What Is Product Placement?

Let’s talk product placement people!

Anytime you saw bond sipping on a Heineken in “Skyfall”… Product Placement.

Whenever you saw Lady Gaga curl her hair with Coca-Cola cans in the music video “Telephone”… Product Placement.

And every time you heard Carrie Bradshaw mention her love for Manolo Blank shoes in “Sex And The City”…You guessed it, Product Placement.

While some productions don’t do a great job at hiding it, many films, shorts and TV shows are incredible at weaving product placement into their productions without it standing out like a sore thumb.

  • So What Exactly Is Product Placement?

Simply put, product placement is a marketing technique companies use to promote their products to a larger and maybe even new, audience.

  • Why do they do this?

Because unlike traditional marketing campaigns (you know, like TV commercials, billboards and such), these products can be advertised to consumers, sometimes without them even knowing.

Think about it. Remember the 2003 “The Italian Job” remake. How many freaken Mini Coopers did you see in that film? Well after that movie was released (despite its moderate box office success), BMW saw a 22% increase in sales the following year. That’s kind of awesome!

  • Okay, but how does it work?

Simply put, companies pay the big bucks to get their stuff featured. Less simply put, there are an endless amount of ways both companies and productions go about getting product placement. Sometimes it’s for a flat out fee that helps reduce the costs of production and other times it’s in exchange for services (a hypothetical example of this could be Southwest paying for the production’s airfare needs instead of the outright cash).

  • Gotcha – So Are There Different Types of Product Placement?

You bet there are. In fact, the possibilities are sort of endless. We’ll use Southwest again to help break this down.

You’ve got “basic” placement. This is when you may see the Southwest Logo in the background of a scene/shot. You have “Advanced” placement. This would be when one of the characters might bring attention to the product by saying something like “Gee-whiz Southwest is the best-est-est!”. You even have Brand Integration, which is when the brand becomes a vital part to the production’s storyline – think your main character gets a job at Southwest.

Really, you can use product placement in whatever capacity you see fit for your production:

Your character’s obsessed with Whisky – look at Whisky Companies.

Your production takes place in a cafe – Look at cafes.

Your production revolves around a chat line service – AT&T we’re coming for ya!

So just remember, no matter what scale your production is, product placement can be a great way to subsidies costs and the possibilities are really rather endless.

Article written by Alexa Berry for The Monthly Film Festival



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