Apparently, a company named "Sumpto" has adopted a business model right out of my novel BMOC (written about 7 years ago). This is a scene where entrepreneur Preston Marsh is interviewing and trying to recruit the protagonist Susan out of business school. They are discussing the business model of his company called BMOC. Half of its business model was that companies paid BMOC to place their products in the hands of influential high school students.
[Marsh:] The real innovation, though is… do you know what a product placement is?”
[Susan:] “Sure. It’s when a company pays to get their product into a TV show or movie – like when Reese’s pieces were used in the movie ET or I guess if you showed Seabiscuit eating Purina Horse Chow.”
“Exactly! And product placements are particularly effective. They act like an ad but they can’t be ignored like an ad. Anyway, we have taken product placements one step further: We get paid by major manufacturers to place their products not in movies but in the hands of the most popular kids in high school, the ones who really lead opinion as to what’s cool and not cool who we…”
“Who you happen to have on retainer anyway.”
“Exactly. But be careful how you think about ‘on retainer.’ The natural reaction is to assume this means money, but in our case it’s not. We keep the most popular people on retainer merely by …”
“Giving them free products,” Susan interrupted again, with growing excitement, “that manufacturers are already paying you to put in their hands.”
This is from Sumpto's web site. (You will have to click through, for some reason even copying it as text is crashing my site, not sure why).
A big hat tip to reader Don, who not only found the site but paid me the indirect complement of having remembered my book. Thanks!
Yet another case when I was 7-10 years too early (at Mercata were were about 10 years too early to cash in on social media as Groupon did with a similar model to ours). But honestly, I was trying to make up quasi-outrageous business models. For god sakes the other two major business ventures in the book were building fountains to harvest the coins thrown in them and selling musical tones for elevators. I had no idea I should have been getting venture funding.
By the way, for the dozens of my literary fans, I am almost done with my next book, which is really going to be good. This novel writing thing really is about practice. Teasers to follow...