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About how long have product placements been commonplace?
Product Placement & Integration in film and television is a practice that has been in place since the beginning of film production – whether due to society’s fascination of a product, the brand manufacturer’s interest in reaching a mass audience, or the filmmaker’s need to reduce overall production costs.
What is the typical objective of Product Placement?
The overall objective by the brand is to build an image of aspiration around their product in association with the celebrity or entertainment property – increasing brand recognition and ultimately resulting in an increase in sales – whether in the US or globally. It’s a proven fact – when people see their favorite celebrities driving, holding, wearing or even standing near certain products in movies or television shows, they are influenced to purchase. People see a brand’s logo, hear a verbal mention or recognize a product in an entertainment property, and an allure is created that can far eclipse a standard advertising campaign. Star power is superbly potent.
Do you think Product Placement is an effective strategy for boosting sales?
Product placement and entertainment marketing campaigns with promotional advertising support are very effective marketing strategies or boosting sales. We have had countless clients perform in depth measurement studies based on the exposure they have received – measuring actual sales, retail store visits, website traffic jumps, etc. Today, product placement should play a very valuable and cost effective strategy within a brand’s advertising and marketing strategy plan for all brand categories. Marketers are often under the impression that product placement is too costly, or is not measureable – this is a misconception – any brand category can afford to play at some level or other within the space of entertainment marketing and product placement and obtain very measureable results.
What are the types of Product Placement?
There are four types of Product Placement options to brands and production companies. The first is a straight trade out or loan of the product. This provides production a cost savings on their bottom line.
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 len 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.
The fourth type of product placement that can be secured 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. For large scale blockbuster films the production company / distributor is more wisely seeking a bigger and more powerful commitment – the ability to leverage the automotive manufacturer’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.
How do you see this form of brand marketing changing in response to new consumption trends and digital technologies?
This form of brand marketing will strengthen and grow in response to new consumption trends and digital technologies. We are in a technology explosion – pervading every facet of our lives and it is only going to grow more. Consumers are so driven to being connected via their social media and networking platforms, and so connected to that which they watch and are entertained by, that the chatter associated with product placement campaigns will only be strengthening – with both positive and negative commentary. This is something that needs to be kept in mind by the brand partner, as consumers are so easily vocal now on their likes and dislikes – and creating organic and seamless campaigns that truly make sense are of optimum priority. Brands need to ensure the content they are being integrated into fits very well with their brand’s desired consumer. Keeping tuned in to the chatter created will yield incredible business intelligence that can be further honed to develop interactive opportunities, brands willing to experiment now in this space have the most to gain – resulting in immediate consumer impact and amplified influenced around the world.
More digital content options exist than ever have before, enabling a brand to find a new home within this content – content that is specifically created to be assimilated through social consumption and which offers phenomenal opportunities for digital marketing extensions by the automotive manufacturer.
If retaining a marketing firm is the way to go, what factors should be considered during the selection process?
- Make sure the firm know their stuff!
- Ask for client recommendations.
- Look at case studies.
- And really one of the most important – make sure you truly know what the result is that you are seeking, and make sure they are creating a roadmap plan that has key check points listed for you to be provided update reports monthly if not weekly or bi weekly. So many clients go in to a project not knowing what end result it is that they are seeking. No agency can satisfy you unless you truly know what you want as a result.
- Have your agency present new ideas bi weekly or monthly or more often – the more off the wall the better, and take the time to see if there is anything in the idea that has a possibility. Often times the most hair brained brainstorming sessions create a single nugget that can lead a campaign in an entirely new direction.
- Be open to change direction. In our opinion it is better to make a decision and start moving in one direction than staying stagnant weighing your decisions. You can always change directions. I see all too often agencies and their clients pondering what direction should be taken, while time clicks on and absolutely no result is made, as no one has authorized a step in any direction. A stagnant agency is of no benefit to the client.
If you blindly send your product to a celebrity, the likelihood is that they will never see it – and their assistant or someone else’s assistant will end up with your product in their own home instead. Keep reasonable expectations in mind with what you hope to obtain through a gift of your brand – you may feel that your product is the absolute best in the world, and while it may be, the celebrity gifted may not fully be on the same page. There are ways to request takeaways, and working with a company that has experience in this space will help you get the results you want. Certain categories are more easily gifted, although there is an angle for every brand type to obtain the celebrity exposure you are seeking.
The most important fact of celebrity gifting is figuring out what you want in return as takeaways. If you are seeking a true endorsement of your product, there will likely be a dollar or larger product amount involved.
Consumers are proven to follow the trends of celebrities, and embrace in their own lives the products that those they covet and admire use. A celebrity seen with your brand allows you a presence that can impact your sales, and definitely increase consumer awareness of your brand.
The easiest way to get your product in front of celebrities is to work with an entertainment marketing agency, such as Hollywood Branded Inc., that has established contacts with talent directly, as well as their management, PR and talent agencies, and who are aware of celebrity events that occur year round. The first thing you need to do is figure out what you want from giving a celebrity your product. Are you happy with just the fact that the celebrity has received it? Are you seeking a response such as a ‘thank you’ or testimonial that you can use for marketing/PR/social media? Do you want a tweet from the celebrity mentioning (tagging) your brand? Do you need a picture of the celebrity with your product? Do you have a budget to go along with your gift, or is it of a high value that makes it irresistible? Figuring out what you really need will allow us to figure out the best approach to get the desired results you are seeking. You also need to decide who the appropriate celebrities are to receive your product. We can directly gift the celebrity by sending the item, or we could engage with the celebrity through a planned event, such as sponsoring a party, participating in a celebrity lounge, green room, or other party that offers photography on hand and press onsite to help capture the moment. After figuring out these details, and all the accompanying elements, the next step is to gift!
Younger Hispanic males tend to be highly into action movies, music (and music videos) and video games – something which automotive brands and OEMs should take more advantage of.
You can engage with various celebrities – even individuals who are perceived in your community to have a celebrity status – to create assets usable through social media and PR– photos of the individual with your brand, testimonials, social media giveaways through the individual’s own sites…
If you have a national retail store – or even regional – you could create a program where you sponsor screenings of films that are geared to your consumer, or provide pre-paid movie tickets as an incentive to purchase your product. Or even create a music download program where consumer obtain free downloads with purchase.
For the specialty within which we work – entertainment marketing – we utilize Spanish language TV, radio and print campaigns often to leverage our client’s partnerships. However, we have a rare situation where entertainment is truly global, as long as the messaging and the cast resonates with the Hispanic demographic – and there is a lot of crossover. In entertainment, prime time network TV shows have Latino/Latina characters that are embraced by Hispanics overall.
If you have an individual in house who is connected within the entertainment community, and not having to learn the process and build the relationships along the way, then handling yourself is always an option. If you want a turnkey program where the relationships and opportunities are already known, or at least easily sourced, the overall monies spent in training the in-house employee or PR representative, who may be charging you by hour, can be better directed and utilized.
For entertainment marketing, we take in consideration what market the business owner is targeting, and explore what events and sports are specific to the local. We do this for both national/global brands as well as regional – as there are core markets such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, New York, Miami that typically offer numerous Hispanic focused events that bring your targeted consumer into easy reach.
We also explore brand opportunities based on the core marketing attributes of the brand – and what specific consumer segment they want within the Hispanic demo. 1st generation Spanish speaking? 1st generation Spanish speaking and their English speaking children? 2nd generation Hispanics? This further narrows the field you have to play within.
The spectrum ranges based on age and sport. Obviously Hispanic soccer players on US teams resonate well, as do a large number of musicians and actors.
Sports: Junhinho, Marcelo Sarvas, Rafael Garcias, Juan Pablo Angel, Marvin Irahieta, Marvin Chavez, Jason Hernadez, Tressor Moreno, Rafael Baca, Shea Salinas… and these are just a selection from the west coast.
Musicians: Alejandro Fernadez, Camila, Chayanee, Daddy Uankee, David Bisbal, Jennifer Lopez, Kalimba, Pitbull, Reik, Ricky Martin, Romeo, Shakira, Thalia…
Actors: Eva Longoria, Mario Lopez, David Zaya, Hector Elizondo, Sofia Vergara, Benjamin Bratt, Oscar Nunez, Ricardo Chavira, Lyndsy Fonesca…from big names to up and comers.