It was about a month ago that I did a short interview with Todd Wasserman at Brandweek to discuss the concept of "Reverse Product Placement".
The idea behind reverse product placement is that brands should explore first developing and launching new innovative products inside "fictional" environments and virtual worlds such as Second Life, and then as the buzz builds, launch these same products in the real world leveraging the cult following that the brand has developed.
The product that I mentioned to Todd that would be amazing to see emerge from the virtual world into the real world was "Duff Beer", Homer Simpson's favorite beer that, when you get "passed" a can in Second Life, makes you loose your inhibitions and do crazy dances.
As a marketer, I thought the idea would make for a great promotion for the show. Todd's article ended by quoting a "representative from 20th Century Fox" who didn't agree with me at all. He (or she) said that (a) there were no plans to release any real world products from the fictional products highlighted in the show and (b) "It doesn't sound like something the Simpson's would do."
Well the good news is that it seems that others at 20th Century Fox are more creative and forward thinking than the rep quoted in Todd's article.
Yesterday, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported that 20th Century Fox is developing a promotion with 7-11 in which - to promote the upcoming Simpson's Movie - eleven 7-11 convenience stores around the country will be re-branded (complete with new facades and signage), as fictional Kwik-E-Marts from the show. Each store will stock items such as " KrustyO's cereal", "Buzz Cola" and "iced Squishees"
If there ever was a great example of "reverse product placement" this would be it. Really smart, smart idea. I hope they do it.
(tip via Boing Boing)