Product Placement in Online Videos

The LA Times wrote today about product placement in online videos — a subject dear to my heart. In fact just last week I collaborated to spoof whole concept (stay tuned in about a week for the video).

Back last summer — before I had much of an audience on YouTube — I made a product-placement parody called “Viral Video Broker.” I played a pushy executive who is trying to get YouTube celebrities to “sell out” to marketers and advertisers.

I’ve always been perplexed as to why viewers or YouTube would possibly object to product placement. I still haven’t made a dime from YouTube despite being one of the most viewed creators. I was passed over for the site’s new “partners” program that shares advertising revenue with creators, but that income still wouldn’t offset the time and cost of creating videos. Unless YouTube figures out a way to introduce more than banner ads for CPMs less than $20, it’s not going to be life changing.

I do product placement to make ends meet. This includes my first sponsor, Mentos, and my recent one GPS Maniac. And I’ve provided marketers with tips to work with YouTubers to promote brands.

The going rate for a video can range from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on complexity of the shoot. The trick, of course, is to be transparent.

From the article (by David Sarno):

Other businesses have found that staying above board works just fine.

GPS Maniac, a consumer information website (, paid YouTube funnyman Kevin Nalts to produce and star in a video called “What GPS Thinks.” In it, the viewer gets to eavesdrop on the female GPS unit’s inner monologue as she bemoans her bad luck with drivers. “I get this clown who never even leaves New Jersey,” she mocks. “Who needs to navigate New Jersey, for God’s sake?”

In the credits, there is an explicit thank you to GPS Maniac for its sponsorship. According to Dana Fisher of GPS Maniac, the attention Nalts’ video received — 26,000 views to date — has been a major traffic driver to the site. GPS Maniac has been so pleased that it has hired Nalts to produce future projects.

YouTube funnyman?

Author: Nalts

Hi. I'm Nalts.

12 thoughts on “Product Placement in Online Videos”

  1. Sorry to hear you got passed over, Kevin. Google’s all about Long Tail advertising; hope they can help YouTube get over its paranoia and share revenue with more people.

  2. Yeah I don’t get why they wouldn’t like it. As long as it is still funny who cares if someone sponsers you?

  3. It’s sad they passed you over. I for one find some of your product placement videos to be among your best. If product placement keeps you making videos, and you keep making them funny, I’m all for it. Though it was a bit annoying to get a craving for mentos out of nowhere about nine days after watching one of those videos…

  4. I have no problem with you doing advertisements for companies (so long as its transparent). I’d rather get information about a product from someone i chose to watch than whomever chose the person appearing in a TV ad.

    Good luck & i hope it works out for you.

  5. I want to get paid for watching videos that turn out to suck just because a lot of other people watched it first.

  6. Hi Kevin

    Save a spot for me next month. (Seriously).

    Do you take $1-$5k in cold hard cash or cold turkey will do?

    I can send them alive if you want.

    I wanted to share that I was #1 Google search results for “bad shooting”. (And #1 MSN too). Yahoo #1 for “bad shooting video”

    LOL. Not that the terms mean anything but it shows great potential.

    The video was submitted to 14 sites (at the same time) and the results:

    Youtube = 38 views
    Metacafe = 30,359 views
    Others = few thousand

    So multiple sites is the way to go.

  7. Unlike InShot, Brandfame is already up and running, with hundreds of users already using the service and negociating product placement deals. Top advertising agencies are offering a nice choice of product from top brands to producers.

    It is really getting interesting lately!

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