I2m_joshspear_1Anyone in the marketing and advertising industry has probably followed the evolution of product placement on TV and in films with interest.  With the Tivo phenomenon changing how consumers view (or skip) the 30 second spot, some say the future of television is in product placements.  But what about product placement and sponsorship on blogs?  Many sites run banner ads, or more commonly Google Adwords.  But product placement on blogs is not such a stretch.  PSFK, one of my favourite sources on trends in the industry recently highlighted the smart redesign of Josh Spear’s site to include several sponsored content areas.  Josh is a former contributor to the popular Cool Hunting blog and now has launched the Spear Creative Group and positions himself as "regularly sought out for his fresh perspective and no-holds-barred style of consulting on everything from design and gadgets to authenticity and word-of-mouth."  The redesigned site has a number of interesting content features, including a virtual map locator showing Josh’s location at any time (sponsored by Malaysia Airlines) and a sponsored ad unit from Tumi luggage.  He also travels with Malaysia (he’s in flight now) and uses the Tumi luggage, not to mention Pentax photo equipment.  What is different about his site is just how integrated the sponsored products and brands are into the fabric of the site.  This is integration, not advertising.  And it is probably the first full fledged example of product integration and sponsorship from large brands on a blog.  This will be an interesting trend to watch.