Put a Chevy In My Video: How Mirriad and Vevo Are Retroactively Placing Products

Mirriad's new partnership with Vevo, could prove an important source of revenue for the music business.

Mirriad is from the future -- or at least you could be forgiven for thinking so. It's an advertising platform with a unique pitch: Tell them where you want your brand, anywhere in any video, even after its posted, and they can put it in there. And take it out when you've reached your allotted CPMs.

"There's certainly been episodes of 'Hannibal' where we removed one car brand for another," Ted Mico, the company's COO, told Billboard. Oh, and to be clear, he literally means a car. Now that the company has announced a partnership with Vevo, that same car could appear in a music video well after it's been shot.

Worth noting is Mico's extensive music industry experience before Mirriad, with stints at Universal and Interscope and as a marketing consultant to the Rolling Stones. Another music industry connection: The company's chairman is none other than Roger Faxon former EMI CEO who stepped down in the fall of 2012 after Universal acquired the record company.

Through its technology, which they began developing in 2008, Mirriad can scan hundreds of videos at a time, identifying brandable surfaces such as T-shirts, empty billboards, computer screens, or the mug a character is drinking from where they could slap on say a logo for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. They can then offer potential clients these surfaces to brand across a series of videos, and have the entire thing turned around in less than a week.

Digital product placement is not new and syndicated television has already begun integrating retroactive placements with companies like SeamBi and Marathon Ventures.

Vevo and Mirriad's first partnership is Aloe Blacc's video for "The Man" (above) which is closing in on 11 million views  since its release in March and now features a billboard in the video where none previously existed. "You can see the way that the ad is placed," Vevo's chief revenue officer Jonathan Carson said. "If you look closely, the reflection of the ad shows up in the reflection on a car."

The technology comes just as the digital video market is exponentially expanding. As a recent study from Nielsen on the music video market pointed out, videos were viewed 57.1 billion times last year. The report said "videos can contribute to a lift of 8 percentage points, on average, in purchase intent and improved perception. Even in the cases where the brand product placements weren’t as noticeable, overall awareness increased."  Indeeed the wider digital video market drew a reported $2.3 billion from advertisers in 2012 and is expected to grow by 17% this year, according to a study released recently from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Mirriad has already found initial success in markets like the U.K. and India, inserting its "native invideo advertisements" into syndicated programming like "CSI" and "Bones." But the company has gone with Vevo as its North American launch partner, which they announced at the recent NewFronts in New York. "What's the most scalable place to start? Digital video. And which digital video is most watched? Music videos," a person with knowledge of the deal said. 

Mirriad offers this huge market a wholly science-fictional way to raise brands' awareness, allowing advertisers to buy a set number impressions and then allowing videos to revert back to their original, ad-free state once a contract has been fulfilled. And with an enviable turnaround time, too. Placing the branding "could take a day or two instead of weeks in post-production," a source said.

And that's just the beginning. The company will soon be able to integrate its technology on the fly, Mico said, allowing companies to use web users' various demographic data -- location, cookies, etc -- to tailor the "contextual ads" within videos tailored specifically to each viewer within a set of criteria. "We're probably capable of doing it by the end of the year, nine months maybe."