Welcome to readin – the best world tech news chanel.

AI drives a new era of product placement| GuyWhoKnowsThings


Product placement, one of the oldest tricks in advertisers' toolbox, is revamping AI.

New technology has made it easier to insert digital, realistic-looking versions of soda and shampoo cans onto YouTube and TikTok video walls and tables. And a growing group of creators and advertisers are taking advantage of the opportunity to earn an additional revenue stream.

A recent Tik Tok of dancer Melissa Becraft featured a poster for Bubly, the sparkling water brand owned by PepsiCo, hanging on the wall of her apartment while she danced to a Shakira song. a duo known as hive mind They chatted about bands as an animated can of Starry soda, another brand owned by PepsiCo, landed on a table between them. And a YouTube video of the “AsianBossGirl” podcast She recently showed off a chart of Garnier hair products.

Virtual Product Placements have been offered by startups and streaming services like Amazon Prime and NBC's Peacock in recent years. But a recent wave of them on social media, in which short animated messages revealing sponsorships appear in the videos themselves, is the work of a new company called Rembrand.

The ads hint at one way AI could shape advertising in the future, especially as marketers look to reach younger viewers who tend to skip or ignore standard ads.

Rembrand executives say their technology could transform product placement, which has often been used to reduce production costs on larger projects and which can take weeks, months or sometimes years to negotiate.

For creators, it's a way to make money from advertisers without physically handling products or discussing them.

“It feels like I'm creating my own genuine content, but it doesn't scream that I'm making an ad,” said Becraft, 28, who made two TikTok videos featuring Bubly. “I have no obligation to talk about it.”

Product placement in the United States is estimated to be a nearly $23 billion industry, according to PQ Media, a research firm. It has become increasingly attractive to advertisers, who worry that consumers will skip commercials or ads before YouTube videos.

The shift in audiences toward social platforms and advances in technology have opened a new frontier for this work, moving it beyond putting Coca-Cola glasses on the “American Idol” judges' table or cereal brands on the tables. WB shows.

Rembrand, which has 42 employees and is based in Palo Alto, California, believes it is at the forefront of these changes. It has raised $14 million in seed funding from companies including Greycroft and the venture arms of UTA Ventures and L'Oreal since its inception in 2022. One of its founders, Omar Tawakol, 55, spent years in programmatic advertising and is better known for founded and sold BlueKai, which helped marketers track users' online behavior for ad targeting, to Oracle in 2014.

Tawakol said he saw an opportunity to use AI to insert virtual products into influencer videos and turn them into a quick and easy ad buy.

Rembrand uses a form of generative AI that can “take an existing scene and figure out how to place a product in it,” Tawakol said. “The product has to look exactly right; Pepsi won't forgive you if you ruin their logo,” he added.

The company “had to bring the laws of physics into the network,” Tawakol said, to make objects respond appropriately to things like light, camera distance, and motion. Rembrand started putting podcasts on YouTube because “they used to be indoors, they used to have fixed cameras, and they used to have a table and a wall,” he said.

It then expanded to LinkedIn and TikTok; Instagram is next. (The company said it chose the name Rembrand, an allusion to the Dutch artist, who spelled it Rembrandt, because he wanted an artistic bent while also sounding like an abbreviation for “remember the brand.”)

Rembrand is still asking creators like Becraft to film indoors while they improve the technology. “The things I'm most famous for are dancing outside in the rain and dancing in Times Square,” she said. “They told me that if you did, our technology could cause a heart attack.”

The locations are not as subtle as those in television shows. starry and bubbly cans Move before entering the videos and the logos will scroll over them. The company shared a demo in which a digitized Tide Pen danced across a podcast host's shirt and wiped away a stain before disappearing, “Fantasia” style. The company experimented with “what animations were acceptable” after realizing they could draw attention to products, said Cory Treffiletti, 50, Rembrand's marketing director.

Madison Luscombe, director of marketing at Creator Society, an agency working with Becraft, said that while the use of AI-generated product placement was in its infancy, the deals could be valuable for “entertainment creators” seeking They focus on presentations, podcasts or games, and brands don't necessarily reach out to them as often to praise mascara or new snacks to their fans.

Advertisers use Rembrand's marketplace to connect with over 1,000 creators from agencies it works with. Creators upload their videos to their platform and receive them within 24 hours with product placement. Rembrand has someone check the quality and another check the appearance of the brand. Creators then upload the clips and finally get paid by brands based on video views. Rembrand declined to share specific figures on the payments.

The company said it hoped to become a “self-service platform” by the middle of this year, where any creator or brand could connect and run digital product placement campaigns without Rembrand's involvement.

When asked why YouTube, TikTok and Instagram didn't offer this option directly to creators on their platforms, Tawakol said he would “love” if they wanted to work with him. “I designed my business to integrate with platforms,” he said. “We want to be the best in the world at this very specific problem.”




Share this article:
you may also like
Next magazine you need
most popular

what you need to know

in your inbox every morning