People are all too wary of product placement now. Audiences will knowingly roll their eyes at Bond knocking back a neither-shaken-nor-stirred Heineken because they’ve seen it all before. So are there any ways to do it that aren’t offensive? The last remaining safe place for product placement and sponsorship seems to be reality TV; people who watch that sort of thing care less about what you stuff down their faces than the audience for a hollywood movie. Just look at Samsung’s X Factor invasion.

And that’s probably why Microsoft’s now exploring that avenue for the launch of racing game Forza Horizon – which is as much the star of a new online reality TV show as the people in it. Will it push the envelope to tearing point?

Chasing With Steve Aoki’ is a mad new eight-part series destined for cable network Fuse’s website and YouTube channel. The show sees three teams of two compete in a raft of challenges set up by Akoi – the superstar DJ you’d be forgiven for never having heard of.

While the action unfolds, the teams will be seen wearing garb with the Forza Horizon logo on, being driven in racing cars and conversing with Akoi via Xbox 360s. This’ll build, probably not that subtly, until the teams will have to race each other on the game in question in the middle of the series.

Behind the scenes at Forza

But this isn’t all just for the sake of Forza. Alloy Digital, which has masterminded the series, expects it to be a three-way street. The Facebook and Twitter followers of Forza, Aoki and Fuse will all be pointed at each other throughout the show’s run.

A smart new way to do product placement? A first step for reality TV’s move online? Or just a cheap plug? Let us know below.

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