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.