Brand integration, or rather product placement, has been with us since television began back in the 1950s as part of branded entertainment.
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Brand Integration - product placement video example

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Branded entertainment has been with us since television began back in the 1950s. Usually shows were linked with one specific brand as the show's sponsor, so brand integration was a lot more obvious than it is today.

However, as television grew more commercial, branded shows rapidly disappeared and were replaced with what we see today - 30 second (or so) commercial spots appearing in regular breaks in the programs .

Back in the late 1990s, branded entertainment made a return so advertisers could get their message across in a not so blatantly commercial way.

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Brand Integration
Advertising companies have had to adopt to new media delivery methods, including the rapidly increasing use of Internet technology.

However, this article is more about brand integration, which is only part of branded entertainment.

Don't be fooled though - brand integration is not simply "product placement".

Product placement is merely the placing of a particular brand in a scene or segment. It could be as basic as a character opening a can of Pepsi (as opposed to Coke), or driving a Mercedes-Benz, as opposed to another brand of car.

Brand integration is where the writers actually make the product an integral part of a scene.

Sony Vaio - brand integration So, rather than a character simply arriving home and grabbing a Pepsi from the refrigerator, they may ask for a Pepsi, and say something like "Ahhhhhh - I needed that Pepsi", or perhaps in a crash scene someone may make a statement like "Lucky he was driving a Mercedes-Benz, otherwise he may not have survived."

An excellent, and if I may say very blatant, example of brand integration can be seen in an episode of "Nightmares and Dreamscapes".

If you play the excerpt to the right, you will see constant focus on a Sony Vaio notebook, which is referred to all throughout the episode - or at least after the character Landry appears. Also written into the script is a pair of Reebok shoes and Aramis cologne - all in the space of around a minute.

About Nightmares and Dreamscapes

This was an eight episode adaptation of Stephen King's short stories, primarily from the Nightmares and Dreamscapes series. It was produced in Australia in 2006, and featured many Australian and international guest stars.

Originally aired in July of 2006, "Umney's Last Case" was set in 1938 in Los Angeles. Clyde Umney was a divorce private eye who was successful with women. On the weirdest day of his life, he sees his world turning upside-down when he discovers that he is a character featured in a series of novels created by author Sam Landry. Sam is grieving the loss of his son and wants to swap position with Clyde.

William H. Macy plays both the role of Umney as well as Landry.

William H. Macy Clyde: Umney/Sam Landry/George Demmick
Jacqueline McKenzie: Linda Landry/Gloria Demmick
Tory Mussett: Arlene "Candy" Cain/Pool Girl
Sigrid Thornton: Mrs. Sternwood
Mark Mitchell: Blondie
John Orcsik: Stan the Cop

"Nightmares and Dreamscapes" is currently being screened on the Go channel (the Nine Network's alternative digital channel).

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