Product placement has been used as marketing and revenue streams for TV and film production for years. But with the latest technological advances the use of digital placement is now so advanced that it is possible to add digital elements that are so uniquely blended into the scene with matched lighting, design, film stock and texture that they are seamless to the original footage becoming as organic to the film as the original set design.
But the latest uses for this are to digitally add product placement to older films, even music videos. Basically any and all forms of visual media are fair game. This could be great in many ways.
Imagine a scenario where an entirely new, younger audience is being introduced to the back catalogue of cinemas finest archives. Archives that were previously saved for Talking Pictures TV or Sony Movies Classic. These old classic films being given a serious shot in the arm via a large marketing budget to help push subtly placed product to a digital savvy audience.
Films being able to be finished thanks to a deal with a digital product placement, or a band getting pushed back into the spot light thanks to a lucrative digital product placement deal years after the song was a hit.
The possibilities for digital product placement in pre-existing film is huge, as is the scope for marketers to define what product, audience and film is exploited. And where does it stop? Directors cuts are no new thing; taking an existing product and re-editing and manipulating it to the original auteurs vision. The Snyder Cut of Justice League being the most recent example. These new edits of existing films often split audiences with die hard fans applauding in the case of the Snyder cut, or in the case of George Lucas' re-release of A new Hope with Han shooting after Greedo, fans were pretty upset. So what happens when these re-releases are at the hands of marketers? With deepfake technology will we start seeing long forgotten characters with new products being added to old cinema? Will we see a water proof iPhone popping up in Jaws or Arnie donning a new pair of kicks in The Running Man?
It's not like it's not happening already to some degree, we've had a sequence from Bullitt with Steve McQueen selling Ford Pumas back in 1997: https://youtu.be/6C9XRT-AFxc and Audrey Hepburns CGI likeness to sell Galaxy chocolate: https://youtu.be/fYWv1oD3dv8.
For more information on product placement being used in classic films see: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56758376