these programs are like infomercials, I disagree. The reason is that these programs also include the other two Es of advertising -- educate and entertain. Consumers want to receive information/recommendation on what they can do to make their life better/simpler but television/radio ads cut back the time for entertainment, banner/popup ads are obnoxious, and infomercials over-sell without entertainment.

How to develop an embedded advertising strategy?
  1. Find out how your product/service makes life better for the user. ("Crest Whitestrips make your teeth whiter without spending hundreds of dollars on a dentist and you can use them any time you want. So they are ideal for a woman who wants to have a makeover.") And then see how it fits into something entertaining (e.g. a reality TV program) or educational (e.g. whiter teeth makes a woman attractive).
  2. Make it subtle. I think the visit by Dr. Perricone on the program suggesting his own skincare products was in poor taste and bad embedded advertising strategy. Consumers are smart enough to figure out. As long as they can connect the dots, you will be a winner.
  3. Do not have embedded and traditional advertising in the same place. Actually P&G may not be exploiting the full benefits of embedded advertising on the program by having a regular commercial.

Recommended article: How to change advertising strategy?