Eye on Product Placements

Feb 23, 2004  •  Post A Comment

CBS has partnered with product placement valuation company iTVX to help the network explore how to put price tags on product placements in several series on CBS and UPN.
Described as a small deal that’s exploratory in nature, the pact calls for iTVX, a New Rochelle, N.Y.-based software company, to use its product-placement valuation tool, Instant Access, to evaluate such things as how well a product placement is integrated into a scene, the clarity of a brand’s logo and the overall presence of the product in a scene to derive a dollar value of that product placement. Both companies declined to put a dollar figure on the venture.
The shows expected to be evaluated include “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Yes, Dear,” “King of Queens,” “Survivor” and “CSI” on CBS and UPN’s “Girlfriends.”
CBS is the first broadcast network to partner with iTVX, but company President Frank Zazza expects others to do so soon. Already, iTVX counts as clients Unilever, Snapple, Best Foods, Verizon and Kraft Foods.
While CBS officials declined to say what the networks might do with the valuation information once they get it, Mr. Zazza believes product-placement valuation data provides networks with a raft of sales opportunities to exploit.
Among them is the ability of a network to approach a company whose product generated a high valuation in an episode and offer that company the first advertising position that follows the product placement event during a repeat airing of that show.
Such opportunities also create links between a program and the advertiser, Mr. Zazza said. “Ninety-seven percent of product placements are not structured deals between the network and the product marketer,” he added. “This allows you to pay on results, not investment, because it takes what is already out there and measures it.”
The latest version of Instant Access, which was introduced in September, generates product placement values based on information provided by a user. Among the criteria considered are how clearly the brand logo stands out among other items; how clearly identifiable the logo is and whether a character from the show walks past or touches the product or utters the brand name. The software can also evaluate the seamlessness of the product placement-an important factor in judging the success of the placement.
The tool is seen as helping advertisers reach consumers at a time when many viewers are growing tired of being bombarded with ads and when personal video recorders are permitting viewers to fast-forward through commercials.
“Frank has turned this thing into something that gives agencies and clients a deeper look into the value and comparisons of product placements,” said Peter Gardiner, partner and chief media officer of Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Deutsch, a New York-based advertising agency, one of the early adopters of iTVX’s product. “I think this is the first step toward changing a part of the business.”