Inserted ads in streaming vides are nothing new. Even Youtube and Facebook have them. To me, they’re basically TV commercials for the internet age. It’s certainly common to see Chinese dramas series with ad inserts but when is it going too far?
In recent years, quite a few dramas have ads that feature actors who look and dress like their characters. These ads are often inserted while watching the show itself. Such is the case for Mystery Of Antiques, a drama series based on a novel by Ma Boyong. Ma Boyong criticized the ads, saying that it is detrimental to the series and makes the characters seem less credible, more comical.
Ma Boyong cited an example of this in the first episode of Mystery Of Antiques. In it, Qiao Zhenyu, who plays one of the leads is seen endorsing a mobile phone app and selling it as a treasure. This isn’t an isolated case as there were similar ad placements for period dramas like Legend of Fuyao and The Mystic Nine.
Ma Boyong says that he isn’t against advertising as he understands that the purpose is to generate income. His main gripe comes from the marketing style of these ads, which is more than just product placements. They place ads in the middle of the show with actors who dress and look like the characters from the video you were just watching and most users don’t have the option to skip these ads.
According to Beijing News, industry insiders believe that although the cost of inserting ads isn’t cheap, it is more profitable in the long run.
Truth be told, I find humorous advertisements memorable and therefore, more effective. But a line must be drawn somewhere. How much is too much? Making the people in the ad look and sound like the characters in the said show kinda ruins the experience, especially if the said show is a serious drama.
I remember my first time seeing such an ad where a character from the series did advertising–for Candle in the Tomb. Can relate to author Ma Bo Yong…first couple of episodes of Mystery of Antiques and I was asking myself whether Qiao Zhenyu was there for comic relief. After the first 1-3 ads w/ Qiao Zhenyu, I just fast-forwarded/skipped them altogether. There was at least 1 other ad w/ another character from Mystery of Antiques, but at least this character isn't one of the main leads.
Pleasantly surprised to see Huang Hai Bing take on a role in the drama, takes me back to 2001 when he was King of Kings (another drama dealing mystery/antiques/grave robbing).
It is advertising. In U.S. there are always advertisement tie ins with blockbuster movies. We have Transformers, Superman, Batman all selling Coke, Pepsi, McDonalds etc. The movie needs to generate money so I don't see it as a problem. I would rather watch the characters in the advertisement than to get an unknown advertisement. I think it is memorable. Pretty sure people can tell that the drama is not real and can differentiate, unlike product placement sometimes.