Covert Advertising

Posted on March 19, 2009 in The Basics with 0 Comment

Covert advertising is presently a hot trend in promoting products and services. It embeds a product or brand in entertainment and media and uses undercover tactics turning ordinary entertainment into an extended ad. It raises brand or name image making it more recognizable and memorable to the target audience. In the film, “Minority Report”, where Tom Cruise’s character, John Anderton, owns a Nokia phone and a Bulgari watch with the logos highly visible to the audience. Another is the futuristic film, “I, Robot,” where Will Smith’s character made mention of his Converse shoes a couple of times calling them classics. Auto makers use films to advertise their models such as “Spaceballs” (Audi and Mercedez-Benz), “James Bond” (Aston Martin, Ford, BMW, Saab, etc.), “The Matrix Reloaded” (Cadillac).


James Bond film car model

In the film “Bladerunner”, the product placement was very obvious where the whole film stops to show a Coca-Cola billboard. This type of advertising is also used in reality shows and television series. Screenwriters and actors, however, find covert advertising not so pleasing partly because, unlike reality TV stars, they are not paid for such endorsement. In addition, covert ads jeopardize the integrity of their craft. Hence, writers and actors are calling for disclosure informing the audience at the start of the program that they will be subject to covert ads.

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