Big News! We won Ad Age Small Agency of the Year.

April 13, 2023

AI Will Bring Affordable Product Placements Soon(ish)

Bill May

AI Will Bring Affordable Product Placement article.

Historically, if you wanted your product in a scene of a movie or television show, costs would be astronomical and only the largest of brands could afford it. Why? The audience is large, the influence of the actors, and exposure is nationwide.

How do products get placed?

A team of placement professionals will spend months reviewing storyboards, scripts, or footage to determine the best placement for the most impact for the brand.

Then typically, filming happens with the contract signed and the product placed but oftentimes products are placed after filming. How, you ask? You may not be familiar with the term rotoscoping, but it’s quite literally the act of painting frame by frame. Whether you’re removing something from a scene, or placing something in, a rotoscope artist completes this by painting in (or out) each frame of the video. Most video is either shot at 24 fps (frames per second) or 29.97 fps.  Unless the footage was shot with the product already placed, it would take months for professional rotoscopers to either replace a product or place the new product in the scene. Thus, there’s no affordable solution.

Bring in the machines!

However, with the rise of AI, there’s an opportunity to streamline processes and improve accuracy. Custom AI models are now being developed that can analyze scenes in a matter of seconds and suggest the most effective product placements. Think of it like watching a movie but on 50X fast forward, all the while analyzing and documenting opportunities. This programmatic approach and speed difference reduces cost.

The AI model takes into account various factors such as the demographics of the target audience, the plot of the show, the mood of the scene, and the position of the camera to make its suggestions. With these advanced algorithms, AI can predict which product placements would resonate with the audience and drive sales.

Also, AI models are making real headway in programmatic rotoscoping, removing this laborious task from paid staff. As of this writing, AI models are on the verge of doing this in real time.

Putting it all together.

Imagine this, you live in the southeast and your friend lives in the northwest. You both watch the same TV series, but you see a bottle of Texas Pete in the dinner scene while your friend sees a bottle of Tabasco. There have been rumors of streaming services adopting these AI implementations which will, for the first time ever, allow audience segmentation by interests, data collection, and geographics.

You will, finally, be able to afford prime product placements.

AI will soon be a game-changer in the world of product placement with its ability to analyze and predict consumer behavior, real-time rotoscoped product placement/replacement, and audience segmentation. Product placement can finally become obtainable and affordable for many brands.

We’re still a few years away, but we see it coming! You can bet the Creative Energy team will be at the forefront so we can leverage this capability to help elevate brands.