As I pointed out in Chapter 3, advertisers have little need of subliminal techniques because there are other methods of advertising that don't provoke the same controversy or social concern. Fears of subliminal effects have been grossly overblown, while subtle effects that are not so 'hidden' from consciousness have more impact.
There can be advantages for advertisers in communicating their message obliquely or indirectly outside the full glare of attention, as we saw in the previous chapter. Despite a lessened sense of a message, we get the message just the same but it is less likely to trigger counter-argument. In a sense, it goes under the radar.
In this chapter I look at another form of advertising that goes under the radar: that of advertisers paying (either in cash or in kind) for their brands to be embedded in the storyline of movies, games, TV programs, song lyrics, music videos or books.
Sometimes called 'brand placement', 'product placement', or 'program integrations', this practice has grown explosively, driven along not so much by a need for stealth but as a reaction by advertisers to the threat posed by our newfound ability to fast forward through the TV ad breaks.
When digital video recorders enabled us to fast forward through the ads, advertisers became more limited in their ability to engage us at a conscious level by using conventional advertising. This, along with a proliferation in the number of TV channels, was taking the 'mass' out of mass media audiences. Advertisers realized that they desperately needed to find other ways to reach consumers with their brand messages.
If consumers could increasingly screen out conventional TV ads by fast forwarding, what else could advertisers use to provide support