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Orange Film Funding Board gets a step closer, while Nokia employs Spike Lee

orange-ad.jpgAdvertisers to start funding film and TV as WPP moves to production 

In a long-feared response to the rise of free video, Martin Sorrell's advertising giant WPP has announced plans to join forces with Hollywood stars and media companies to help finance films and TV series in which it can promote it's clients products. As both OFCOM and the European Union consider relaxing the rules preventing excessive product placement, WPP confirms that a number of trials have been successful

WPP co-produced October Road with Touchstone Television,  co-investing in production, in return for offering 'opportunities within the show' to advertisers. The series, ironically about a return to small-town American routes, got decent ratings and has been recommissioned for a second series. According to Sorrell 'significant amounts of cash' have already been invested in trial projects.

A future where the main revenue model for films is advertising has long been discussed and feared in the industry, particularly with the rise of free content and piracy. The fictional Orange Film Funding Board, behind such hits as Killer in a Phone Box and Lord of the Ringtones, has shown cinema-goers since 2000 quite what this could mean, showing remarkable prescience for ad agency Mother, behind the spots. A recent clip on the Onion News Network (America's Greatest News Source) illustrates what such content could mean for TV, in this Home Depot sponsored spot (which is also the first time we've featured video on netribution with advertising pre-roll):

{htmlfix}<p align="center"><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowScriptAccess="always" wmode="transparent" width="500" height="444" flashvars="file="></embed><br/><a href="">Home Depot Honors Fallen Soldier By Giving His Mom Free Power Drill</a></p>{/htmlfix}  

Meanwhile Nokia, has launched a competition with Spike Lee in a more imaginative (and honest) use of their cash - getting users to shoot and upload footage which Lee will cut into a short film. What's most interesting about the contest is that it was created in response to in-house research by the Finish company that by 2012 one quarter of all their users will be wanting to shoot and edit fiilms, on some level. 

Hopefully this vast new generation of filmmakers will be media-literate enough to spot  the suspect influence of brands on culture. Just picture it, 2001 A Space Odyssey sponsored by Norton AntiVirus, IronBruMan and Eternal SunnyDelight of the Spotless Mind? Post your 'if-brands-funded-movies' suggestions in the comments...


BuynLarge - hilarious web attack on excesses of capitalism by.. Disney?

Annual Report the musicalIn an upcoming Olympic games, athletes will be assessed on both their ability, but also their financial fitness. A new breed of corporate punk musicians, who previously sang about stable interest rates plan a one hour show based entirely on sponsored music. The Xanadu shopping pill, meanwhile, 'stimulates the euphoric buying experience' for consumers (although adverse side effects such as nausea and headaches may emerge if not taken while shopping).

The BuynLarge Corporation's website illustrates a future where one company effectively controls everything on the planet - from industry and media to the world clock, government, and, even North on the compass. If it want's to stop paying tax, it can. It's opponants such as anarchists and anti-consumer groups, are in fact 'customers we haven't reached yet'. To top it all the site is littered with cringable stock photography and a web-standards unfriendly Flash interface.

And the source of this smart (and wet myself funny) illustration of the nightmare Stalinist totalitarian future for unchecked global capitalism? Adbusters, perhaps? Greenpeace or Armando Iannucci or Chris Morris?