The Blurring of Advertising and Entertainment Continues With #GiftOfRevenge

In my post about the parody video about MTV and music videos, there was actually a fair amount of factual stuff in that video – including that the product shots of smartphones from Apple/Samsung/Nokia are about the only reasons those videos get funding. Product placement is nothing new, and we expect to see things like all-things-Apple on Grimm, hear our radio hosts talk up AT&T 4G service, see randomly placed Pepsi and Dunkin’ Donuts on pretty much every show and movie and so on.

But this week on the show Revenge, Target and Neiman Marcus teamed up with the shows producers to integrate a series of commercial teasers using characters and themes from the show. Here is the description:

The Gift of Revenge is scheduled in light of Target and Neiman Marcus’s recent partnership with ABC. So during the commercial breaks for Sunday night’s episode Exposure , airing from 9 to 10 p.m. ET on ABC, we’ll receive some holiday gifts early! “The Gift of Revenge” is five videos featuring Revenge characters Nolan Ross, Jack Porter, Charlotte Grayson, Declan Porter, and Amanda Clarke. All will be decked out in the retailers’ fashions and playing out what ABC calls “a plot full of twists and turns.”

I had heard about this at the end of last week, but since we watch on Hulu I wasn’t sure if we would see these spots … but it turns out that is ALL we saw. Hulu normally shows quick ad spots throughout the show, but in this case the entire experience was revenge themed.

The campaign was rather obvious – the actors were not saying or doing much (even compared to their normal roles which are often ‘fluffy’ enough), and everything centered around a mystery person delivering white boxes with black ribbons containing clothing and an invitation. When everyone arrives, they open the doors are in a large party setting, with the surprise ending having Nolan Ross welcome them to ‘the future’.

For me this hearkened back to other episodic commercials from years past, but with a definite upgrade. In fact, since it wasn’t sharing mindspace with any other commercials, and we watched the whole hour straight through without interruption I came to two conclusions: the commercials were better produced than the show, and the actors were dialing it in.

In terms of production, the way the commercials convey intimacy, intrigue and tension are all very effective, as are the camera angles used – particularly with Charlotte (though her open robe was very out of character). As for the actors … well, as noted they were all just going through the motions in almost a characiture manner – which was made even more obvious since we were lacking the best characters from the show. Oh, except Gabriel Mann, who was delicious in the commercial but has been severely underutilized on the show this season.

Here is the ‘behind the scenes’ video for the ‘Gift of Revenge’:

Head to ABC to watch all of the videos.

A couple of other notes: there was a ‘gift box’ theme pushed in the episode a bit out of context (the wedding was last week), and people are reporting several examples of characters wearing or carrying items from the commercials. Also, the normal #Revenge corner image was replaced by #GiftOfRevenge for this week, and the font seemed larger and more obtrusive.

Check out the ‘behind the scenes’ and tell us what you think about these new ‘DVR-proof’ commercial spots!

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1 reply

  1. I’ve been watching Warehouse 13 for a while and they have recently picked up Toyota as a sponsor and they have these integrated commercials as well. They go beyond just product placement. All of a sudden the character extols the virtue of Toyotas entune in car system. It’s so blatantly obvious it’s a commercial. I wonder what the DVD/BluRay for these shows are going to look like? SO do not like these….