Modern day product placements could soon be appearing in old episodes of your favourite tv shows or films that are decades old.

Film producers and TV networks are working with advertisers to insert computer generated products into scenes.

Producers can now put a different billboard for a brand that is out today behind a character in a programme from the 90’s or beer bottle on a table next to a character in a movie that was released years ago.


British firm Mirriadis one of the main companies behind this artificial intelligence tool that scans scenes in movies and looks for places where an advert or product can be inserted on the back of a magazine or on a billboard.

Mirriad has digitally added products to US sitcoms like Modern Family and How I Met Your Mother, the hit French drama Call My Agent and UK shows like First Dates Hotel and Made in Chelsea.

In Call My Agent for example they added a packet of Carte Noire coffee to a scene in a kitchen and put branding on the cups. This technology can add posters to blank walls and buses and create billboards where there’s an empty space in a road. They can add 3D objects to scenes where there is an empty table. 



CEO of Mirriad Stephen Beringer explained “When film producers license the film to outside markets there is a new revenue opportunity because they can rebrand things. We could insert US brands into a UK show without having touched the original material. The flexibility is just incredible.” He also explained that depending on who the viewer is or where they are watching they can allow for a personalised advertising within a series. This means that while one viewer might see a bottle of beer another user might see a carton of juice.

Andrew Stephen, a professor of marketing at Oxford University explained that a tool like this has a lot of potential. “Just like we can have personalised digital ads served to us on digital platforms so the ads are more tailored to our preferences, interests or even past behaviours, I can see this AI tool being used for essentially the same.”

The AI tool can also detect emotion in a scene so they could add products to shows retrospectively adding an extra layer of context or meaning for a brand such as a poster of baby food being placed in the background of a couple meeting for the first time in a romantic comedy.

“In the future brands will have the ability with our algorithms to programme very specific new opportunities to help their brands come to life in the content,” Beringer said.



These product placements need to be approved by the key decision makers including directors, distributors and the brand to avoid changing a scene in a way the creators would not like so care time and attention needs to be given to each scene that may potentially be altered by AI in the future.


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