Product Placement Pt. II

So TV shows like “The Contender” are the product placement champs? Not if you ask the folks over at NewsUSA. NewsUSA, a “feature placement” service, offers editors “copyright free” material for newspapers, radio stations, and the Web. Media outlets are free to use the material and edit it however they wish — with one small caveat: the sponsor’s name should be retained.

Now, these are not those faux-article ads that run with a small “Advertisement” label. These are articles intended to be run as regular features, including stories such as “7 Tips on Preventing Identity Theft.” That’s a NewsUSA sample article, also available in bottom-tier papers as news.

The problem is, it’s not all papers like the Moneysaver Lewis-Clark Edition. If NewsUSA’s FAQ is to be believed, they’ve placed stories in major outlets such as the San Francisco Chronicle, and the company’s client list certainly has some major organizations.

Now NewsUSA is looking to take things to the next level with an “editor rewards program“: in addition to saving the time of actually assigning a writer to a story, those editors who use NewsUSA will now earns points for portable DVD players, gas grills and even major kitchen appliances.

If this sort of thing catches on, we can all look forward to news stories such as “Movies Delivered to Your Door” (pdf), a piece examining movies-by-mail which manages to omit any mention of Netflix, by far the largest company in the business. I suppose if Netflix (or Green Cine) don’t like it, they’ll just have to buy their own articles.

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