Product Placement in Music Videos

Has anyone ever noticed how some music videos seem more like commercials? For example, in Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” music video, he spends half the time in a Mini Cooper and the other half riding a Vespa. The video features Bruno Mars who rides in the Mini Cooper with Travie while they sing and smile driving down a sunny California highway with the top down. Later Travie gives this vehicle to a delighted stranger who is seen throughout the video wearing a Dakine backpack while searching for a ride. Another example is Ke$ha’s music video for “We R Who We R”. The music video includes various shots of Ke$ha and her glamourous friends drinking from a distinct blue bottle of Revolucion tequila. The video also features a shot of Ke$ha’s pink and black Baby-G watch (I do not know about you but I do not think I have worn a Baby-G watch since about the third grade). The most obvious promotion in the music video was for a dating website called, the video shows Ke$ha scrolling though profiles of potentials in multiple shots which the web address prominently displayed at the top.

Another way that artists promote products is to include them in the very lyrics of the song. Many rap artists include Patron tequila in their songs. Is this because Patron is an easy word to rhyme or are the rappers actually endorsing the product? Some artists actually have the name of the product in the chorus! For example, Patron is featured in the chorus of “My Drink n’ My 2 Step” by American hip hop artist Cassidy. Hip hop singer and rapper Lil Mama clearly promotes MAC and L’Oreal cosmetics in her song (and music video) “Lip Gloss”.

Personally, I think some of these product placements are tasteless and tacky. It is very obvious to me that the artist is trying to sell something to the viewers and I find it to be annoying. I understand that the artists needs to raise money to create these music videos and it would be okay if artists could be more subtle with the promotion. I would even compromise and say that Katy Perry’s endorsement of the Nokia phone in her music video for the song “Roar” was tolerable. Product placement just tends to get out of hand and ruin the potential for the musician to create an interesting artistic music video. An example of product endorsement going too far is Lady GaGa’s nine-minute music video for her song “Telephone” featuring Beyoncé. In the comments below try to name all the products featured in the music video.

Your Recycling Bin is Stalking You

               People think it’s creepy when the internet monitors how much you google something, but in London they have it way creepier! Recycling bins in London are monitoring the phones of people who pass by, so that advertisers can target messages at people whom the bin recognizes.


The company, Renew, has installed 100 recycling bins with digital screens around London before the 2012 Olympics. Advertisers can buy space in the internet-connected bins and get the city 5% of the airtime display to public information. The bins also have technology that scans the smartphones of people who are walking by.

The idea is to bring internet tracking cookies into the real world. The bins keep track of a unique identification number (known as a MAC address) for any nearby phones and other devices that have Wi-Fi turned on. That allows Renew to be able to tell if the person walking by is the same from yesterday and the specific route down the street…. It even records HOW FAST the person is walking!

            For example, if a coffee company wants to win over customers from another rival, they can buy the bins and track if you are a loyal customer and come often and then tailor the ads on the bins accordingly.

This kind of personalized advertising, according to the company, does not invade anyone’s privacy. London is the most heavily surveillanced city in the world and so this is considered legal in the country.

The company wants to expand this new technology to all of the recycling bins in huge cities and Dubai and New York City.

There is a London bar that Renew wants to install five tracking devices in: one by the entrance, one on the roof, one near the cash register and 2 in the bathrooms. This way the bar could know each person’s gender (from the bathroom trackers), how long they stay (dwell time).

The bins track almost a million people every single day who are walking from work, home and restaurants.

There is a way to avoid your phone being tracked, and this is by turning off the Wi-Fi on the device or filling out a privacy form online. The woman who is in charge of the recycling bin company said, “the chances are, if we don’t see you on the first, second, or third day, we’ll eventually capture you…we just need you to have it on once.”

Personally, this freaks me out and I do not want anyone tracking me walking down the street. I think that we need to form together as citizens and put our phones on airplane mode when we are in the streets!

Before we only had to watch out for humans stalking us and staring us down when walking in the streets of the city, but now we have to worry about recycling bins? This is crazy!

Popcorn Protection Plan

This new piece of data will blow your minds away.

Here is an interesting new finding: eating popcorn in the movie theater makes people immune to advertising! A new study that was conducted by Cologne University has come to the conclusion that chewing makes advertising ineffective when sitting in the movie theater.

A researcher from Berlin has come out to say that “the mundane activity of eating popcorn made participants immune to the pervasive effects of advertising.”

I usually get irritated when I hear people munching and crunching on their popcorn, but apparently advertisers are beginning to get irritated as well.

The first thing that came to my mind when I was trying to process this study is how

scientists came up with this unique conclusion. A quick summary of the findings suggests that the reason why adverts have the ability to implant brand names into our brains is because our lips and tongues automatically stimulate the pronunciation of a new brand name when we first hear it.

Every time we see the name again, our mouth subconsciously practices the pronunciation of the name and that is how it manages to stick in our heads.

But chewing is disturbing this “inner speech” that advertisers have been using for so long to make us memorize the brand.

There was even an entire experiment where 50 people in a theater were given popcorn and 50 people were given nothing to eat during the show. I always snack on something when I watch previews in the movie theater and I never remember anything being commercialized.

At the end of the screening, there was a test and the study showed that the commercials had no effect on those who were munching on popcorn the entire time.

The man who created this study suggests that his research might in fact be the end of selling traditional popcorn in the movie theater. Any thoughts on that?

I personally think that it is a really out-of-the-box claim to say that popcorn is the reason why advertisements do not sink in our heads. However, I am not a psychology major, so I do not know the extent of this whole “inner speech” thing, but after reading the article in the Guardian I guess it makes sense.

Could food be the ultimate killer for all commercials?

Have advertisements found their ultimate weakness?

Do you guys buy this new study?


When Ads turn Bad

Advertisements can be “bad Ads” is many different ways. 

They can be:

  • Ineffective
  • poorly created 
  • poorly executed
  • uncomfortable
  • obnoxious

The list goes on.  But as you can see the word Bad can mean many different things.  Bad to whom, the viewer, the consumer, the client or the agency?  And bad execution vs. bad content.  

Here are a couple example of bad ads and why I think they are “bad”. 

Last effort to make Crocs Cool!  First of all crocs are comfy.  No denying that.  But they will never be “cool”.  SHowing teens and combining them with the element of sex does not change that fact.

Anti-statutory rape commercial is awkward, first stating “if you have sex with and underaged girl…” that already makes the commercials point hard to follow and does not make anyone want to focus and finish the message.

Homeland security or Spa?  This is relating to being aware of situations and alarming homeland security, so why does the model look so serene, calm and at peace if she is supposedly in danger?

These ads are all for very different target audiences and trying to sell very different services, messages or products, however they are all somehow missing the mark.  They are inefficient or awkward.  Promoting the wrong message or no message.

“Ad-ception:” Implementing Advertisements in Unexpected Ways



BuzzFeed is a beloved news and entertainment source for college students and people looking to kill time alike. The website features a variety of stories, from “19 Side Effects of Majoring in Political Science” to “The Most Epic Twerk Fail of All Time” (BuzzFeed website). The articles on BuzzFeed are widely shared across various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. On the top of each article, readers have the option to directly link to Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, and Pinterest. While these articles are considered to be fun and essentially ad-free, BuzzFeed profits from their partnerships with various corporations.

In the article “14 of the Most Beautiful Roads In the World,” BuzzFeed writers created an article filled with pictures of beautiful roads (BuzzFeed website). These pictures are provided through the MINI Automobile corporation, a BuzzFeed partner. While photographs of MINI cars are not visible in any of the pictures, there is a small and entertaining YouTube video at the end of the article titled “MINI. NOT NORMAL” (BuzzFeed website). Immediately after viewing the pictures, readers click on the video and see the MINI vehicles as their ultimate companions for driving on the beautiful roads previously shown in the article.

BuzzFeed is transparent with their advertisements. When an article is sponsored, BuzzFeed will say the article is presented by a BuzzFeed partner. On their website, BuzzFeed attracts advertisements by “promoting brand content, gaining earned media, and monitoring your social spread” (BuzzFeed website). The digital use of these advertisements is new because MINI does not directly advertise. They do not use pictures with MINI cars driving down the beautiful roads; rather, MINI utilizes subliminal messaging within the article to spark readers interest. According to New York Times journalist Tanzina Vega, “it is increasingly difficult for readers to tell editorial content from advertising [in the media universe]” (New York Times, 2013). Many of the BuzzFeed articles are not sponsored, so readers hardly notice when an article has been funded by a partner.

This is a creative and effective way for MINI to advertise through the use of digital media. While BuzzFeed is merely a news and entertainment website, it is widely spread through social media platforms. By not explicitly advertising the product throughout the article, consumers are more willing to share the photographs with their friends, thus drawing more readers to the actual page. Additionally, MINI’s sponsorship is not seen as negative by many readers because MINI has provided them with an array of beautiful roads. Andrew Sullivan, editor of the New Republic blogger for the Daily Beast, provides a different view on the matter, and suggests “Your average reader isn’t interested in [ads]. They don’t realize they are being fed corporate propaganda” (New York Times, 2013).

Here is a link to the aforementioned article. . .

Here is the YouTube video at the end of the article



“14 Of The Most Beautiful Roads In The World.” BuzzFeed. MINI, n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2013. <


“BuzzFeed Advertising.” BuzzFeed. n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2013. <


“Sponsors Now Pay for Online Articles, Not Just Ads –” The New York Times.

N.p., 7 Apr. 2013. Web. 8 Sept. 2013. <


Sullivan, Danny. “As News Publications Experiment With Sponsored Content, Google Says

Keep It Out Of Google News.” Search Engine Land: News on Search Engines. N.p., 27 Mar. 2013. Web. 8 Sept. 2013. < sponsored-out-153352>.