How Effective Is Product Placement And Should You Do It?

Product placement, the promotion of branded goods or services within the context of some other form of entertainment, is a form of subtle advertisement. In modern life, we are exposed to hundreds if not thousands of ads per day. Most of these advertisements are explicit. We know that a company is trying to sell us something. With product placement, the goal is to create desire, interest, or buzz by suggesting a connection between a product and something else appealing, like a favorite actor.Debate rages about how to effectively carry out product placement, but there is no debate about whether it can be successful or not. Here is a look at how product placement, when done right, can work to your advantage.

Product Placement Is Effective

The first instance of overt product placement in a movieoccurred in 1927 when a Hershey’s chocolate bar was featured inWings. Prior to that, product placement occurred in radio programs and even in books, though it wasn’t as effective without the cult of personality that now turns celebrities into household names. Modern examples of successful product placement include:

  • Ray-Ban’s in 1983’s Risky Business– Sales went from just 18,000 in 1982 to 360,000 after the movie came out. The placement created a phenomenon, resulting in the glasses being worn by celebrities like Billy Joel, a trend that further boosted sales.
  • Reese’s Pieces in 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Profits increased by 65% following the scene in which Elliot hands some of the candy to E.T. It’s a good bet that M&M, who turned down the placement when approached by Spielberg, is still kicking itself. Chalk up another win for Hershey. It seems they learned their lesson in 1927.
  • Mini Cooper in 2003’s The Italian Job – It isn’t just relatively inexpensive items that get a boost from product placement. Sales of the Mini Cooper increased 22% following the car’s placement in The Italian Job, showing that product placement has the power to open wallets pretty wide.

What made these placements successful was the overall success of the movies, the appeal of the actors involved, and the fact that the placement was subtle. Ray-Ban simply put its glasses on Tom Cruise, it didn’t have him talk them up or take time out to plug the product.

Is Product Placement Worth It?

The movie Man of Steel took in $160 million in product placement funding and, as a result, featured products from more than 100 global brands. Unfortunately, the overt use of product placement in the movie actually backfired for many advertisers and brands.In 2019, it is estimated that product placement will generate $11.44 billion in revenue for movies, tv, etc. Simply put, product placement is expensive, so marketing execs need to know if it is worth it to pony up the dough to get their brand into a movie. In the case of Man of Steel, putting money into product placement may have been damaging. Being too overt with product placement is almost always a recipe for disaster. Subtlety is the key.

How to Make Product Placement Work. Hint: Don’t just say “Drink Coke” or “Buy Peptides.”

Product placement can be worth it if it is done right and the movie is successful. Unfortunately, picking quality movies can be more luck than science. The good news, however, is that there is a science to product placement. If you decide to go for it, follow these tips to get the most for your money.

  • Product placement should be natural and never annoying. The product should be noticeable, but not obvious. For instance, if you want people to buy peptides, don’t say “buy peptides,” unless the film features that kind of overt sarcasm about advertising or breaks down the fourth wall (think Deadpool) in order to be direct with the audience. Instead, show someone intelligent, sophisticated, and likeable buying peptides or drinking coke to send a subtle message to the audience. You can learn more about peptides here; https://www.peptidesciences.com/buy-peptides
  • You want a little creative control over the way a product is placed, so get the director, producer, etc. to agree in writing to let you have some say. After all, you don’t want your product becoming the weapon of choice for the antagonist that everyone hates.
  • The main idea of the film or media featuring your product should align with your brand and your company’s values. Do you want family-friendly, suave, youthful, or something else entirely?
  • You want to associate the product with a certain lifestyle, feeling, ideal, or behavior. For instance, buying a Mini Cooper gives you mad driving skills and makes your life more interesting.
  • Try to form a good relationship with the movie production company. These are the creative people who can really make your brand shine, so stick close to them and do what you can to help them meet their goals so that they will want to help you meet yours.

To Place or Not to Place, That Is the Question

Whether you opt to go for product placement or not is a matter of brand choice and what is right for a particular product. Don’t shy away from the practice, however. If done right, it can endear your brand to many and promote the kind of message that overt advertising could never get across. Just take care not to be too heavy handed or pushy as doing so will create ill will.

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