Will Cool New Technology Ruin Classic Films?

I’ve written about product placement before, in which advertisers pay to have their products appear in a TV show or film.

London-based Mirriad has created a technology that uses uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse films and TV episodes for space (tables, walls, etc.) and determine where ads or objects can be subtly inserted.

It means old Hollywood classics like The Wizard of Oz or Yankee Doodle Dandy could soon appear on streaming services with the newest ads in the background, like a new Apple smartphone or the latest Burger King whopper.

Just imagine watching Dorothy walking down the yellow brick road, and there is a billboard off to the side advertising Verizon Wireless.

The photo at the top of the post shows a shot from The Great Escape; the one on the left is the original scene; the one on the right has a digitally inserted ad for Samsung phones.

Here is a short video (45 seconds), that shows the technology in action:

Mirriad’s technology could even allow different ads to be seen by different people, based on their internet search history, just like targeted ads on Facebook.

The potential of Mirriad’s is not just limited to films and TV shows – musicians could willingly add new digital product placement to their old music videos for an extra source of revenue.

It is a pretty cool technology, but that doesn’t mean it should be used.

Yes, it represents another source of revenue for the content provider, but at what cost to the artistry of the original creation. Samsung TVs did not exist when The Great Escape was made. I think seeing such ads would make us start questioning everything we watch or listen to.

Can you imagine a Budweiser sitting on the President’s desk in this clip from Yankee Doodle Dandy?

Something about this just does not seem right; I’ll be keeping an eye on this to see how it plays out.

44 thoughts on “Will Cool New Technology Ruin Classic Films?

  1. I watched Godzilla vs. Kong last weekend, and was really annoyed by a scene where a CNN news anchor is narrating the destruction of some city. It’s a Warner Bros. movie. When I got home I realized that Warner Bros. and CNN are owned by the same company. A beautiful example of product placement.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you, Jim..I admire many advances but also think enough is enough…I dislike adverts intently and I have an inner button that switches off if I can’t switch the ad of before utube starts for example…sigh… and contrary to what these advertising guru’s think I also do not remember the ad..I switch off completely …its a no from me if I had a vote πŸ™‚ x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually don’t mind ads (I am sure I am in the minority), but this just seems wrong to put something in an old movie that simply does not belong there.


  3. I am okay with product placement in films that are being shot, but to surreptitiously places ads into older films I find abhorrent. Next we will be viewing the Mona Lisa with an IPad in her lap or wearing a pair of Beats headphones. Maybe a quick re-write of Moby Dick to include an ad for the latest nautical themed clothing line. I mean, where would this stop. If we stop respecting the art, the artists will stop making it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m not for product placement being used at all in the classics.while. ( they would however, be great as memes,)
    keep them out of the old movies. as a person who used to work in advertising, with the film studios as my clients, I understand the value and usage, and it can be extremely effective, but let that be a choice in new films that are made, and let the classics be classics. just my strong opinion….)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. and your opinion has the added weight of experience in the field of advertising. I agree that product placement is fine in new films and shows, but you shouldn’t be allowed to go back into older ones and edit as you see fit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. …At the expense of authenticity, which is why I’d lose respect for whoever it is that alters the content. Such tomfoolery taints the whole film and everyone associated with it. It disrespects the film and the audience. But hey, the almighty dollar rules. Sad.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sometimes you really have to wonder what people are thinking, when they think something is such a good idea! There is a time and place for new technology, and Classic movies is not one of those places!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A ludicrous idea. Playing spot the ad while watching an old movie? No thanks. Taken to extremes this could end up with shots of Coke cans on the President’s desk. Oh, wait…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah it’s the rule of five or something like that where at first you’re annoyed but after seeing it 5 times, or maybe 7 I’m not sure what the exact number is, you’ll want to buy it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Lol this reminds me of a train of thought I used to have, on how SO many classic movies and shows’ problems could’ve been solved with just a mobile phone. Thanks for this, Jim!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Budweiser on the presidents desk?Blasphemous! Who would drink such a beer? (this comment was brought to you by Coors Light. Get yourself a nice crispy cold Coors today)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. who would have thought that a blog could be a place for product placement πŸ™‚

      and I guess if the president is trying to show that he or she is a regular guy/gal, Budweiser might be the best prop…


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