"A New York marketing entrepreneur named Frank Zazza claims to have the answer. Zazza has come up with a scheme that grades placements by 10 levels of impact, from having the product in the background to naming an entire episode after it. Mix this in with his carefully calibrated "awareness scale" plus a couple of other factors, and you get the dollar value of a placement. For $300,000 you could buy, say, 3 seconds of "verbal" (talk about the product) or 90 seconds of background. "This has the ability to completely change the dynamic of television and the way it's bought," says Peter Gardiner, chief media officer of Deutsch, one of New York's hottest ad agencies.
Zazza has his eye on an even bigger prize. He's working with a company that inserts virtual billboards into sports broadcasts to apply the same technology to product integration. Instead of having an actual Coke can on the set of Friends, the producers could digitally insert it before the show airs. If Pepsi offered more for the DVD version of the series, they could replace the Coke with a Pepsi. It's product integration without the product. What this means for the networks is unclear; the important thing, Zazza says, is to keep the advertisers happy: "Unilever, Procter & Gamble - they're going to be around a long time after CSI is kicking up daisies."