Virtual Marketing Realities

In April 2005, "a breakthrough in television advertising debuted without fanfare" -- a new technology that allows product placements to be digitally added, after scenes are filmed. The technology, called Digital Brand Integration (DBI), was developed by Marathon Ventures, as part of "an unprecedented marketing deal with CBS." DBI has added brands like Kellogg's to the sitcom "Yes, Dear," and StarKist and Chevrolet to "CSI" and "How I Met Your Mother." Marathon "expects to unveil a new pact soon with the Fox network," reports Reuters. But "virtual product placement" dates back to at least 1999, when "images of several brands, including Coca-Cola and Blockbuster video, were digitally spliced into an episode of the now-defunct drama 'Seven Days.'" "According to Nielsen Media Research, network placements in prime time last year numbered 108,261, up more than 30 percent from 2004."