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Our society has become saturated with traditional display advertising. Consumers have learned to tune out, or even pay to omit ads altogether.

The most glaring example of this can be seen in television. If you have seen an episode of NBC’s “The Office” lately, you might have noticed product placement for Sandals Resorts, Apple, Gateway, Chili’s, Cisco and many others. In the episode “The Merger,” the character Kevin uses a Staples-branded shredding machine to shred a Staples branded CD-R and other non-paper dwight the officeitems.

Product placement and sponsorship are appearing more than ever in radio, television and motion pictures. Each day the products and entertainment we love are becoming more entangled in each other’s success. Naturally, the same advertising shift is taking place online.

A Familiar Problem

Advertisers have long understood the benefit of sponsored content — soap operas got their epithet because they were sponsored by soap manufacturers such as Procter and Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers. But content creators and networks moved away from this form of advertising because it limited inventory.

A show sponsorship can only be sold once, but distinctly separating content with commercials allows the ad inventory to be sold hundreds of times to different advertisers. Essentially, the networks got rid of custom sponsorship then created standard ad units and sold them all to the highest bidder. Initially, it worked. But the number of television and radio stations multiplied, niche content networks were created, and soon advertisers had thousands of options to promote themselves. Every network was selling the exact same thing, creating a commodity out of television and radio ad inventory.

Pretty good teaser huh? Read my whole article at Website Magazine.