If you’ve watched a movie or television show at any time in the last century, you’ve almost certainly seen several examples of product placement.
While some of the most prominent examples that come to mind might be scenes of characters drinking Coca-Cola with the label facing outward or driving prominently-featured Audis through exciting chase sequences, product placement can come in all shapes and sizes.
From subtle inserts to standout features, product placements have proven time and again to boost brand awareness and get people researching and talking about the product at hand. In rare cases – like with all the Ray Ban sunglasses in Top Gun – it can immediately boost sales and product popularity to unexpected levels.
Product Placement Can Be Extremely Effective – When Done Right
The benefits of well-executed product placement strategies are undeniable.
For the tradeoff of the upfront cost of getting the product(s) featured, companies that successfully deploy integrated marketing of their product often see large payouts in the form of increased profits and broader brand recognition.
However, getting product placement to play well with an audience is a delicate dance.
On the one hand, you want to make sure the product being featured is seen and registered by those watching – if they miss it, all the potential benefits are wasted. On the other hand, you have to be sure you aren’t overdoing it.
For example, research has shown that viewers are put off by product placement that features the item too prominently (except in the Top Gun case of course) or if a character talks about it at length. Essentially, if the audience catches on that they’re being advertised to, they’re more likely to think negatively about the product being shown.
So for product placement to be effective, you’ve got to toe that line between awareness and annoyance.
Keep It Simple and Subtle
It’s one thing to simply say, “don’t let people catch on to your product placement” and another to actually pull it off. To that end, we recommend a few tactics that can help your marketing integrate more naturally.
- Start early: Regardless of where you’re featuring your product, be it a movie, television show, social media app or anywhere else, it’s best to place it early in the runtime of the piece of media. This is because people tend to get more invested in the content they’re watching the closer they get to the climax of the story. Product placement during the final battle of a blockbuster can go a long way toward breaking people’s immersion. Get in early for better results.
- Make use of social media: Most traditional forms of product placement come in movies or TV shows. But getting a trusted influencer or social media personality to feature your product can feel more genuine if implemented properly. Social media stars are often trusted more by their audiences than big celebrities or media organizations, so having your product organically integrated into their content can yield great results.
- Try going verbal: As we’ve said before, the most recognizable forms of product placement may be iconic appearances on the silver screen, but you don’t always need to show your product to get it to stick in people’s minds. Verbal product placement – having characters say the name of a product out loud – can generate high levels of brand awareness without triggering people’s sense that they’re being sold to.
As a tried and true advertising technique, product placement has been delivering tangible results for all sorts of companies for decades. Leveraging it for your organization can be an effective way to get your name out there – as long as you remain aware of the potential drawbacks and make use of smart, modern ways to integrate it.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you might have on how to make product placement work for you!