‘Tis the season to transform your advertising strategy! As consumer attention turns to festive movies and TV shows, the opportunities created by virtual product placement (VPP) have savvy marketers abuzz with holiday cheer.
Did you know, during Hallmark Channel’s recent Countdown to Christmas event, the kickoff weekend featured the top three most-watched entertainment cable programs among key demographics? Now is the time to explore how you can take full advantage of VPP — not just during the holiday season, but as part of your broader in-content marketing strategy.
Let’s unwrap how you can effectively integrate VPP into your holiday strategy to provide visibility and credibility for brands, as well as authentic, immersive experiences for viewers.
Using Virtual Product Placement in Your Media Mix
One of VPP’s inherent strengths lies in its versatility across diverse media touchpoints. It transcends the boundaries of traditional linear TV, finding a natural home in the expanding landscape of streaming platforms, influencer content, theatrical releases, and even holiday music. The holiday season sees a surge in content consumption across these channels, making it the perfect time to leverage the power of virtual product placements.
Envision a heartwarming family drama, or maybe a sidesplitting romantic comedy, where the main characters exchange gifts, with your branded box sitting amongst the wrappings. This is more than product placement; it’s a moment of genuine connection with viewers that directly unites your brand with the magic of the holidays.
Successful brands understand the art of subtle integration, where the holiday theme becomes a seamless backdrop for their products during a busy shopping season. VPP unlocks a myriad of possibilities for advertisers to turn new integration opportunities into valuable brand touchpoints during the holiday season.
Measuring the Top-to-Bottom Impact of VPP
The potential of VPP is backed by compelling research, as we witness its transformative impact across each stage of the marketing funnel:
Particularly during the holidays, viewers actively seek out content that resonates with the season’s festivities, providing the spotlight for brands to be seen and heard within a memorable, emotionally charged context. According to Kantar, virtual product placement and in-content advertising are proven to add a +25ppt increase in Ad Awareness on average.
As consumers immerse themselves in all things holiday, VPP goes beyond brand visibility. Seamlessly blending a brand’s seasonal offers or specials into a cheerful holiday narrative creates a positive association for viewers, making them more likely to be receptive to the brand. According to Kantar research, VPP increases Consideration by +9ppt on average.
The holiday season is synonymous with decision-making moments — where to go, what gifts to purchase, which decorations to use...the list goes on. VPP unlocks a trove of integration opportunities — strategically placing brands in these decision-centric scenarios — and the results speak for themselves. In recent research in partnership with Kantar, Mirriad uncovered that virtual product placement drives up to a 35% increase in sales following exposure of a featured product. This is a direct result of a slate of positive perceptions (85% of viewers like it and 83% of viewers say it feels natural) fostered through its contextual and non-intrusive nature.
VPP not only guides consumers through the marketing funnel, but also prompts them to take action. It's a strategic tool that helps consumers navigate their buyer journey, creating meaningful touchpoints at every stage of the decision-making process.
Creating an Immersive Holiday Viewing Experience
The holidays bring a shift in viewer preferences, with audiences actively seeking out festive content across a wide range of platforms. It’s a time of year when virtual product placements and virtual signage play a pivotal role in aligning with the natural inclinations of viewers, integrating brands seamlessly into holiday content to make them an indelible part of the viewer experience.
While commercial breaks remain a fundamental tool, their shrinking popularity among viewers has frostbitten advertisers who rely on traditional engagements. In a season when viewers intentionally seek out holiday-themed content, the last thing they want is disruptive ads. Virtual product placement provides a solution by offering non-disruptive ad engagement. Brands become part of the story, and enhance the narrative without interrupting it.
Uniquely Powerful Context
The allure of the holiday season lies in the traditions, celebrations, and the joy shared among us. For brands, this presents a unique opportunity to be woven into the fabric of contextually powerful content. Whether it's a family decorating a Christmas tree, friends exchanging gifts, or a festive dinner gathering, VPP ensures not just brand visibility, but a genuine connection with viewers amidst the magic of the holiday spirit.
Mirriad’s VPP Marketplace
Mirriad stands at the forefront of virtual product placements in holiday content through its expansive VPP Marketplace. During the highly anticipated Countdown to Christmas event, Mirriad’s VPP technology proved invaluable to multiple brands in breaking new ground in viewer engagement. Audiences were treated to an immersive experience in which brands became inseparable from the content.
Planning Beyond the Holiday Season
The momentum gained during the holiday season can seamlessly transition into continuous audience engagement throughout the year. Beyond the holidays, VPP enables a continuous alignment for brands with content that corresponds to peak viewership periods. Whether it’s the excitement of the Super Bowl or the romance of Valentine’s Day, our AI-driven platform unlocks a vast marketplace of media for strategic integrations.
By strategically placing products in content relevant to specific events, advertisers can ensure brands stay on consumers’ minds. As VPP continues to offer innovative solutions for seamless integration into content, brands can ensure their products become an essential part of the stories audiences love — during the holidays and beyond.
Reaching New Levels of Brand Engagement
As you finalize your holiday marketing strategy, explore new possibilities with virtual product placement. Beyond the holidays, the key to continuous brand visibility lies in strategic thinking, aligning with seasonal viewership trends, and ensuring seamless integration that resonates year-round. With Mirriad, the journey of impactful virtual product placements extends well into the future, where advertisers unlock a realm of possibilities for brands ready to embrace the next wave of content innovation.
Discover how Mirriad can help you integrate virtual product placement into your marketing strategy during the holidays and throughout the year by contacting us on our Advertiser Page or Content Partner Page.
This article was written by Mirriad's Director of Integrated Marketing, Emily Oberkrieser. Follow her on LinkedIn here.