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Friday, July 22, 2011

Appropriate Product Placement In Your Story

Do you read PvP? I do. I have for years. I'm a huge fan. I own a few books, a few single issues. I listen to the Webcomics Weekly podcast Scott Kurtz puts on with Dave Kellet, Kris Straub and Brad Guigar. I have the book, "How to Make Webcomics". So full disclosure up front. I'm a fan of the work, and a fan of the creators themselves.

If you follow PvP, then you know what is currently going on in the story. If you don't, then here's a link to Kurtz's post, though I will summarize it myself. He's incorporated appropriate product placement into the strip's next story arc.

There will be naysayers who use this as an opportunity to throw out the phrase "sell out" and make themselves feel slightly artistically superior while they wallow in obscurity. I am not one of them. I applaud the decision, and the care that went into it.

You're used to product placement already, in all mediums of story telling. Film, television, radio, novels, comics and videogames. Its just a part of the existence of modern entertainment, you have to pay those bills to keep creating the stories.

So what is wrong with placing products in your story? Nothing. The characters in PvP already play games like Magic. Kurtz is making money off of this story, but the implicit belief that there is something wrong with that is, from my view, childish. There is something wrong with compromising characters or vision for product placement and/or advertising, but when it fits into those aforementioned elements we should all embrace any creators who find legitimate ways to fund their work with no compromise.

Have you given any thought to placing products or driving ad revenue to fund your projects?

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