I’m sure you’ve seen product placement in movies. You see the Transformers, you see the corresponding car commercials promoting the movie, and it’s all cool! Maybe you don’t really consciously register that a brand is being advertised, or maybe you do and chuckle about it. What matters is most people don’t seem to mind. It’s a win win for everyone. You get better quality entertainment, the production sponsor gets better market exposure, and the movie maker get’s to do it the way they want. Sometimes though, it does come across as a bit forced. Some people really resent it as a sell out that diminishes intrinsic value. Normally though, I think most people really don’t care. When it is tastefully done it does not stand out as obnoxious. Some people even go so far as to make parody of it… Jurassic Park and Space Balls come to mind. I like some of the cross-promotional integration you find as companies get movie placement in their media. There’s a recent Carl’s Jr. commercial campaign for the upcoming Spider Man release, I personally find hilarious. If I post the video here though, you should know I’m not getting paid for it, lol! Actually, there might be some legislation out there suggesting you need to disclose when you blog about some product etc, and get paid for it. that’s something I personally want to stay away from. If I share or advocate something, I’m generally doing it because I find it relevant, interesting, or entertaining for some reason. I’m not about to go out there and sell out my credibility for something I don’t like or think sucks…just not going to happen.
What I like about product placement is that it fits into media rather than detracts from it. You hear me say it all the time, but I personally cannot stand ads- especially on websites. I think they cheapen up Ning networks, and just the fact that people expect to profit from my traffic or participation feels too much like a manipulation. I will say that I’m open-minded about it. In some cases I find well aligned targeted ads compliment a site, and I have an intellectual curiosity about how Glam Media has integrated with some Ning networks with some advanced advertising strategies. Personally, I employ a qualitative monetization strategy offering social media consulting services, but I also have a proprietary social media solution where, besides networking, sponsors get an opportunity for product/ service placement in my featured social media campaign.
A little qualifier here. What I’m looking for are businesses who really want to partner with me on my project on quite an intimate level. It’s not some kind of blind association I am offering. The companies I get on board will have to be genuine and authentic in wanting to support what I am doing on a personal level. Doing so will have nothing to do really with their company and everything to do with the kind of people behind their organization. What I can say is doing things together on this level will be the kind of PR I recommend as a social media consultant to help businesses get online better and work on developing superior market intimacy. I’m also completely transparent in what I’m doing so my community is going to know just what I am doing when they see product placement in my media- and I think they will actually appreciate & want it. Can you say that about ads? Not likely, although I have seen some that had the right idea.
Why do I say product AND service placement? Obviously there is a dramatic shift in online advancement where more and more companies are offering products that are essentially immaterial services. Take Ning for example. I also feature personal service in everything I do, and this is something that is a key factor in who I do decide to associate with. Even if you have a product, if you can’t compliment that with the kind of service that makes people extremely happy and satisfied, then I don’t see why it would do me any good to help get you more exposure in my community. Fortunately, starting with my local niche, most of the companies already have a firm understanding that developing long-term relationships and going the extra mile for people are the lifeblood of their business.
How am I going to accomplish product and service placement? My site is set up where sponsors can simply get listed, if they have more time work with me on my featured social media campaign, and if they are positioned to they can also drive their own online marketing strategy. The product and service placement that I can offer is in my own social media production- and that has to do with local events centering on me and my soccer team. This story and the subsequent events are all going to be part of an ongoing video blog documentary. Around here, businesses love to get out there in the community for events such as farmers markets. I plan on working them into my movie in person and online. To show my sincere appreciation for their sponsorship, I plan on returning the favor by interviewing them and talking to them about what they are doing. It’s essentially reality t.v., and as they get involved in my story, I take the time to expand it to them. All that is done in this respect is an advanced expression of social media principles I’ve been talking about lately here on Ning Creators such as transparency, accessibility, and currency. It can be as simple as a team wearing all Nike gear to heading over to my favorite barber shop that offers military discounts. I’m extremely quick on the fly, so I can find a way to relate honestly about what I like, why people are cool, and why anyone should care about what we’re doing.
Finally, a quick note about an aspect I’m really looking forward to. I want to get this out there just because it’s something I’ve had in mind for a long time and I’m already starting to see it being done. Sucks being ahead of the curve sometimes, but that’s the name of the game when it comes to innovation. Part of what I want to do, and it’s something that I think having a Ning can really support, is to revolutionize the way soccer matches are presented. What I want to do is create more of an immersive and interactive experience where the fans produce and share the media on the site together with sponsors and the team. We’re talking everything from cell phones, video capture, player interviews, live music, after parties, the whole nine yards. There’s another Ning creator doing something similar already in http://realityfc.com. His concept is a bit different, but the basic idea in having a social media driven soccer team is still pretty innovative and poised to get hot. In terms of the actual crowd sourced production, I actually recently learned of a major car company getting a literal crowd to capture footage of an event which would be compiled into a commercial. Right there you’ve got an interactive social media production, the foundation for cross integration to social networking on a niche, and just a new sense of being more deeply involved in the moment about what’s happening with technology and culture… online and social advancement.
So that’s what I’m positioning myself and my network for in terms of offering product and service placement in social media. I wonder, are you doing anything along these lines?
Hmmm....I was thinking...want to discuss getting product and service placement for your Ning network on my site? Check out this follow up article on my Ning Creators group A Social Media Dojo- I Need Your Help To Organize A Spectator-Filmed Commercial!
Now that's the spirit SweetPotato!
I'll have you know that I'm an advocate of calling soccer American football, but as it stands that's even more confusing for some of us. Here's why though, I'm developing a new system of play that incorporates sports science from what you now know as NFL or American football. That sport is popular in this culture for a number of reasons, and the problem with popularizing American soccer has been a failure to incorporate the same principles into our style of play. I'm actually working on a system I call Centerplay and it's very different than "the beautiful game" as you see the likes of Spain or even England play. I plan on making a book out of it and using that as a basis for a development academy. Right now though, few would believe that it would work because it tends to challenge a lot of the thinking in the sport. So if I can get a soccer team going, we'll be incorporating it, and otherwise as an individual player I can still incorporate the style within the framework of conventional systems to define myself. While the sport of "football" refers to something entirely different in the American mind today, by the time I'm done I hope it becomes synonymous with the American style of play and makes sense as "American football".
BTW, you've got a great value proposition to support businesses on your site between the SEO and custom ads. My value proposition is somewhat similar except that I plan on using traditional advertisement in conjunction with physical events to get the site and those set up on it infront of businesses' respective target markets, and instead of ads I plan on positioning my sponsors within the social media production featured on the site. I would, however, like to add the value of SEO and other contemporary marketing techniques to compliment the value, and I see custom ad development could have a role just applied a bit differently as something more directed toward interaction on the site.
FYI, my target market is geographically niched so I can take liberty with traditional media more cost-effectively and give a common basis for my clients to interact with the community beyond their individual business lines. It's actually more in my interest that these business line niches are supported more directly off my site. So let's say I open up my local business directory phonebook starting with A. I'll probably be contacting a few thousand attorneys, but I wont be suggesting my services are directly related other than the socio-geographic relation. I've noted a lot of web and social media services niching specifically to this industry who might find me competition, but I'd actually rather have preferred vendors to refer interest in specialized services. I was talking to someone today who was suggesting I could use groups to hit an industry line like that, but my plan for groups is to have them assigned by individual business sponsors for dealing directly with their market rather than across industry. For those that develop a robust following, I might like to refer them to create their own social network, and those who see networking across industry, I'd like to refer them offsite to more dedicated networks.
I wish you luck with Centerplay, whatever it is, but my guess is that all the while you call it soccer you won't be taken seriously in 99% of the football playing world.
Attempts to popularise the game in the States - from Pele, Best, Beckenbauer et al in the 70s, to Diana Ross humiliating Humankind at World Cup 94, through to Beckham today - have largely failed but have left us with marketeers every so often insisting we call it soccer. Even Goldenballs Beckham uses it when banging on about LA Galaxy.
Sadly, it's a game American's by-and-large don't love or understand. That's not to be patronising, just the way it is, but it annoys many that every so often we have to try to convince Americans how great the game is so we can sell more shirts. It's FIFA's fault, corrupt bunch of Swiss as they are.
That said, you do have a decent national team, albeit one whose lofty international ranking is down purely to FIFA's ridiculous weighting of ranking points to teams playing in the CONCACAF region, and you're probably at the same level as England's sorry state of a national team.
Spain? simply awesome beyond words. Untouchable.
Right, I guess it's actually better this way. There's more opportunity to seize, more to prove, more glory to be the first. Respect comes from winning, and 3 in a row for Spain is that huge obstacle- an intimidating champion to say the least.
It's interesting to see how a team like Netherlands could fall apart like that. England's loaded with talent and just hasn't found a way to put it all together- Like Spain is essentially Barcelona and Madrid, you'd think the PL could produce a Manchester United/City quality of play.
It's also interesting to see a team like Italy come together. Now we'll just have to see how it all unfolds toward the World Cup. I'm a bit concerned the U.S. might fail to qualify this time. They should, but could easily fall apart at the wrong time. Germany seems like a powerhouse in the making, just immature. See them prime by the Cup. Brazil in Brazil, I think you got to make them the favorite.
One way or another it comes down to Spain. They're style of play asks questions about what you got in the tank, preserves their energy, and is simply perfect for major tournament play.
Yeah that's interesting. They say there are more international players in the Premier League- some leagues make a point of ration for the sake of development of their national teams, but England is beyond that. Americans, for instance, try to get in to develop and improve their chances of competing on an international level.
The business side of soccer relates quite well to advertising and marketing. On a basic level you have the sponsorships- which you can generally see people wear on their uniforms. There's also the typical panel slideshows on the barriers. Television can tie in sponsors like Barcleys, and there's also graphic inserts and commercials before, halftime, and after of course. The sports channels get some hefty deals, but you also know tournaments are a major economic driver.
FIFA's been criticized for corruption. The World Cup bid process this last round for Russia and that place out in the desert were really subject to criticism. The U.S. had a very strong business proposal that if you were talking straight economics for the sport was a winner. However, that doesn't take into account the back door deals that go straight into FIFA executives' pockets. Not to say that the U.S. doesn't have it's own version of this. The college football scene with end of year bowl games stipulates a lot of money into very specific pockets.
I think, with a focus on more transparency, you could get more product and service placement into sporting events, show the involvement and benefit for all sponsors and other businesses involved, and still preserve the integrity of the experience. American college sports programs for instance, like basketball, have had some success incorporating corporate sponsors indirectly. The question was whether these programs were selling out, and if sponsors were latching onto individual players like they do in the pro's. However, what they did was position the sponsors for the programs as a whole, and set some parameters like they could not touch players.
What I'm working on starts with transparency. So everyone can see where the money is going and how that can support the economy of those involved. The focus is on getting a lot of smaller businesses in for the specific purpose of developing superior market intimacy with the community. Also, the community is hopefully involved as an active participant in the social media production. This is all possible through the simple fact that I have a Ning social network. -A