Although “virtual advertising” — the process of digitally superimposing ads and inserting products into television shows — has been used since 2002, I hadn’t realized how widespread it was. The Consumerist has a recent example from reruns of How I Met Your Mother. On the left, a piece of the scene as it appears on the DVD set. On the right, with a digitally added “magazine ad” for an upcoming movie.
As more consumers control their viewing experience, including using DVRs to skip ads, I fear more of this “you can’t escape it, we’ll edit whatever we want” attitude will attempt to force us to pay attention to marketing messages.