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Amazon, Peacock Unveil Virtual Product Placement Technology

Tom Wilton

As part of its product and content showcase at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) NewFronts in New York City this week, Amazon demonstrated a new ad tool: virtual product placements (VPP). Currently operating in beta, VPP promises to let advertisers place branded products into TV shows and movies after they have been produced.

The company is pitching VPP as a tool to free showrunners and filmmakers during the production process, allowing them to remain focused on creativity rather than satisfying a brand partner. The tech has already been implemented in several Amazon Prime Video and Freevee Originals, including “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” the Bosch franchise, “Reacher,” and “Leverage: Redemption.”

The technology allows for things like billboards, signs, and screens to have different messaging throughout the show’s life on the streamer. This will allow Amazon to integrate different products into episodes at different times and perhaps even for different users.

“Virtual Product Placement is a game changer,” said Henrik Bastin, executive producer of “Bosch: Legacy” and CEO of Fabel Entertainment. “It creates the ability to film your series without thinking about all that is required with traditional placements during production. Instead, you can sit with the final cut and see where a product could be seamlessly and naturally integrated into the storytelling.”

Amazon claims that brands are finding value in VPP. The company says that an unnamed consumer products goods business saw a 14.7% increase in purchase intent for their campaign, and a 6.9% increase in brand favorability.

Peacock also made an appearance at the NewFronts, showing off their own post-production ad tech. Dubbed “Peacock In-Scene Ad,” the prototype system promises to identify key moments within a show in which to insert more personalized messaging. John Jelley, SVP of Product and UX at Peacock, notes a high-quality ad service is important for the company’s AVOD (advertising-based video on demand) offering.

“The majority of Peacock customers are opting for our ad-supported experience,” he said, “and we remain focused on collaborating with our brand partners to develop innovative, personalized ad experiences that continue to enhance the customer experience.”

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