This post is two years old, but I thought it would be cool to see how advertisement and product placement changed the video clips industry. A few years ago TV broadcasters did not blur each frame in which a product appeared. Now the un-blurred versions of video clips are only available on YouTube or similar video sharing platforms.

Let’s have a look back to see why broadcasters came to such a decision and to discover which famous video clips included (subliminal?) ads for cool gadgets and products.

I’m watching a lot (too much?) MTV. The last few years a new trend appeared : putting ads in video clips. Some are pretty well included in the clip cut, but others are really too obvious. Just think about Pussycat Doll’s ‘Stick with U’ : it was a beautiful 3’29 Nokia ad… I had the idea to write this article also to make us aware that video clips are not always just presenting music and artists : they became over the years a medium to make some advertisement to target a young audience. An interesting fact : only R n ‘B and some Pop Music Video Clips are including those “hidden” ads or what marketing experts will call “product placement”.

Lady Gaga : Poker Face

The clip

Featured products / brands

Gaga is throwing the cards several times towards the camera. On the YouTube video you can clearly distinguish the inscription bWin on them

Comments

This is one of the best examples of advertisement in videoclips. You’ve might never noticed that the un-edited version (the one you will find on YouTube) is a complete advertisement for bWin ! The MTV version of Lady Gaga has the back of the poker cards edited (in a black color) and the poker table deck is edited too. Even if it’s only one frame, your brain will notice inconsciously the name of bWin.

Another famous product placement in the video clips of the 2008-2009th is the omnipresence of the Beats Studio Dr. Dre over-ear headphones

Pussycat Dolls : Stick Wit’ U

The clip


Featured products / brands

Apple Ipod ( 1:46)
Nokia 6136 (1:43)
Nokia N90
A Nokia mobile phone : I couldn’t see which one because the frame was cut to quickly

Comments

Oh my God ! This clip is the finest (nearby subliminal) Nokia ad ever seen. It seems as if the singers were more interested in singing for their callers than for the watchers. A sad trend….:-) I’ve observed a strange relation between Nicole or P.Diddy and every Bad Boy Records artist and the Nokia brand. Kinda strange isn’t it ?

Timbaland : The Way I are

The clip


Featured products / brands


Adidas Teamgeist Ball Red Version

Comments
This is a very discrete Adidas presence. Actually Timbaland vidz don’t have so many hidden brands… Maybe it’s better to have an artistic video clip rather having a bunch of brands in each frame. I’m pretty sure that the Adidas ball wasn’t placed there to make a real ad…

No Angels : Feels Good Lies

The clip


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Comments

This is the most funny nearby subliminal ad : I’m sure you had to watch the clip several times to see “catch” the frame were the i-Mode Logo is hidden! I-mode had unfortunately no success in Germany.

Last Night : P.Diddy

The clip


Featured products / brands

Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition

Comments

Like in each Bad Boy Records Video clip we need to see the newest mobile phone released by Nokia. And of course Mr. P. Diddy needs the newest and very stylish new Nokia Sirocco model. The presence of a Mercedes car is a must have in a hiphop videoclip

Jamiroquai : Canned Heat

The clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXbVdMIv-MU

Featured products / brands

Adidas Gazelle Red Sneakers

Comments

JK loves Adidas and Ferraris and he has no fear to show it in his videoclips. In “Canned Heat”, we had the opportunity to see the Adidas Gazelle introducing the vintage trend in the early 2000’s.

Robbie Williams : Rudebox

The clip


Featured products / brands

Comments

I think this is the best Adidas advertisement in a video clip… ever. We all know that Robbie is sponsored by Adidas (also for his football team in L.A) but Rudebox has also a funny sentence : “Rock 3 stripes not the Asics. A.D.I.D.A.S “. The song is also mentionning several brands…

Cassie : Long Way to go


The clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC1YuWwgKP4&feature=&p=B85E7D653A4C35F2&index=0&playnext=1
Featured products / brands

Red MacBook

Comments

The first red MacBook seen in a video clip. The apparition of this red MacBook lead the Apple fan community to think there will be a Red (like the iPod Nano) collection for upcoming Apple products.

Jennifer Lopez : If you had my love

The clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irwMo5M96bE

Featured products / brands

iMac 2000 Version

Comments

The first apparition of Apple products in a video clip. It’s the 2000 model of the iMac being thrown in the water.

Cassie : Me And You

The clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qgKIaxiPLY
Featured products / brands

Nokia N91

Comments

The equation is simple : Cassie = Bad Boy Records = Nokia 🙂

50 Cent : Pimp

The clip


Featured products / brands

Comments

One of the first apparition of Apple’s iPod in a video clip. Very effective because it was placed directly at the beginning !

Sandy : Unnatural Blond

The clip


Featured products / brands

Comments

Medion is a German entreprise selling IT devices (GPS, laptops and UMPCs). I don’t know the connection between Sandy and Medion, but in this video it’s obvious that there must be a secret between them !

Baby Bash : Suga Suga

The clip


Featured products / brands


Comments
I must say that I have a real doubt if the Volkswagen Beetle was innocently placed in several cuts. It’s quite unusual to see this car in video clips (apart from the clip “Candy” by Mandy Moore).

Fergie feat Ludacris: Glamourous

The clip


Featured products / brands

Comments

I must say i can’t recognize this mobile phone. If someone knows it please free to contact me !On MTV Germany the mobile phone is blured…

Update 2010: I must say Fergie was the first clip I’ve seen with the mobile phone blured. This practice is now common. Videoclips are not blured
on YouTube but are on MTV because of the derive of turning a music video into a 4 minute ad.


Faithless feat. Dido : One Step Too Far

The clip

Featured products / brands

Comments

It’s not directly a product placement, but just have a frame to frame analysis of the clip : you will see that the iBook and the software used to create the clip (it’s either an older of Final Cut or iMovie). You will also see the white task bar giving us the indication that it’s Mac OS X (I think it’s the 10.2 Version) although the indication “iBook g3” was erased.

Fergie : Fergalicious

The clip

Featured products / brands

Comments

Miss Samsung again. Sorry but like the Bad Boy Record artists, it’s obvious (with a very long frame ) that Fergie and/or Samsung wanted to promote their K5 with this video clip.

Danity Kane

The clip

Featured products / brands

Nokia 8801 ad on the street
Asanti Wheels
Virgin Megastore
McDonald’s

Comments

Again our well-know equation : Danity Kane was produced by Bad Boy Records so we need a Nokia mobile phone in the video ! One interesting thing is the fact that there are brands such as Mc Donald’s, Virgin Megastore or even for Asanti Wheels.

Missy Elliot : Gossip Folks

The clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYKI8tAELXY
Featured products / brands

Comments

During the whole clip Missy and her dancers are wearing Adidas clothes ! A good product placement for the German brand.

Gwen Steffani : Wind it up

The clip

Featured products / brands

Gucci Sunglasses

Comments

Everyone knows that Gwen wears Gucci. Why not combining the Gs ? Too obvious !

Pharell feat. Jay-Z – Frontin

The clip

Featured products / brands

Canon Powershot camera

Comments

To be quite frank I don’t think this can be a well executed placement because on no frame we can see the Canon brand. Was it really wanted or was the brand erased at the post-production ?

Nicole Scherzinger feat P.Diddy – Come 2 Me

The clip

Featured products / brands

Nokia N91

Comments

This is the first clip also using the typical Nokia ringtone directly when the clip starts ! No comment on the equation 😉

Why ?

The main question after having seen all these examples is why do the artists need to show these products ? The production costs for a clip are getting higher and higher. Using product placement helps to finance the clip production. The brands are considered then as a sponsor. This tends to be problematic because some music channels such as Viva or MTV are blurring these products during the diffusion : so artists must find a new way to pay the clip production.

Perhaps one way would be to include brand names directly in their songs (oh yes there are a lot of songs including brands : the best example would be “Pass the Courvoisier” or nearly each song of the Wu Tang Clan (they mentioned the shoe brand Clark Wallabee in several songs)). Some artists are getting paid for including product names in their song, other are just integrating them because it sounds cool (like the Corrs in their song “Never loved you anyway :” Valentino, I don’t think so You watching MTV while I lie dreaming in an empty bed”.
In my opinion the best “commercial song” is Rudebox by Robbie Williams promoting the Adidas classic clothes (even during his concerts !) in the song but also in the clip. This “new” trend is also a problem for the music channels : the clip shows are often sponsored by famous entreprises: showing a clip where a concurrent product is shown might not be accepted.

Just imagine : a show on BET sponsored by Nokia couldn’t air Fergie because she is showing a Samsung mobile phone…. Sounds stupid but we all know that business might be very hard perhaps leading to an internal decided censorship by the music channel of some clips that are showing concurrent products.

Links and more articles about the pervasive usage of product placements:

http://www.masternewmedia.org/news/2007/01/09/product_placement_and_hypercommercialism_pervade.htm
http://www.pressetext.at/pte.mc?pte=070402034 (in German)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_placement