Is product placement effective for brands in films and TV shows? What are the essential do’s and don’ts?
I was interested in an article in Influence Q4 2019 that asked: does product placement work for brands? We all seem to accept that it is part of TV and film nowadays – an essential source of income. But we don’t want to see it done clumsily. We don’t want close-ups of brands and products that do not contribute to the storyline. The 2009 comedy film Up in the Air had brand mentions of Hilton hotels but they didn’t detract from the plot. After all as we travel around a city, we will naturally see lots of products and brands so it makes sense if characters in a film do the same.
The key is to make product placement seem a seamless part of the story. Influence did not think the 2013 film The Internship had achieved this. The action took place in and around Google’s campus at Santa Clara, California. We saw all sorts of Google services – Google Search, Docs, Maps, Gmail, Chromebooks and so on. The audiences did not flock to this film and critics generally disliked it. There should have been much stronger creative control. But you could argue that these products formed part of the plot of The Internship so they had a reason to be there. Some film-makers just put products or brand-mentions into a scene without any real reason for them to be there. Audiences are quick to notice something that is not authentic.
Effective product placement
The James Bond franchise shows us how to do it: the sophisticated drinks, the luxury car. They add to the character and mood of the films. When he swapped for Heineken in Skyfall, audiences were alarmed. But when Ray-Ban sunglasses started placing products in films sales shot up. Tom Cruise wore them in a film in 1983 and things snowballed from there. Ray-Ban is now an iconic brand thanks, in part, to effective product placement in films.
This is a good explanation of product placement https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/product-placement.asp