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New Software Fine-Tunes Product Placement Values

Sep 15, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The art of product placement valuation just got a little more precise.
iTVX, a New Rochelle, N.Y.-based company that launched a product placement valuation tool more than a year ago, has released a new version of its Instant Access software that promises to deliver an even more granular analysis of the impact product placement has on television shows and movies-and the value of those placements.
New Details
Among the highlights is the Web-based software’s ability to evaluate the product placement’s integration into a scene, the clarity of the brand logo and the presence of the product, and use those factors to derive an even more accurate valuation. In addition, the software can measure the impact over the life of an episode that features product placement, adding to the total valuation based on how many times the episode has run.
“We are now able to create what-if scenarios to determine the type of placement,” said iTVX President Frank Zazza. He said users can now run analyses before discussions between show producers and brand managers take place to determine the most effective way to place a product in a TV show, a movie or a sporting event.
Good Timing
Mr. Zazza believes the timing couldn’t be better. With many in the industry betting that digital video recorders will be hugely popular among consumers, and an acknowledgement among advertisers that consumers are growing weary of being bombarded with ads, cracking the code on smart product placement, and what exactly to pay for it, has grown ever more important.
“It provides a quantification, in addition to a qualitative value, of product placements,” said Peter Gardiner, partner and chief media officer of Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Deutsch, a New York-based advertising agency, which was one of the first companies to use the iTVX valuation tool.
Other clients include Unilever, Snapple, Best Foods, Verizon and Kraft Foods. Mr. Zazza said the software is also being licensed internationally, with iTVX having struck deals in Canada, Chile, New Zealand and Australia.
The previous version valued product placements based on factors such as length of the segment featuring the product, how close the camera got to the product in question, whether a person touches the product and whether someone mentions the name of the product as part of the dialogue. But the new version takes things a few steps further.
Based on input from the user, the tool can now generate a valuation based on such factors as how many times the segment ran, how clearly identifiable the brand logo is and the brand’s placement among other items. For example, does a box of Cheerios easily stand out among other foods, such as cans of soup, or is it one of several cereal boxes on a shelf?
Perhaps most important, the software can evaluate the seamlessness of the reference to the product. That factor is something to which many in the advertising community have paid particularly close attention as advertising and television executives try to strike a delicate balance by being smart about the product placement without being intrusive or blatant.
Indeed, after witnessing searing criticism of some of the tactics used during NBC’s reality series “The Restaurant,” in which some references to show sponsors such as American Express and Mitsubishi were seen as abrupt and jarring, the issue of integration has become an important consideration in product placement, Mr. Zazza said.
The software features a media player that replays the scene in a movie or TV show that features the product placement, simultaneously conducting analyses, including gauging the level of integration, clarity and presence of the product in question. In addition, the player provides a per-second and overall tabulation based on data entered by the user.
The results are a more comprehensive analysis of the impact of the product placement, Mr. Zazza said. He used an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” that first aired in December 2002 to illustrate the point.
With the earlier software, a product placement of Ragu Express, a ready-to-eat pasta product, on “Everybody Loves Raymond” produced a valuation of $97,087 for the eight seconds that the product appeared on the show. When analyzed by the new software, which considers the additional factors, the valuation jumped to $137,376.