Intel and Toshiba Peddle Product Placement in Branded Film The Power Inside

Ad inside an ad

Brands have another incentive for crafting compelling content marketing beyond engaging consumers—it might prompt other advertisers to pay to be included. Such was the case with Pereira & O'Dell's latest online Web series for Intel and Toshiba, The Power Inside, which drove a handful of marketers to sign deals for product placement within the branded storyline.

Spotify, Skype, Fossil watches and Skullcandy headphones are all paying for placements with merchandise rather than cash. The merchandise will be given to winners in weekly contests tied to the series and as giveaways when U.S. consumers buy a Toshiba laptop computer promoted by the series.

While companies with branded publications, such as Red Bull, sometimes sell ads to outside advertisers, rarely do branded online videos offer product placements to third-party marketers. The Power Inside is the third in Intel/Toshiba’s lineup of online social films, which combine Hollywood talent and production values with input and appearances by everyday viewers. Launching Aug. 15, it’s a six-part comedy featuring Harvey Keitel about aliens who disguise themselves as mustaches. The previous film, a romance called The Beauty Inside, snagged 70 million views and won a Daytime Emmy and three Grand Prix at Cannes last month.

The upcoming film was opened up to other marketers—essentially offering them an ad inside an ad—as a way to save money for Intel. “Our budget is limited for promoting the film and for giveaways,” said Billie Goldman, manager of partner marketing at Intel. Third-party advertisers will help spread the word about the series via social, PR and paid media "beyond what we can do ourselves," she said. For outside brands, the draw is the quality of the work and the volume of the audience, according to P.J. Pereira, agency chief creative officer. “Having two previous films to show advertisers made a huge difference. They loved the earlier work [and social interaction]. It was a like party that they wanted to be part of.”