Packed To The Rafters: articles

Digitally altered image

Packed to the rafters with ads

A CAN of Coca-Cola sitting on the bar at Summer Bay's surf club or Julie Rafter feeding her family Kellogg's for breakfast.

Channel Seven is set to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars through product placement in its top-rating dramas.

In an Australian TV drama first, the network has signed a multi-million dollar deal with UK company MirriAd, which specialises in "embedded advertising" to digitally place products in its much-loved shows Packed To The Rafters and Home and Away.

"We've come to an agreement to use one of our 'hubs', a bit of technology, on their premises and they can then analyse any shows they like and any shows they think are appropriate for this style of advertising," MirriAd CEO Mark Popkiewicz said.

"[Seven] have talked specifically about Packed To The Rafters and Home And Away."

Mr Popkiewicz expects the first digitally placed products to appear in coming months.

Seven's head of drama, John Holmes, denied concerns about the new technology, which could see the Rafters' dining-room table crammed with products that were not present at the time of filming.

"This won't impact on me or the drama department," he said, adding he had the right to veto any images deemed inappropriate. "This is a business; it's one of those things."

Product placement can currently net a content provider or network between $50,000 and $200,000 depending on the program in which the product is inserted, the time it airs and length of time it features.

Physical product placement, meanwhile, has become a dominant aspect of television during the past decade.

Leading Australian television producer John Edwards, from Offspring, Tangle and The Secret Life Of Us, said the advertising decisions left him uncomfortable.

"Obviously we have smaller audiences and higher costs and sooner or later people are going to try to find ways of trying to lower those costs," he said. "Whether this is the right way or not, I don't know. ."

TV commentator David Knox hoped the technology would be used sparingly.

January 02, 2011
The Sunday Telegraph

digital product placement example from episode 4.13