David Guetta has already played matchmaker for a long list of hip-hop and indie artists looking to transition into dance and electro (Nicki Minaj, Sia and Lil Wayne among them). Now he's looking to put the same matchmaking skills to the test for advertisers via a new venture called My Product Placement, designed to help record labels secure timely opportunities to place brands in music videos.
My Product Placement is an offshoot of My Love Affair, a European branding agency co-founded in April 2011 by Guetta, his wife Cathy Guetta and former ad executive Raphael Aflalo. EMI recently signed on as its first label partner, using the online platform to source sponsorship opportunities for an artist roster that includes Katy Perry, Coldplay and Lady Antebellum.
"This is the first time that some people have taken the time to create some structure around something that's quite fraught," Bob Workman, EMI UK's VP of brand partnership, tells Billboard.biz. "The timing is often quite tight from the moment the creative is approved by the artist to the shoot date, so [pitching brands] can be in many cases a matter of a week or two weeks. We'll be using My Product Placement mechanics to think in a more timely fashion to share creativity, music, lyrics and information about artists with whom we're working in a more upfront way."
Photos: Katy Perry, David Guetta, Robyn, Roger Faxon Rock EMI's Carnival-Themed Grammy After Party
The music-video marketplace has heated up in recent years with artists like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Rihanna re-embracing the medium as an art form and Vevo emerging as the most-viewed channel on YouTube (and No. 3 video property on the web, according to ComScore). As budgets for individual clips shrink, there is a growing need for brands to offset some if not all of a clip's cost. Brands paid an estimated $20 million on music videos in 2010, up 7% from 2009, according to marketing analytics firm PQ Media.
"With the social-media revolution, we saw artists like David [Guetta] become like media," My Love Affair co-founder Aflalo says. "They have a lot of fans on YouTube and a lot of followers on Twitter. So we thought maybe brands could help artists promote their paid music, and use their image and brand of artist to be more effective in their own marketing."
But too many brands in one video can lead to backlash, as recent clips from Britney Spears ("Hold It Against Me") and Pitbull ("Give Me Everything") have proven in recent months. In an effort to reduce some of that clutter, My Product Placement platform is invite-only, enabling labels to source opportunities only to brand and ad agencies they feel comfortable working with. Aflalo said over 150 brands have already registered for the My Product Placement platform.
Cathy Guetta, who also advises her husband on brand deals, said My Love Affair emphasizes the importance of a connection between brand and artist. She described a recent partnership between Guetta and Renault's Twizy electric car as a true "wedding," tapping the vehicle for a music video backing his instrumental track "Alphabeat" (that launches March 27 in Paris) and a 3D microsite. My Love Affair has also teamed Guetta with the HP Touchpad and with Coca-Cola's Burn energy drink for a documentary that accompanied the release of his 2011 album Nothing But the Beat.
EMI's Workman said the label has yet to cut a deal through My Product Placement, but is hopeful that the platform will soon have an impact on the music video economy. "Right or wrong, it can be a very reactive industry," he said. "This does potentially buy us a little more time to have grown-up conversations about placement."