The Mistake: Not Understanding Product Placement Options

In today’s TV and feature film content, there are brand jeeter flavors placement appearances in almost every production. A fact showcased by the Association of National Advertisers survey stating that 87% of advertisers believe branded entertainment is the key to TV advertising.

Studies state that consumers must be exposed 7 times to a brand to create a call to action with traditional advertising. Yet just one entertainment marketing campaign will raise brand recognition by 29%, and brand awareness by 74%. When you accompany that campaign with a commercial, purchase interest rises to 97%.

There are two tactics for securing such exposure which serve either to drive immediate sales or influence future purchases. And both work, at differing costs.

The first tactic is called Brand Integration, and it typically requires a mid-five to high six-plus figure investment – often times accompanied by either a media buy or a promotional campaign. With this scenario the brand is able to work with production to (somewhat – the writers have final say) script the messaging and on screen exposure. Brand integration, accompanied by a well-crafted campaign will yield faster sales results – more social chatter, more website visits, and higher engagement with consumers.

The second tactic is more aptly referred to as Product Placement, in which product is either given or loaned to a production in trade for having a more organic exposure into the scenes on screen. As long as brands are continuously leveraging and participating in more than a handful of productions, this practice serves brands for the long haul. This creates an effective strategy build consumer bases, stay top of mind and – make sales. It also allows for some surprisingly big wins that never would be able to be strategically planned – or bought.

The second is a barter trade out of the product. This provides production complimentary product that again saves on their production costs on a larger scale. Obviously not all brands lend themselves to this – but a beverage or snack brand company might provide a couple of pallets of product for the crew to consume during production, a mobile phone might provide service for key production executives or the entire crew, an automotive partner might provide production loan vehicles for production to use to transport key executives and talent, and many other types of companies might provide a cast and crew gift for the wrap of production.

The third type of product placement is a cash fee for a storyline to be built around the brand’s core messaging. This cash fee translates the lingo of “Product Placement” to “Brand Integration” and as a brand you will want to have contractual guarantees built in as to how production will – and will not – depict the brand within the scene.

The fourth way Product Placement can be secured (which ties directly back to Brand Integration) is through leveraging the brand’s already planned media buy for TV, Print, Radio or Digital, and cobranding that with the title treatment of the production and/or imagery from the production. Or for those brands that aren’t media buyers – looking at ways to incorporate the property into your retail display. For large scale blockbuster films the production company / distributor is more wisely seeking a bigger and more powerful commitment – the ability to leverage the brand’s promotional advertising. Having the ability to cobrand the film within the brand’s advertising materials – TV, Print, Radio, Digital or even at retail – is equally important for both the brand and the film.

The brand obtains the ability to build upon the product placement platform outside of the on screen exposure – creating a way to further increase the engagement with the consumer, and enhance the star power the association brings to the brand. The entertainment property gains reach and access to millions of additional consumers marketed to by the brand – without having to pay millions of dollars. It’s a win/win for both parties – with the caveat that the property needs to be one which resonates with the brand’s core consumer demographic.

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