First Word--March 2005

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Have you been approached by a brand pusher? Would you have even known that he/she was a brand pusher? Thanks (or no thanks, depending on the opinion) to the advent of digital video recorders (DVR), which includes TiVo and video on demand (VOD), marketing professionals once again are being challenged: How to market their company's products and services as traditional advertising mediums become less effective? Brand pushers are one such tactic, according to UCC Capital Corporation's quarterly IP Innovator newsletter. Brand pushers are either hired or volunteer to generate buzz for a particular company's product. For example, brand pushers may promote a certain alcoholic beverage at a bar by recommending it to friends and new acquaintances without appearing to be affiliated with the company (and you thought the attention was all about you).

Brand pushers are among the techniques of stealth marketing, which was ranked No. 2 among IP Innovator's Top 10 Trends for 2005. Stealth marketing is a means to reach a target audience without the advertisement being perceived as an advertisement. Somewhat more in your face, the No. 1 trend is product placement in TV and film. Says IP Innovator, "DVRs and VODs are expected to be used in more than 30 million households in the U.S. within three years. Similar to DVRs and VODs in that it is commercial free, satellite radio is drawing an increasing number of listeners away from traditional terrestrial radio programming." The newsletter suggests "the new technology may even make advertisers' job easier. TiVo and DVRs are capable of tracking viewer profiles and preferences, which companies can and will take advantage of in order to better target their customer demographic."

Last March in our brand-centric issue, we touched upon the "mixing of brand equities" in TV spot advertising that paired the Sprint guy with the Pillsbury Doughboy and The Muppets with Pizza Hut, among others. This year, product placement in TV and films was top of mind. The product placement trend is vital as the amount of exposure to the consumer public is immeasurable. Learn more about this trend that shows no signs of abating, as well as some of the leading product placement agents by turning.

Also among IP Innovator's Top 10 Trends for 2005 was licensing. But we knew that...

Besides the Youth Marketing Mega-Event's Licensing Day, April 11, in Huntington Beach, CA, License! is the proud sponsor of a "Learning About Licensing" day in Bologna, Italy, April 14, at the Bologna Children's Book Fair. There, we'll discuss how publishing and entertainment work hand-in-hand and how authors and publishers can utilize licensing to their advantage. In addition, I've been asked to travel 21 hours to Melbourne, Australia, May 4, for BRANDChild, where I'll detail licensing trends worldwide to a varied marketing community. I guess technically I'm a brand pusher.

Correction: In “Tot Spots,” February 2005, we incorrectly identified the licensing agency for Snapple. Snapple is represented by New York-based Brandgenuity LLC. License! regrets the error.

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