Product Placement in Advertising | Strategic Marketing

Product Placement

Once an advertising taboo, the tried and true practice of product placement has become commonplace in many forms of media, especially movies and television.  To the surprise of most, product placement dates back nearly 100 years, to movies like Wings—the very first Academy Awards Best Picture winner—which featured a prominently positioned Hershey’s chocolate bar, and Fritz Lang’s M, which had a banner ad for Wrigley’s Gum.  Since then, product placement has been featured in smash hit movies like Castaway, E.T., and the James Bond series of films, as well as television programs like Seinfeld and Friends.

There are three main types of product placement in advertising: visual placement, verbal placement, and hands-on placement.  Visual placement is the most common form.  This is when a product, service, or logo is simply displayed within the setting of a television series or film.  Verbal placement is when characters mention the name of a product or brand, such as when Agent 007 orders a martini and instructs the bartender to make it with particular brands of liquor.  Lastly, hands-on placement involves the movie or television characters themselves interacting with the advertised product.  A not-so-subtle example is in the movie Castaway—Tom Hanks works for FedEx, flies on a FedEx plane, and crashes on that FedEx plane.  And don’t forget, while stranded on that desert island, his best friend was Wilson, the volleyball.  While the costs of these different forms of product placement vary, they all offer certain advantages over traditional forms of advertising:

  1. Since the cost to place product is a single expenditure, the cost-per-impression falls over time due to the longevity of the program or movie itself.  Consumers view movies and television series long after they premiere.
  2. There is no commercial skipping.  Since the product is integrated into the content, the advertiser benefits from a “captive audience” for the product.
  3. There is the perceived endorsement.  Your product or brand will be linked to the characters or stars of the show or movie.
  4. People identify with characters that are actually using the product.  Consumers perceive products featured within a show to be of higher value than those shown in commercials.

With cable providers offering digital video recorders as a part of their service, millions of people around the country have the ability to fast forward through commercial breaks.  In response, more advertisers than ever before have allocated advertising dollars to product placement in order to integrate their brands into scenes and even storylines of movies and television shows.  To learn more about what product placement can do for your business, contact Strategic Marketing today at (561) 688-8155.