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 (www.gpsmaniac.com), 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.