SBS Advertising

All About Product Placements

As a chic way to market a brand, Product Placements have attracted advertisers of all sorts. Brands making their first foray into the world of placements often do not know what to expect.

How Placements Work

When a manufacturer works their product into an entertainment project, like a feature film or television series, that is called a Product Placement. You might remember the Mini Cooper in The Italian Job, Lexus in the Minority Report, or iPhones in just about any movie that hits the big screen. Each of these branded items, clearly displayed and used in each film, creates positive brand impressions with audience members. And celebrity use of products in films have nearly the same "weight" with viewers as recomendations from personal friends.

Placements typically offer value to advertisers by generating multiple brand impressions through repeated views, and in some cases co-marketing/co-branding activities augment the brand impressions. As individual viewers watch a favored film over and over again, the see the product used clearly in a true-to-life way by someone they admire. This increases "mind share" with the viewer, so that the next time that viewers needs that product, hopefully, the promoted brand will be his first choice.

What you can expect when striking a placement deal

First of all, you should know that every placement deal is unique. There really isn't a "typically" to the placement business. Some generalities emerge, however.

Upfront Fees
Advertisers usually deliver some sort of "up front" fee in order to get their product into a specific project. The fee might range from providing product for use in the film to paying in millions of dollars.
Typically, only "A-list" brands and studios strike million-dollar deals. Smaller brands, however, can sometimes get their product onto a show for little more than the cost of sending one over. In some rare cases, in fact, products are simply inserted, without any previous arrangements, because the producer liked the product or because it fit the scene well.
Cutting Room Floor
Unless the display of the product fits naturally into the scene, your product may not "make the cut." Sometimes, deals are struck to place products into shows, but the story-lines do not offer a natural place to introduce it.
The most valuable placements, however, are those where the actors actively interact with the product—especially when they interact with the product throughout the story. Chuck Norris' Ram pickup is a good example. Walker, Texas Ranger featured the kick-butt actor arriving just in the nick of time—behind the wheel of his silver sport-side Ram 4x4. Or consider You've Got Mail, the romcom that so deeply integrated the AOL product placement that the producers named the movie after it.
While placement deals cover the map with regard to suitablilty, as a savvy marketer, you will typically look for opportunities to make your product a part of the story.
Producer (Business) v. Director (Creativity)
Typically, producers strike placement deals because the deals offer ways to expand the available cash or cut production costs. On the other hand, directors often dread placement deals because they can affect a film's artistic design. This is a tension you should be aware of. When striking a deal, you should have the director on your side. If you do not, no matter how much you pay for the placement, the director will find a way to cut your product out of the picture.
Branding v. Sales
In most cases, product placements are a branding effort. Rarely do immediate sales result from a specific placement deal (though they can and have). Smart ways to leverage your placement deals into sales exist, and we can offer many of those methods, but expecting a replay of the Reeces/E.T. success story will not happen automatically and may require additional efforts on your part in order to generate sales.

Learn More

Learn more about how placements may be a great way to market your brand.

If you are an Advertiser, click here

If you are a Producer, click here