All Things Product Placement

Let’s talk product placement! If you’re a marketing nerd like my roommate and I, then you might shout out every time you see any sort of product placement in a movie or tv show. Seriously, every single time I see it I can’t resist the urge to point it out! But, how successful are those placements to the unsuspecting eye? I always wonder, so let’s stop wondering and start finding out!

I’ve been researching, reading articles, and doing some brainstorming of my own and what I’ve come up with is my own conclusion, it’s moderately successful, but most successful when used in conjunction with other marketing efforts. I want to analyze this strictly from a marketing perspective. There are a lot of benefits that effects the movie or tv industry or enhances the experience of that media for the viewers. But, well I’m a marketeer so we are going to stick to that! So, why? Let me show you the reasons that I think product placement enhances brand image and a possible pitfall that can result from it as well.

So, the first way I think product placement works is by reputation. What do I mean? Think about it this way. If you’re watching your new favorite movie, the movie you love because it’s funny and light-hearted and puts a smile on your face. Does that movie reflect the image you have of the company’s product placed in it? I think so. It’s a simple and even subconscious connection, but it’s there. In the industry creating and maintaining a positive brand image like that is extremely difficult in our technologically driven generation. So, why wouldn’t you use that to your advantage? Boost your brand image, brand recall, and create a reputation to be proud of. Mostly in this case brand image.

How can you make product placement more successful? You can’t use solely product placement, you have to integrate it into other marketing efforts. I’ll refer back to Walmart, they don’t rely only on product placement. They have traditional marketing, digital marketing, and advertisements. That’s the only way to successfully leverage product placement. If no one recognizes the brand, they won’t recognize the product placement and it will defeat the purpose. You have to establish a baseline in order to see a spike. That’s the best way to think about it. Your consumer has to already know your product, your ideals, your goals, and most importantly your logo! If they don’t know some of these basics you cannot expect your brand image to be boosted from product placement. You cannot boost something that isn’t there. This is an example of improving brand recognition and recall and it’s why product placement is an addition to other strategies it isn’t the strategy.

That all sounded pretty perfect right? Yes and no. There are definitely some pitfalls. Firstly, it’s expensive. Like, insanely expensive for the minimal amount of exposure. Product placement alone is approximately half the price of a 30 second ad, but does 3 or 4 seconds of exposure justify the price? That’s something I’m not quite sure of, I’m not exactly a marketing professional yet! I also believe that it depends largely on the company and the reputation they already had. One of the most successful uses of product placement I’ve seen was as simple as a mother in a movie carrying in her Walmart groceries. I wish I could remember what movie it was, but I remember thinking of Walmart as a more family friendly brand not just a price friendly option! So, it can be an asset to marketeers, but only in limited circumstances.

Ultimately, I believe in product placement for the large corporations wanting to keep their positive product image in their consumer eyes. It serves as an excellent reminder for what a company stands for, assuming it’s used in the right media context. So, look out for product placement and shout it out every time you see it. If you haven’t noticed it before you’ll start noticing it slowly but surely and you can develop your own opinions on it’s effectiveness.

Let me know what you think and if you’re a professional currently using or advocating for product placement! I would love to hear fellow Marketeer’s perspectives, so comment below!

Ciao Marketeers!


Here are some resources I used:

Resource 1

Resource 2

Resource 3




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