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Motorola to Sponsor Web Video Series

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SEATTLE Following in the steps of Lonelygirl15, another Web video serial is turning to product placement as an ad model.

Motorola has signed to sponsor "The Burg," a Web comedy series of nine four-minute episodes that explore the hipster haven of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Motorola products will be featured in the programming, which will not include pre-roll spots.

DraftFCB and Motorola brokered the product placement deal with VideoEgg, which will syndicate "The Burg" through its network of social-networking sites that include Bebo, Hi5 and Tagged. It will also drive viewers to the show using its "ad ticker" placements on user-generated video. In all, Troy Young, VideoEgg's chief marketing officer, said the show would reach more than 5 million viewers after it launches next month.

"It's written into the plot in a tactful way," Young said. "It's a visible part of the programming without getting in the way of the story line."

Whenever "The Burg" characters use a Motorola product, VideoEgg's technology will show a small ad window on the bottom of the video player that users can click to find out product information. VideoEgg will also show links to Motorola ad content after the episode plays.

VideoEgg and other online video platforms like Blip.tv are brokering deals between advertisers and short-form video series. Blip.tv has linked brands like Dove with popular video blogger Amanda Congdon. Both companies are trying alternatives to the standard online video placement, a repurposed 15- or 30-second TV commercial shown prior to the clip. The creators of Lonelygirl15 inked their own product placement deal with Hershey's.

Young said "The Burg" is the first of a handful of brand integration deals VideoEgg has struck. It is also in negotiations with big media companies to use VideoEgg's network to push programming to social-networking sites, just as NBC Universal and News Corp. plan to use their yet-to-be-introduced syndication service to distribute content.

"There's a trend to media consumption in social networks," Young said. "They haven't had as much success building destinations, so they're looking at hitting users wherever they're spending their time."