In-Show Ad Networks

By Deane Barker on October 16, 2012

I stumbled on this in an interesting article about TV shows (scroll to #14):

In July 2011, something strange happened on a rerun of How I Met Your Mother. Although the episode airing in syndication had been shot in 2006, a poster in one of the scenes was eerily modern: It was pushing Bad Teacher, a movie that had been in theaters only a few weeks. Did Neil Patrick Harris have a time machine?

The bizarrely prescient ad was the work of SeamBI, a company that has craftily elevated the practice of product placement by digitally inserting new ads into old scenes of syndicated shows

It gets better (worse?) – they’re not just swapping media, but inserting entirely new “physical” objects in scenes.  From an EW article:

In the two examples pictured here, not only the advertisements for Bad Teacher were added, but the devices on which they are displayed were also inserted into the episode. In the coffee shop scene with Marshall (Jason Segel) above, the plasma TV screen was inserted

SeamBI, it turns out, is short for “seamless brand integration.”  From their website

Add your content to our in-show ad network.

Whoa.  An “ad network”…inside existing TV shows?  You mean there are ad placement spots, inside reruns, that can rotate?  So, the ad on there this week might be different than next week, for the same episode?

This is either genius or diabolical. Probably both.

Check out their gallery.  This gist I’m getting is that you can shoot general video, and work out the particulars later.  So, you could make a nice, general video shoot that highlighted some vehicle, then shop it around and insert the specific vehicle later, depending on who paid you for it.



  1. Given the advancements in computer graphics I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by this. That combined with pressure on traditional TV ads (being skipped via DVRs), we’ll probably being seeing more of this.

    And why stop at TV shows? Why not do DVD/Blu-ray runs with different in show ad placements? Perhaps even target them by region, so a DVD shipped for sale in a California store might have different in show ad placements vs. one shipped to a store in Texas.

    This is either genius or diabolical. Probably both.

    Both, without a doubt.

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