How new ads are sneaking their way into old episodes

By Tanner Stransky
July 15, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

No, you’re not crazy. That was an ad for the 2011 movie Bad Teacher running on a plasma screen in a recent rerun of a 2006 episode of How I Met Your Mother. Turns out that 20th Television, the studio distributor of HIMYM, has teamed with SeamBI, a company that inserts new product placement into old TV episodes (including 20th TV’s My Name Is Earl). ”We wanted to offer our advertiser and station clients a unique opportunity in syndication,” says 20th’s Paul Franklin, who adds that ”viewer feedback has been minimal…indicating to us that in-show advertisements are appearing unobtrusively.” True, because there’s nothing subtler than time travel.