The Brand Integration ServiceTM
Brand Integration Best Practices
It should come as no surprise that your customers are rapidly changing their media
consumption patterns. Consumers are dividing their time more broadly across a frag-
mented and increasingly personalized media landscape. They are spending less time
with traditional print and broadcast media and using DVRs to time-shift their viewing
and skip commercials. When interacting with digital media, they move quickly between “[Brand integration] is one
applications and content and ignore side-bar advertising outside the frame of the enter- of the fastest-growing seg-
tainment or information they seek. Since savvy consumers ignore or avoid traditional ments… The ability to bring
advertising, marketers must find cost-effective ways to stay relevant and engage their some structure to it I think
target audience across film, television, and new media. is overdue”.
-Jack Myers, Analyst
Brand integration, which encompasses everything from traditional product placement to
the creation of original branded content, is fast becoming an indispensable part of the
marketing mix. Creatively partnering with content producers allows a brand to immerse
itself within a property and to avoid being rejected as an interruption. In fact, audi-
ence measurement firm Nielsen Media Research found that purchase interest increased
145% for product placements in “highly enjoyable” programming. This is why organi-
cally integrating your brand into compelling content is one of the most effective ways to
emotionally connect with your audience. Brand integration provides a flexible platform
that enables you to engage, educate and entertain customers not only through filmed
entertainment, but also through brand activation and integrated marketing programs.
Developing a Comprehensive Approach to Brand Integration
Traditionally, marketers have been opportunistic in their approach to brand integration, “By leveraging a scal-
fielding unsolicited inquiries and acting when an interesting project materializes. Proac- able technology solution,
tive efforts aimed at top integration opportunities were reserved for brands that could our agencies now have a
afford representation or for those with an extensive rolodex. But even for those with macro view into the op-
considerable resources, the recent explosive growth in brand integration makes it impos- portunities available for
sible for any single agency to be aware of the thousands of integration opportunities integration of our clients
available to upstart and global brands across film, television, and new media. into content”.
- Brandon Berger,
As integration becomes a standard component of most media plans, marketers must MDC Partners
develop a more comprehensive and proactive strategy for how to access the best content
opportunities. Brands must also “do more with less” and this means accessing these op-
portunities in an efficient and cost-effective way. PlaceVine was founded on this notion
and is focused on enabling both upstart and established global brands to comprehensively
and cost-effectively access integration opportunities across film, television, and new
This white paper details best practices for brands investing in television, film, and new
media integrations and highlights successful case studies within each content category.
Please visit www.
call 646-248-6607 to
learn more about the
Copyright 2009, PlaceVine, Inc. 1
DVR penetration continues to accelerate, having reached 25% of US homes according to
a 2008 Nielsen report. As fewer people watch ads, marketers are focusing their efforts
on finding integrations and then supplementing them with thirty-second commercial
spots. This is for good reason – according to Nielsen, quality product placement in tele-
vision boosts brand awareness to 57.5% when combined with an ad. Importantly, invest-
ing in television integrations can align your brand with content to which your audience
already identifies. Whether you are a global consumer products firm with a massive
media budget or a regional brand looking for a breakthrough, consider these strategies:
Large brand? Get in on the ground floor and sponsor new, in-development shows. If
you are a larger marketer with a substantial budget, the best way to ensure exposure is Strategies for large, global
to begin working with content producers early. This means partnering with experienced brands.
content producers to develop shows that integrate your brand(s) in a meaningful and
organic way from day one. Brands are increasingly developing sophisticated creative
capacities or partnering with agencies to facilitate these collaborations. Brand-driven
production companies such as Grey Goose Entertainment, Co-Producer of the Sundance
Channel series Iconoclasts, are involved on the ground floor of series development.
Case Study: The Starter Wife, USA Network, Ponds (Unilever)
Seeking to rejuvenate and reposition the Ponds brand amongst middle-age women,
Unilever developed a comprehensive marketing, promotions, and engagement
campaign around their sponsorship of the 2007 USA Network mini-series The Starter
Wife, starring Debra Messing. Ponds was the sole presenting sponsor with normal
commercial breaks filled with real life stories of women who personified the Ponds
brand. Doug Scott and Ogilvy & Mather’s branded entertainment group enabled the
Ponds team to collaborate with the show’s writers on how to appropriately weave
the brand into the storyline. As Scott was quoted in a subsequent article about the
series, “We wanted to make sure [Debra Messing’s character] would go through an
evolution that would make her a Pond’s woman.”
Upstart brand? Get big! Broadcast and cable networks understand that many up-and-
coming brands cannot afford 30-second spots. These networks are also searching for Opportunities abound for
new revenue streams. In a bid to better monetize their content, networks are increas- upstarts, but you have to
ingly open to integrations that do not require purchasing 30-second spots. Separately, be in it to win it.
production companies are interested in working with smaller and regional brands that
do not compete with the national commercial buyers that make up networks’ main
By seeking unique integrations for unique products, brands that might not otherwise be
able to afford a traditional television ad can find themselves in the limelight. A multi-
tude of cable networks also offers significant opportunities for upstart brands to become
Case Study: ER, NBC, CereTom (Neurologica)
Medical equipment is certainly not the first category that comes to mind when “PlaceVine allows us to
thinking about brand integration, but the success of shows like ER, Grey’s Anatomy, further focus our energies
and Scrubs has given ample opportunity for this category. Neurologica, the maker on evaluating and shaping
of the CereTom portable CT scanner, managed to achieve significant, visual ex- high-value opportunities
posure in a key scene in ER (Dr. Gates, played by John Stamos, uses the device to for our clients without di-
make a diagnosis that saves a patient’s life). According to an Inc. Magazine ar- verting internal resources
ticle on the placement, CereTom experienced a 60% uptick in website traffic and to catalogue every single
received 10 direct inquiries from hospital reps regarding the $330,000 device when media opportunity”.
the average number of inquiries was about two to three calls per month. Quoted - Teddy Lynn
in the same article, David Webster, the company’s Director of Sales, said that he Arnold WorldWide
was “...shocked to see how much exposure we received. My friends in the industry
were also surprised and could not believe that we did not pay for it.”
Copyright 2009, PlaceVine, Inc. 2
Be informed! What you don’t know can negatively impact your strategy and your
budget. The most appropriate integrations for your brand may not necessarily be No visibility into alterna-
those that your agency identifies or those that actively solicit you. Given the breadth tives? You are flying blind.
of today’s programming alternatives and a wide range of reality shows targeting niche
demographics, you must know all of the available alternatives before making an invest-
ment. It’s important not to make decisions in a vacuum or rely on limited information
supplied by one individual’s personal relationships.
Nonetheless, marketers should be prepared to act quickly once an opportunity has
been identified. Since many scripted shows are written just days in advance of filming,
brands may need to execute against a tight timeline. While these last-minute opportu-
nities may not fit many brands’ longer planning cycles, they can produce a quick win for
a brand looking for timely exposure.
Case Study: Top Chef, Bravo, Clorox (Glad)
The 4th season premiere of Top Chef: Chicago in March of 2008 was the #1 rated
food show on cable across all demographics. Yet its more than two million view-
ers represent a fraction of the 10-15M that might watch a top-20 network program.
These top-line numbers though do not tell the whole story. According to Nielsen
Research, Bravo ranks above all network and cable programmers for in-program
placement brand recall (63% vs. Others at 46%), brand opinion (26% vs. Others at
12%) and perceived fit (21% vs. Others at 16%). These numbers combined with the
targeted demographic that is drawn to the specialized reality program, has made the
show a winner for advertisers seeking integrations. Clorox’s Glad brand has been a
substantial, repeat show sponsor and has been a featured part of contests and prizes
(Glad put up $100,000 in prize money for the Top Chef winner). The Bravo and NBC
Universal Cable Team has worked hard on this collaboration. Ellen Liu, Clorox’s me-
dia director, was quoted in AdAge discussing the working relationship, “we do a lot
of collective brainstorming with the Bravo team, because you want to be unique, be
relevant and still be interesting.”
At all levels of the movie business – from tent-pole studio titles (i.e. franchise films) “We look forward to work-
to top independent projects – traditional film financing is becoming harder to come by. ing with PlaceVine on this
Large amounts of private equity that funded the industry over the last decade have promising new service”.
all but dried up and entertainment executives are under increasing pressure to find - Susan Safier, FOX Films
alternative financing sources. They are also seeking new ways to monetize their con-
tent. These challenges have created enormous opportunities for marketers and content
producers alike to expand the film experience beyond the theater. By partnering with
content producers, brands are leveraging their association with films to create an enter-
tainment marketing platform that engages consumers who avoid traditional advertising.
From marketing promotions, screenings, and premiere parties to licensing and merchan-
dising opportunities, brands now have a variety of ways to extend and activate their
involvement with a film.
Here are three key trends to guide your brands’ participation in films:
Secure a brand integration, then get creative. Getting truly involved in a major studio
film scheduled for wide release typically requires a meaningful monetary investment.
For brands with the resources to play in this tier, opportunities abound to creatively
capitalize on affiliations with a film. Beyond studios’ “tent-pole” films, there are nu-
merous opportunities for upstart brands willing to make a moderate investment.
Copyright 2009, PlaceVine, Inc. 3
Finance a film or event that connects to your audience and build an integrated market-
ing program around it. Brand integration is a plat-
Traditional integration is built on the notion that a brand will piggyback on the success form on which to build an
and reach of a film. With film financing becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, savvy integrated marketing pro-
brands may be able to turn this notion on its head by becoming a primary financier of gram.
projects or events that are intimately linked to their brand ethos. In assuming a lead-
ing role, brands should be prepared to provide substantial financing and to leverage the
content as part of its broader marketing outreach to consumers.
Case Study: Somers Town, Shane Meadows, Eurostar (European railroad operator)
The film Somers Town by award-winning director Shane Meadows was fully financed
by European railroad operator Eurostar. Originally envisioned by ad agency Mother
as a promotional short for Eurostar’s redevelopment of the Somers Town area, the
project eventually morphed into a feature length independent film with a budget
of ~$750K. While the film was centered in and around the new Eurostar station in
London and featured characters traveling on Eurostar trains connecting London and
Paris, Meadows maintained full creative and artistic control of the film. As told
by the BBC, the Mother ad agency said, “Traditional TV and print advertising is not
reaching audiences, because they’re often somewhere else. So you have to try new
things.” The film garnered critical acclaim, winning the Edinburgh Film Festival and
garnering awards at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Be visible to filmmakers looking to barter for products, services and locations. Accord-
ing to PQ Media, approximately 60% of product placements (by value) are “in-kind” What structure do you have
(barter) deals. While the value of paid placements is growing at a faster rate than for interacting with the en-
in-kind deals, there are still massive opportunities for upstart brands to star in major tertainment community?
motion pictures at no cost. Big Hollywood studios and indies alike are looking for ways
to reduce their production costs and that means using free products, free locations
for filming, and free services. In addition, all studios seek out niche brands that help
advance their storylines by providing realism and texture to characters.
Case Study: Quantum of Solace, Sony Pictures , Ocean Sky Aviation (private jet
The October 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace featured a variety of integra-
tion and promotional partners. Perhaps none was more valuable, in dollar value,
than the in-kind use of Ocean Sky’s fleet of private jets. Eight Ocean Sky planes,
valued by the company at more than $150M, were used in the production of the film.
According to a corporate press release, Niki Rokni, Head of Sales and Marketing for
Ocean Sky Aviation, said “It’s the perfect association for us. We pride ourselves on
offering elegance and cutting edge excellence, and this is all evident in the film. We
could not be happier.” While the case is an extreme example in terms of the prod-
uct’s dollar value, it is instructive for brands with particularly useful and expensive
technology and products. In-kind use of equipment can be an effective strategy, but
only when producers are aware of your brand and have trust that the logistics of
product delivery will be timely. Ocean Sky claims that their reputation as a Holly-
wood friendly aviation company has spread after the Bond film and they are now in
talks with other productions. According to Rokni, “Word has got around Hollywood.”
Copyright 2009, PlaceVine, Inc. 4
New media offers something for every brand. Marketers can no longer ignore the web
given consumers’ shifting media consumption patterns away from traditional print and
broadcast. Both upstart and global brands can not only benefit from the measurability
and targeting that web video offers, but also its affordability. Sponsoring a web series
is far less costly than advertising on television and brands can work very closely with
content creators to achieve their brand’s goals. As the rotation of spending out of tra-
ditional print and broadcast media and into the digital world accelerates, it is important
to understand the key trends driving brand integration deals.
Find the right content first: online video distribution is easily scaled. There are a num-
ber of online video ad networks that work similar to display ad (“banner”) networks. Quality content is hard, dis-
The difference is that instead of serving banner ads, online video ad networks serve en- tribution is easy (don’t focus
tire videos. As an advertiser, this means that if you find a niche content producer that too much on traffic).
perfectly fits your target demographics, then you can purchase distribution on an online
video ad network to guarantee a certain number of video impressions. Video ad net-
works such as YuMe, Tremor, and the Google Content Network are all popular services
that are seeing increasing adoption.
Case Study: Cavalcade of Comedy, Seth MacFarlane, Burger King
In one of the most high profile online content deals of 2008, Family Guy creator Seth
MacFarlane teamed with Google and Burger King to launch the Cavalcade of Com-
edy. The series of comedy shorts was particularly novel in that it was distributed via
Google’s AdSense network, a vehicle typically used for advertisements, yet in this
context was used as a content delivery platform (Google Content Network). Burger
King was the sole advertiser involved in the launch and pursued the integration not
only through pre-roll advertising, but by actively promoting the series on its own
corporate website. The innovative deal was brokered by Media Rights Capital (MRC),
and allowed Google, MacFarlane, and MRC to split performance-based revenues.
Officially launched in September of 2008, the first episodes in what is to be a 50-epi-
sode series, had garnered over 14M collective views within their first month online.
The deal demonstrates that entertaining content coupled with committed financial,
brand support has a variety of creative, distribution options available.
Case Study: DadLabs, For Your Imagination, BabyBjorn
BabyBjorn partnered with DadLabs, a parenting advice show targeted at fathers, for
a six-month sponsorship of DadLabs’ weekly web series. The sponsorship was valued How will your brand connect
at “in the six figures” by DadLabs, a significant figure for an independent web series to the content creators you
given the economic climate as of December 2008. According to Tubefilter.tv, the don’t know about?
deal was also notable as no advertising agency was involved. As quoted in TVWeek,
DadLabs Chief Creative Officer Clay Nichols said, “Our shows are hardly a YouTube
phenomenon, but we have a devoted and focused audience of active parents”. Ad-
ditional DadLabs sponsors have also included Graco, One Step Ahead and Hasbro.
Copyright 2009, PlaceVine, Inc. 5
Marketers strongly prefer professionally-produced content over user-generated con-
tent. While user-generated content (UGC) is popular, it has proven unattractive to the Budgets flowing into high-
vast majority of advertisers. The problem with UGC has been that brands are hesitant quality professionally-pro-
to associate themselves with content that does not reflect their messaging or values. duced content, not UGC.
Particularly in the case of brand integration advertising, it can be difficult for marketers
to work directly or indirectly with amateur content creators that lack the production
and project management experience required to deliver high-quality content.
Case Study: Gemini Division (Electric Farm/NBC Digital), Microsoft, Intel, Cisco
This 50-episode sci-fi web series distributed by NBC and Sony struck brand integration
deals with Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco. The show follows an NYPD detective (Rosa-
rio Dawson) living five minutes in the future who becomes associated with a secret
organization called Gemini Division. According to Heather Dixon, Intel’s Consumer
Marketing Director, “future technologies such as ultra mobile PCs and internet de-
vices are integrated into the fabric of the online show, which all combined, provide
the viewer a great entertainment and technology experience.” The show is being
made available via NBC.com and SCIFI.com, VOD via Comcast, Time Warner Cable,
Verizon FiOS and DISH Network, Amazon Unbox, Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE and Zune, and
Case Study: The Guild (Felicia Day), Sprint, Microsoft
The Guild is a cult favorite web series that has enjoyed a growing niche following.
Each 4-7 minute show follows the comedic trials and tribulations that beset a group
of gamers. Through an exclusive deal with Microsoft, The Guild’s 12-episode second
season will be distributed on Xbox 360’s Live Marketplace, MSN, and Zune. Sprint
sponsored the series, running brand integrations that featured the Sprint Instinct
mobile device. The brand integrations were further supported by pre-roll ads.
Brand marketers continue to seek new ways to connect with audiences that ignore or
reject traditional advertising methods. It is incumbent on brand marketers to position Relationships alone do not
themselves for this new reality. When making investments in alternative advertising provide satisfactory visibility
tactics such as brand integration it is absolutely necessary to have transparency into and access into the weath of
available opportunities. brand integration opportuni-
Given the explosion of brand integration opportunities across film, television, web video,
games, events, and music, is it possible for any single agency to have this level of trans-
parency. A small team can only make so many phone calls or send so many emails to
identify what opportunities are available. In a world of fragmented media and burgeon-
ing integration opportunities, a robust software platform is required, enabling content
producers to communicate their brand integration opportunities in a rapid and effective
manner to the marketing community.
Copyright 2009, PlaceVine, Inc. 6