For many years now, corporate sponsorship has existed in music videos. Normally this involves the star of the video doing their thing and occasionally flashing a branded item at the camera. Sometimes the video includes a bit of dialogue where someone makes some comment about a product that’s being advertised that just about fits in to the story in the video but not really.
A new trend has started though, whereby the video no longer contains the odd flash of a product to advertise it, but is an advertisement in its own right.
The example that made the news when it happened was Faithless’ video for “Feelin’ Good”, which was not ‘sponsored’ by Fiat, but presented by ‘Fiat and Faithless’:
The video was dubbed a ‘prommercial’ and it was a car ad. From the style of the footage to the interior shots of the car and the basic premise of the video itself, there was no mistaking that this was a production that had far more in common with advertising than music videos. It was controversial, with fans in uproar about how Faithless had ‘sold out’ and debates raging across the internet and in the mainstream media.
That was back in 2010. Just two years later, people are getting more accustomed to the idea. Heineken used the concept in their ad entitled ‘the entrance’, the extended version of which also doubled as the promo for the Asteroids Galaxy Tour’s ‘Golden Age’.
The idea makes commercial sense: companies have always wanted to appear ‘cool’ by associating themselves with popular culture, but the trend is actually starting to shift to brands not wanting to appear cool by association, but to appear cool in their own right.
This also makes sense. As people use the internet more and more for viewing, take advantage of services like Tivo and Sky+ which allow them to skip adverts, advertisers no longer have captive audiences to the same extent. Instead, advertisers can’t be so self indulgent. In fact, they are encouraged to get people to actually seek out their adverts than not hate them when they come on.
This has led to the interesting marriage between underfunded viral stars and underviewed advertisers, whereby low budget YouTube videos are being remade in higher budget versions of themselves being carried out in front of a backdrop of massive company logos. One example of this being Peugeot’s ‘Let Your Body Drive’ campaign, featuring breakdancer Marquese Scott of viral dubstep video Pumped up Kicks fame.
This trend definitely looks set to continue, with advertising and entertainment increasingly become the exact same thing.