EP 225: Measuring and Valuing Product Placement with Dominic Artzrouni | Concave Brand Tracking

In this episode, Stacy sits down with Dominic Artzrouni, the founder and director of Concave Brand Tracking, a company that tracks a brand’s exposure and impact from product placement in television and film. The two discuss measuring and valuing product placement as well as why it is important for brands to be placed in the right context.

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Transcript For This Episode:

Stacy Jones (00:01):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them). I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for top experts to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well-versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy or money.
Whether you’re doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.Speaker 2 (00:31):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them). Here’s your host, Stacey Jones.Stacy Jones (00:36):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them). I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so happy to be here with you all today. And I want to give a very warm welcome to Dominic Artzrouni. He’s the founder and director of Concave Brand Tracking, a company that tracks the amount of exposure and impact of a brand from product placement in TV and film content. Dominic founded Concave Brand Tracking back in 2013 by combining his background in business, data analysis and market research with his passion for entertainment.
Over the years, he’s worked with many major agencies and brands including Dell, Anheuser-Busch and Moët Hennessy. Their list of the most visible product placement brands and movies is one of a kind in this industry. This is Dominic’s second time on our show. And today, he’s going to be walking through a report his team created, recapping product placements from 2019 films, including the top 100 brands. Dominic, welcome. So happy to be chatting with you here today.Dominic Artzrouni (01:27):
Hi, Stacy. Great to be with you again.Stacy Jones (01:30):
Super happy to have you. So, for those who might not have heard you on our podcast before, can you give everyone just a little bit of a background of who you are and Concave? And what it is that you all do?

Dominic Artzrouni (01:42):
Absolutely. So, as you said in the intro, I’ve worked in a couple of different fields, which I brought together, data analysis, market research. And I’ve always loved movies. And I’ve always been interested in product placement. So, I came in with an outsider’s point of view with what I’d done in fashion. And I said, “Okay. I’m sure this research exists with product placement. What would I expect to see?” And one of the biggest things I saw is be able to compare yourself to your competitors and just have this 360-degree view.
For example, what’s your ranking compared to all other brands? And when I entered the industry, I realized that it didn’t really exist. There were people who measured, who collect the data, but not in a holistic way. So, over the years, that’s what we’ve been trying to do at Concave. And the result is, over the last three, four years, this annual report where we’ve gone through. We started off doing 50 movies a year.
And now, the last two years, we’re doing 100 movies a year, which make up about 95% of the box office in the US and about 80% worldwide. So, it’s a really good sample. And so, we record every single brand that appears in these movies and a load of data. So, how visible they are, how much screen time. But then also, who’s using them? So, you know what their age is, what their gender is, and what context they’re being portrayed in. So, it’s a hell of a lot of data.
But the great thing is, on the one hand for our client, our clients is much more cost effective. And when they come to us, we have years of data. We have all of their competitors, and we can show them that. And I get to have all these great insights that I can share with you today.

Stacy Jones (03:11):
That is awesome. So, with this, you’re tracking all films. But you also do streaming video on demand and television series also when clients are looking for that, right?

Dominic Artzrouni (03:20):
Yes. So, the TV stuff… so, we do the TV. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a representative sample in the same way we do with movies. Because obviously, there’s so many. But actually, something very recent, because some of our clients have been starting to ask that, and we actually took a look to see, “Okay, how many shows would we have to do to get a reasonable representative sample?”
And we found that actually, if you start doing 20, 30, 40 of the highest rated shows in the United States, you start to get about 30, 40… especially this year, unfortunately, with corona, a lot of the show is being slashed because there’s going to be a much smaller pool. You can actually get something, a representative. And the reason for that is simply because in terms of viewership, there are hundreds and hundreds of shows that are getting less than a million views.
Whereas, you’ve got all the primetime shows on the network channels that are getting 10, 15, 20 when you count DVR. And then, you take in the Netflix and the top Amazon shows. And once you get 10, 20 of all of those, you’ve got a really good sample. So, that’s something we’re looking at in the future. But at the moment, we do more ad hoc shows like the big story on Stranger Things and most recently, on Space Force.

Stacy Jones (04:30):
Yeah. It’s hard with TV, because with broadcast television, there’s not a lot of organic product placement. You are getting an issue where the ad sales at ABC, NBC, CBS/Fox, they don’t like product placement unless you’re actually paying them. And so, that causes a whole other issue in general because… thus, really hard to get your brand in there without having the logo great versus what you were saying with the Netflix and Amazon.
They love product placement. So, those shows are going to have higher numbers and usage cases of that product placement. So, that’s a whole other world that you have to scramble to figure out and determine.

Dominic Artzrouni (05:10):
Yeah. And it’s not only do they have… there’s no rules at Netflix. But also, it’s the viewership. Because on HBO and Showtime, it’s the same thing. But even Billions, which is this amazing show, like the Nielsen ratings are 600,000, 700,000, even with DVR. Obviously, there are a lot of people who are watching it on the HBO streaming. But still, it’s nothing like… even Space Force is considered… they clearly don’t think it’s done very well because they’re not putting out any numbers.
But we’ve got a model estimate. And we already think over six million people have watched the entire show, which for something that’s flopped, is still pretty good.

Stacy Jones (05:45):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s really interesting how Amazon and Netflix, really Netflix in most ways, manages to estimate what is a flop, what is not. And they’ll go in. And obviously, they’ll take like Designated Survivor. The network no longer wanted to run with that because it wasn’t getting the right numbers. So, they brought it over. They created an awesome press. They brought it into the Netflix world. And they ran one season of it, only one season for those of us like me who are actually fans, was disappointing.
And they got good views, but they didn’t get stellar views. And so, then, it’s just gone, even though it probably got more views than what it should have gotten on the network.

Dominic Artzrouni (06:26):
And then, I believe in the case of Designated Survivor, they were airing it before they bought… while it was still airing on ABC, Netflix was showing it a few months later. And they obviously knew internally that it was doing well with Netflix viewers, which is why they then decide… I think they’ve done that with a couple of shows that they’ve taken it over, or they’ve made the movie version because they know that on Netflix, the viewers love that particular show.

Stacy Jones (06:47):
So, with the 100 movies that you’re doing, the films, how are you choosing? Is that the top 100 box office? Is this based on your clients asking you for specific movies to review? How are you coming up with which movies to review?

Dominic Artzrouni (07:03):
So, we go on that we use Box Office Mojo as our source. And we look at the top 100 movies at the US box office to make them US-relevant. But then, we’re using worldwide figures. So, for example, a movie did well domestically, and same, a 30 million in the US and didn’t make any money abroad, it might be less than 100 of the worldwide box office but it’s still going to make our sample. Because obviously, all our clients are US-based. So, it’s the top 100 brands at the US box office.

Stacy Jones (07:30):
Okay, very cool.

Dominic Artzrouni (07:31):
Which at the moment, it’s about any movie that makes… obviously, not this year. But usually, it’s any movie that makes over 25 or 30 million at US box office-

Stacy Jones (07:39):
Okay. Okay, fair enough. And usually, those are going to be most of your franchise hits.

Dominic Artzrouni (07:47):
Yes, absolutely. We have joked once with a client that pretty much anything that doesn’t go into that, like no one’s seen it, apart from the family of the cast and crew.

Stacy Jones (07:55):
There you go. So, what goes into your analysis? You have 100 films, and you are looking for every moment of product placement from logo appearing through signage, or the wardrobe, and prop, and set and verbal mention, I’m assuming?

Dominic Artzrouni (08:16):
Yep, absolutely.

Stacy Jones (08:17):
Okay. And then, where does it go from there? How are you evaluating? How are you determining? Because you have a whole matrix on what something is going to be overall valued with based on the length of time.

Dominic Artzrouni (08:33):

Stacy Jones (08:33):
I’m going to turn it over to you. So, I don’t feel-

Dominic Artzrouni (08:36):
Yeah. So, the three elements that we look at, as I think I mentioned before, are exposure, demographics and context. Demographics and context, is the qualitative stuff which is more of a cherry on top of the analysis for our clients and stuff. The main crux of what we do and what people are interested in, as you said, is measuring the impact, the exposure. So, we break that down into screen time. So, how long something’s on screen?
And that can be cumulative. So, for example, if there’s two cars in the background for five seconds, it’ll be 10 seconds of total screen time. Then, the discernibility. So, the quality of the exposure. So, the quality of exposure, which has two elements, discernibility, which is where it is. So, is it a close-up? Is it an obvious shot? Is it just subtle? And then, we have discrete. And then, in the background. We think that pretty much covers everything.
And then, whether or not the logo is visible, because that’s quite an important metric, which should be logo and a discernibility together, we called the quality of the exposure. And so, we apply that to the screen time. And then, we put that… the way I look at this is we’re taking all these different variables, and we’re blending them together. So, that’s about what you’re actually seeing on screen. Then, you’ve got how many people actually seeing a movie.
And then, you take how much it costs to advertise on US television. So, the cost per million per second. And it’s by blending all of this together, we can tell brands that by having 45 seconds with 10 seconds of close-up, 30 seconds in the background with 50/50 logo visibility in a movie, the gross 100 million worldwide, that was worth $300,000 worth of product placement value. So, that’s the finished results.

Stacy Jones (10:18):
And your metrics on how you do and how you come up are very similar with how our agency does as well. So, you have everything covered there. And do you take into account the life of the film after the initial theatrical release when it goes into all those other worlds of on demand and DVD, and airline, and all the different streaming? And then, going into television, going into repeats that are going to be showing up for years and years to come? Or do you just say, “Here’s the value from the initial theatrical run”?

Dominic Artzrouni (10:57):
So, you and I actually haven’t talked about this before. But this is a brand-new product that we’ve just been working on, which I was actually planning on talking about. So, I’m very excited that you brought it up like that. Up until now, the main thing has been, and in every… our analysis will say, “This brand got a million dollars during the…” Well, we just said it because it’s a given during a theatrical run.
But recently, we’re emphasizing more. Because we’ve developed a model based on external data. So, actually, this all started with us trying to figure out how many people are watching Netflix movies, which as I’ve obviously mentioned before, we have found a way to do that. Because Netflix doesn’t want to tell us, so we have to do it ourselves. And bringing it down really simply is, obviously, when a movie comes out of the box office and we know how many people see it, there’s loads of metrics out on the internet.
There’s users who are leaving reviews. There’s how much the ratings are. And there’s multi… Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, IMDb. There’s loads of data out there. So, we spent the last year collecting all this data and trying to find what data correlates with the box office. And basically, we’ve done that. And we realized there is a very good correlation with some of these data points. And they allow us to basically apply those to Netflix shows and movies as well to come up with an estimate.
We’re not saying it’s exact, but it’s to give an idea. And so far, we’ve been proven pretty right with Stranger Things and Extraction. And The Irishman, I think we predicted that it was 28 million people had seen in the first week, and it turned out to be 29. So, we’re very happy with that. But when we were doing all this, we realized that, “Wait, all of this data on the internet continues basically forever for all these movies.”
So, using that, we are now able to, once a movie is no longer in theater… exactly as you say. Because no one is able to track. Even the most sophisticated data company in the world cannot track, as you said, everything. There’s planes, which is the first one. There’s pirating, which is a huge… we’ve actually been contacted by some companies that do track the pirating one. But they keep telling me, “Oh, maybe brands would be interested.”
And I tell them, “Trust me, no one is going to want to touch you just as soon as the word, pirated or illegal.” But the fact is it is out there, and it is a big… it is a huge thing. And then, Netflix, Amazon, VOD, sometimes we have bought a couple of times for client’s data, like actual hard data. I mean, even this hard data, I still got the impression it was a lot of estimates. But how many people are physically renting and VOD purchases, and all that thing in the US?
So, anyway, we’re able to put all of that together and come up with these estimates. And so, now, what we’re starting to do with our clients is show them… is being able to tell them what people or what value they’re getting for the entire lifetime. A perfect example, we did a study earlier this year, was that we took a classic film, Fight Club, which has now been out. It was its 20th anniversary.
And based on all of our models, when it first came out, the brands that were in it, because obviously, even though it was super anti-consumerism-

Stacy Jones (14:02):
I’m going to interrupt you. I had freightliner in this film. So, I’m really interested to hear what you’re about to say.

Dominic Artzrouni (14:08):
So, at the time movie came out, the theatrical run, there was about $8 million dollars. Because it wasn’t a complete failure, but it was nothing… the way if you asked… well now, how big the Fight Club was at the time, they would probably say 10 times more than it actually was. So, it was $8 million. I think it’s about 100 million worldwide, the box office. And we calculated there was about $8 million worth of product placement advertising value.
And today, we think that’s gone up to $144 million. So, that’s a huge increase. And for example, for one brand, all of our people we found was the biggest brand than it because it’s the sunglasses… and it’s probably even though a lot of people might not know the name of the brand, if you put in Brad Pitt sunglasses, you don’t even need to put Fight Club. But if you do… because he actually worn those glasses in a lot of movies. But their value went up from 900,000 to 60 million over 20 years.

Stacy Jones (14:57):
That’s amazing. That’s an unbelievable case study of being able to say what the longevity is. I mean, I’ll sit in bed… no. Before we go to bed, my husband’s favorite thing to do is to watch a little bit of television. A lot of people do that, right? So, what we tend to watch is we have Seinfeld on. We have Friends on. We have all these things that you don’t need to be too engaged because you’ve seen them.
But I’ll be sitting there, and I am watching placement after placement, after placement that I did. And it’s just amazing because those brands have such value forevermore. And it’s not every show. But if you get it, you’re in the gold of a good show, you’re never going away.

Dominic Artzrouni (15:36):
I mean, I feel like in the past, like 10 years ago, you needed to be in a Friends or Seinfeld to really get that infinite thing. But now, with Netflix, I’m watching Community at the moment, which ended five years ago. I mean, I feel like that’s the show before the age of Netflix, maybe some obscure British channel might buy the rights to it. But I would never see it. But as soon as Netflix knows that something’s big or whatever, they’ll… or even, I’m sure if a show from 20 years ago, they’ll buy it for pittance.
And then, when they realize that it’s actually really popular with a certain demographic, and then suddenly, it gets a whole new life. So, yeah. And for those people who are into those movies or those shows, I just did an interview with someone from Community. And he was saying, “Trust me, the Royalties aren’t the same as they were with Friends and Seinfeld.” But from a brand’s point of view, it doesn’t matter whether Jerry Seinfeld is getting a check or not, as long as someone is seeing their brand. It’s basically money in their bank.

Stacy Jones (16:31):
Yeah, and this is a total sidebar conversation here. But that’s where it gets really interesting with companies who are saying that they can do digital product placement and content years later. So, there’s a value there. I honestly don’t agree with it.
I don’t agree with breaking in the artistic integrity of content that has already been cast, because my belief system is that when a brand is cast in a movie or TV show, being on the side of the people who do this type of thing, the steps it takes to get the director, the producer, the actor, the props, master all of these different people to actually approve it and say, “Yes, that is the brand that best identifies with this character.”
To me, your brand is actually getting cast alongside the actors. So, to come in and say, “Hey, 20 years later, we can swap out that cereal box and put another cereal box.” The ideology for me is one that’s not… it’s artistic and it doesn’t work. But you have these capabilities. And the reason why people want to do that is because this content is still so valuable.

Dominic Artzrouni (17:33):
On that, so I was actually asked about it the other day. So, I said, “I’m biased, because if they started doing that, my business doesn’t exist anymore.” But putting that aside, I completely disagree with it. I get both for the rational reasons like you say about… well, it’s more of the ethical reasons that I agree with there about it. Yeah, the actors and directors aren’t going to accept it, and they shouldn’t.
And I also think the audience is going to absolutely hate it. And when I was answering this question, I said, “I also think this is a fantasy of people who don’t understand product placement.” I’ve only ever seen theoretical articles in companies pitching it that they can do it. Do you know if anyone’s actually doing it anywhere?

Stacy Jones (18:16):
Yeah, there’s case studies, and there’s companies that are trying to do it. And they’ll work with a producer, and they’ll go in, and they’ll do a case study here or there. Where I think the digital product placement really comes in handy is localization efforts. So, let’s say you are a brand and you have… let’s say you’re Pepsi. And you have different product in different parts of the world, as far as your branding, your packaging.
Look, if you are the brand, you’re Pepsi, you’re in the film. They cast you. I don’t see any issue with going in and changing the branding of the can to correlate with the product that’s actually sold in China, in the Middle East, in South America. That makes sense. Because sometimes, there’s different product lines or just different packaging in general. No issues. It’s where you go in and you’re like, “Hey, I’m Coca-Cola. And I’m going to replace your Pepsi.”
It wasn’t the intent when the content was created, to make it that level of commercialization, because it really is just something patched together. And you could say, “I’m biased,” as well. This is what you said, “My business doesn’t go away. I could be selling digital product placement and content,” right? It’s just for me, again, it’s ethically the fact that I think that when your product is baked into the content, it should stay baked into the content.
Because of the thousand and one things we go through and hoops that no one out there understands truly to actually get that product on screen, what it takes, the relationships it takes, the selling, the understanding, all of those things, it’s just not a commercialization of, “Hey, I’ll just pay you money, and here’s this brand.” Because we can go in with a million dollar offer for brands. And if that brand is not embraced by that director and that cast member, and that individual on set making these decisions, that brand is not going to show up even with a million dollar offers.
And we’ve made those million dollars offers before to have them be told, “No.” So, it’s just, that’s not the world we’re in. It’s just not that much of a commercialization, that effect.

Dominic Artzrouni (20:21):
Plus, I mean, I’ll use the example… obviously, a hyperbole of them. I mean, I’m sure there are actual million dollars offers. But that’s the exception, not the rule. But I think anyone who writes about this, again, who doesn’t understand the industry, they think that every deal is a million dollars. So, it’s worth it. Because the technology to do this should be exorbitant. Sometimes, people ask me about my business and say, “Oh, aren’t you afraid of artificial intelligence?
Because you can try this automatically.” I mean, I’m sure, someone has hundreds of millions or billions of dollars to pour into that AI, sure. But let them then make the amount of revenue that I make and see what profit they made. The fact is that people have this, and we’ve talked about this last time. People have this fantasy about product placement being this cash cow and everything. But it’s not. It’s a side thing that, exactly as you say, it’s not about the money.
It’s about having the right relationships, about having the right fit. And it’s about the people. It’s about people like yourself, for the brands you have, years and years, long relationship with the prop man. Again, people think the producers and directors are involved. But most of the time, it’s the prop that masters, is the set decorators, is the costume designers.

Stacy Jones (21:24):
And when I just made that million-dollar reference, so let me give a little bit more background to that. So, we’ll have a client come to us and say, “We want this really big bang opportunity.” Maybe, and Big Bang Theory, whatever. I’m just kidding. But that’s happened with that show as well. And when you make that, you want to get in, and you’re hungry. And you have a specific show you want, and you want to put dollars behind it.
If you’re not already known to that production, I would rather have that brand come to me and say, “Hey, for the next year, let’s just do a building awareness campaign in Hollywood where we get our product out to all the sets. We can get people familiar with it. We get them to know the story. We’re not necessarily looking for the big bang opportunity that’s just going to blow us out of the world at this moment. But keep your eyes out for it. But let’s go and start creating these relationships where we’re able to get our product into the scenes of a wide variety of movies and TV shows.
Oftentimes, those that do not even accept dollars, because at least 60% of the content out there does not accept dollars for product placement. It’s all relationship-based. Let’s get in there that way.” And instead of coming in and saying, “Hey, here’s my million dollars. I want in.” Because it shifts the conversation, and it no longer makes you someone who is here to work alongside and create a relationship with Hollywood, which is where the power product placement is.
It makes you come in and be like, “I’m a big advertiser. I have dollars. I just want to throw it at this one thing.” And we can do those campaigns. But it’s a very different way of negotiation and acceptance. And all of a sudden, people are just eyeing the dollars instead of what your brain could actually do in offsetting costs or creating a better story.

Dominic Artzrouni (23:07):
Yeah. I think I was explaining to someone recently, and I said… you probably will know without me saying, but I won’t say their names. But they were huge… three or four years ago, they went in every single blockbuster. And then, apparently, what I’ve heard is that… then, they thought that having spent millions and millions of dollars. Then, suddenly, that would open the door. But then, the people who were willing to take it then basically said, “Well, you need to continue paying us.”
And then, they didn’t. And now, they’re still in our top 100 brands, but they’re nowhere near the top, because they’ve created that expectation and that association with the brand. I mean, I imagine the people, they’ll feel, “I’m not going to do what I did for money before now for free.” And they’ll be like, “Well, there’s that person I knew for 10 years that I said, ‘Sorry, I’m not going to place you versus 500 grand.’ I’m going to go back to them if you’re the same.”

Stacy Jones (23:56):
Yeah. I mean, dollars change the conversation. Dollars are powerful. And they get you the bigger opportunities. They do. They get you the storylines. They get you the messaging points. They are now required in a lot of the most popular pop culture partnership opportunities out there. If you’re going in and you’re trying to negotiate something in a very competitive film, in a very competitive brand category, they’re going to be asking you, “What could you do first promotionally?
What can you do first dollar-wise?” Versus, “Hey, can you just give us product?” But if you are creating that Hollywood branding program where you’re coming out and saying, “I have product. I’m happy to give you product. I’m going to loan you product and give you product, and give you product, and give you product.” It just starts the relationship off on a different level. And you can still go in and do a paid deal here, a paid deal there. But it’s not the conversation being driven where you’re coming out like Gang Busters at the beginning and just saying, “I’m going to throw money here, here, here, here.”
And then, expect that people are going to be willing to give you the free opportunities later on. It’s you’re closing that door.

Dominic Artzrouni (25:00):
Yeah. I imagine if someone comes and they say, “I’m going to spend $1 million this year and every year.” Like, “How about we split that up and we create a multi-year program that gets you where you want to be?” I mean, all the brands that are in the top 100, and there’s a book I’ll be doing later what I call now the Product Placement Royalties, the brands that have been in the top 100 now for multiple years.
I mean, I’m sure some of them are paying for certain placements, but they’ve all got… obviously, they’re big companies with big budgets. But they’ve got well-established programs. They’re in a bunch of movies. Usually, it’s a couple of them and do really well every year. I can think of a bunch of places just this year where someone clearly pay and they got five, six seconds of a close-up of something. And you and I will remember it but no one else will.
But it will have cost them, if they could have spent those dollars on being in 10 movies and much more subtle, and maybe long-term, much more memorable way by being part of the story, which is the whole point of brand integration.

Stacy Jones (25:58):
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. The one-hit wonders, it’s just not creating that frequency that people need. The one-hit wonders are good if you’re creating big legs around it, big promotional campaigns. You’re putting tons of money, driving awareness. But it’s not a longevity play. It’s not using product placement for the power that it actually offers you to play. So, going back to your report, because that’s why we had you on.
Because I can sidebar and go off topics with you all day long with product placement. What were some of the results that you saw? And I know there were shifts with 2019 versus the previous years. What were those shifts? And why do you think some of those shifts happened?

Dominic Artzrouni (26:37):
So, obviously, the big thing is to start at the big number. And so, the top 100 movies in 2019, there was $658 million in product placement advertising value. So, all the brands, all the movies. But that was down from 748 in 2018. So, it’s not minus 50%, but it’s not insignificant. But the interesting thing, because in our report, we have all of the… some data companies just give you a number and leave it. But from day one, with our evaluations, we show our clients all the metrics.
For example, we’ll be like, number of movies, screen time, quality of exposure, audience. Those are the main ones. And we did that at the yearly level. And the interesting thing we found was that there was actually more screen time for brands in 2019, a lot more. But the reason the value had gone down was because the movies that had the product placement weren’t doing as well at the box office. We have this weighted average of the box office.
So, weighted by the amount of product placement, and that was down about 11%. And just to illustrate it is the fact that in 2018, nine of the top 10 movies had significant product placement. I think there was The Incredibles, which we still count as having a bunch of animated cars and stuff. But nine were just normal movies with lots of product placement. But then, in 2019, we had Aladdin, Frozen, Lion King, Star Wars, which have no brands.
Five of the top 10 movies had zero brands in them, and the top 10 make up about 30% of all the value given. So, decrease because of that. So, a lot of the times, I get asked again by maybe from outside the industry what are the trends. And what they really want me to say is product placement has gone crazy. It’s an exponential curve. But the fact is, it varies hugely year-on-year based on the movies. I think it was in 2015 or 2016 when we were just doing 50 movies.
So, half as many as we’re doing now. There was $1.2 billion in value out of just 50 movies. And it was because you had Jurassic World, Fast & Furious, Captain America: Civil War, like three movies that are making over a billion that are filled with brands, and it just explodes. So, there’s been a reduction, but it’s not because product placement isn’t happening anymore. If anything, we have more brand screen time. But it’s just that the movies just didn’t fall into place for the brands this year.

Stacy Jones (28:55):
And that falls back to what we were just talking about a moment ago. And so, this is not a bad thing for brands who are doing product placement. When the movie box office goes down, it doesn’t mean that the movies are being watched by less people. It just means the movies are being watched in a different way by people. They’re still just as popular. We’re hearing a lot of, “Oh, movies, they’re plummeting. They’re going down. What are they going to do?”
The coronavirus has given us a really good insight into the fact that a studio can actually release on demand and still get a lot of eyeballs from there. So, when people are not getting to movie theaters, they’re not saying, “Oh, I don’t want to see Guardians of the Galaxy.” What they’re saying is, “I’m going to wait until it’s streaming. I’m fine with watching it from the comfort of my own home.” And those brands are still front and center.

Dominic Artzrouni (29:41):
Yeah. Exactly on that, and tying what I’m saying earlier, our model now to estimate how much people are watching things afterwards, I pulled together some numbers ahead of this. And the big movies like Avengers, we estimate that about 80%… so, I think about 300 million people saw it in the cinema. And about 80% of that now, 80% more have watched it now on demand. Obviously, with Disney+ and everything.
And Hobbs & Shaw, Spider-Man, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are all between 100% and 200%. So, either about the same number or double are watching it. But it’s the movies that didn’t do quite as well. They’re seeing 300%, 400%, 500% more people who are watching it later than watch The Art of Racing in the Rain, Black and Blue, or Angel Has Fallen, they’re all between 300% and 500% of the number of people who are watching it now compared to the number of people that watch in theater.
So, for brands, the brands that were in those movies, maybe they were a bit disappointed at the theatrical release. But now, they’re doing great. And someone like Angel Has Fallen, we looked that it was really interesting. We looked at the curve of our estimate, and you have the cinema. Then, it flattens. Then, it comes out on VOD. And then, it flattens again. And then, it started going up again. “Oh, I wonder what happened there?”
And I checked. Literally, that day was the day it came out on Netflix. And obviously, that just gives… and Netflix can give a movie a whole new life. Not just because of the availability, but something being put in your face on the front page of Netflix. I mean, we’ve all done it. We’re like, “Well, I was never in a million years going to watch that movie, but I’ll watch it now.”

Stacy Jones (31:10):
Yeah. There are algorithms for figuring out what movies are serving up to you. I mean, it really does impact and change your viewing habits. So, what are some of those brands that have gotten some of the most exposure? So, what are the leaders in those different categories?

Dominic Artzrouni (31:29):
So, we say we’ve got the top 100 brands. And obviously, it’s all sorts. But broadly speaking, you’ve got the big brands, the established brands that are in there year after year. And then, you’ve got a bunch of… a lot of them probably are one-hit wonders or every couple of year wonders. Only about 40 of the 2019 top 100 were in last year’s, and about 19 of those are the brands I mentioned before, which have been in it every single year.
So, the types of brands that are in it every single year since we’ve been doing this in 2014 are Apple, AT&T, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dell, Dodge, Ford, Jeep, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, Nissan, Ray-Ban, Samsung, Sony and Toyota. So, all household names. I mean, some of them appear through placement. Some of them appear organically in a lot of car brands. But those are the types that appear every single year.

Stacy Jones (32:27):
Well, every single one of those brands has a very proactive product placement program. That’s why we see them year-end. It’s not by accident. It’s not that filmmakers are going out and being like, “What’s my favorite brand? What’s the car that’s in my driveway? I’m just going to put that in the film.” These are all still negotiated deals that happen even if dollars aren’t being traded. We’ve talked about this before.
One, it’s helping offset costs. So, on trade of good. Two, it’s saving massive production value because there might be something that’s a trade out or a gifting, or you have vehicles that need to be destroyed. Or you’re an airline and you’re going to give flights for crew members, or you’re a water company, and you’re giving water to cast and crew. Or you’re doing those trade deals or three, the cash factor, where you’re paying for it.
And the fourth one is copromotions, where you as a brand, are coming in, and you are helping promote that film, utilizing your media, your retail, and bringing more eyes and awareness to it. So, all of those brands that you’ve just mentioned, Dominic, all do those things in one way or another, actively.

Dominic Artzrouni (33:32):
Yeah, it doesn’t surprise me. And they’re obviously very good at it. And then, smaller brands where I think we mentioned this before, a lot of them… so, a lot of brands that are on top 100 list, literally, the only reason is because they were in Avengers: Endgame. And Avengers: Endgame, even though… so, we can compare how much if one person were watching a movie, how much brand visibility that one person sees from that measure.
The Avengers: Endgame didn’t have that much product placement in it because a lot of it happens in space and stuff. But obviously, when 300 million people see it with $2.8 billion with global box office, that creates a hell of a lot of value. So, the glasses that Tony Stark wears, which are DITA, which isn’t an… that’s not exactly an unknown brand. They’re huge in hip-hop and stuff. And they’ve actually been in a bunch of Avengers movies.
They were actually one of the biggest product placements of the year, because in Spider-Man: Far From Home, they’re actually an integral part of the story. Because obviously, they get handed to him and stuff. But just for being for a few minutes in Avengers: Endgame, they were in the top 10 brands. Then, there was Google phones, Ford, Audi. But then, Innis & Gunn, which was this beer company that I’ve never heard of, which Thor drinks, and it’s like Omega Mini or to a screen time where the logo is visible, and it’s in a very funny scene.
So, very memorable. But there’s just some tiny brewery that I’d never heard of. So, I always wonder, how does a brand like that end up in the biggest movie of all time?

Stacy Jones (34:59):
Yeah. So, when you’re only seeing a brand show up like once, a lot of times, it’s because it’s a favorite of someone in the production. And they have this heart and soul, they love this brand. It’s something demic to them. And they’ll bring it in. They’ll introduce it. And I’m pretty sure that’s probably what happened in this case because there would have been a lot of different brands wanting to vie for that opportunity.
There was another series, and of course, I’m blanking on it right now. But it was a television series, and it took place in a city where there was a local brewery. And it turned into this massive placement. Because while they were there, they got exposed to the brewery. They liked it so much, they just decided to move forward and build it in. So, those things do happen naturally. And through none, like super big planning powers of being, they’re just more rare.
And especially, more rare in a big film like what you’re talking about. So, there’s some favored brand here that someone showed and shared their appreciation of.

Dominic Artzrouni (36:05):
It’s nice, though. It adds much more of a human element. Obviously, I’m biased now because I’ve seen Avengers a bunch of time with that. And I love Budweiser, but I’m just imagining, if I saw that now replaced with Budweiser, in my mind, it just wouldn’t have the same appeal. Same in another example, the beer company was in Knives Out. There’s that scene with Chris Evans with and the main actress at a bar.
And it’s literally the camera is looking at him, actually quite similar angle as I’m at now, and just a bunch of beer bottles, and the logo is visible. And it’s this Cisco Brewers, which is not a great name for a brand. Because obviously, when you put in Cisco, you’re not usually going to get beer results. But again, a tiny brewery, which actually, I think in the meantime… or has now been bought up by one of the big conglomerates.
But I’d never heard of them again, but probably same thing. They were probably the local where they were filming it.

Stacy Jones (36:55):
Yeah. But there are local breweries who do product placement, who are active. Usually, they get involved because they have a friend who’s in the production industry. And they’re like, “Oh, I have a friend, and he’s a prop master. And I just sent him over some cases here and there.” And that’s a great way if you have those ins to be able to get on screen. And that’s where some magic can happen.

Dominic Artzrouni (37:19):
I worked with… I think they were marketing agency who was trying and starting out in the product placement. They said they’ve put a bunch of their brands into Silicon Valley. And so, they gave me a list. And we had a look. And some made the cut, but a lot didn’t. And it made me think that. And obviously, you’ll be able to tell me more about this. But surely, these shows, especially someone like Big Bang Theory, they must just have loads and loads of product being sent to them all the time. How do they filter to that through?

Stacy Jones (37:45):
Yeah. So, the prop master, Jared, on Silicon Valley, he had his brands that he was… had his favorite brands. And it would go through in his team as well. And then, they would also have the product placement agencies saying, “Hey, I have this. Hey, I have this.” And talking about where there might be actually opportunities. Usually, you don’t just open your doors as a prop master and say, “Just send it, and I’ll take it.”
Because you have to store all of this crap. I mean, it’s loads up, and some of it is crap. It’s not good brands. So, you want to have a vetting process to it as well. When you go on to a set, when you go in, there is a cage or a very small office that these individuals, the prop masters, work out of. They don’t have like, “Here’s my giant warehouse that I’m just going to go ahead and spend five grand a month on just to keep things stored.” They don’t want to keep things on set.
They’ll decide what to have on. They don’t want giant quantities of it necessarily. They want to be able to replenish if they need it. But they want to be able to actually get the products they need for the scene and then go from there. You can do drop-offs at productions as an agency. We can only be like, “Hey, here’s a lot of the stuff.” We don’t like doing that. Because if they don’t have a need for it, it’s just going to get shoved off into a corner and never used.
When we’re looking at different opportunities, we’re having conversations with Jared or other individuals and saying, “Okay, we have this client. Where are the opportunities? Is there a fridge? Could you get us in this scene cooking? Now, this setting of what you have and set?” And so, that’s where that happens. Silicon Valley was very brand-friendly. They wanted to share and have brands that reflected the different personality quirks of everyone.
So, that’s why you also saw so much of that in a product placement. And you also had, there were all early adopters and tech savvy. So, you saw a lot of apps, and you saw games. And you saw a lot of beverages because those are endemic to that lifestyle of being a gamer, a programmer, all of that. So, those are the types of brands you really got to see lots of.

Dominic Artzrouni (39:56):
We recorded every brand in the last season of Silicon Valley, and we got over 300. And sometimes, we literally spend minutes on we’d have to screen. We freeze every single shot and be like, “Okay, what’s that bicycle helmet? What’s that bowl? What’s that?”

Stacy Jones (40:09):
Yeah, they were busy. I mean, he and his team had a massive, massive, massive need on their hand for making things look real. Because all those brands did bring in a real element to the storylines. And I’m sure you watched… you mentioned Billions earlier when we were talking. And they have placement but not nearly as much placement, because Showtime has a different viewpoint a little bit. They do charge.
They allow people to pay money to actually secure those placements, Billions on HBO. They don’t for Silicon Valley. All that is relationship-based. So, even if you come in with dollars, you were not able to say, “Hey, I have this. I want to have it featured.” You actually need to build up your story of, why should this brand be featured? What’s cool about it? Who does it relate to? Is it authentic? Versus, you still have to do that with Showtime and Billions. But there are dollars that can accompany to help make that come to fruition.

Dominic Artzrouni (41:10):
Billions is an interesting one because I didn’t know that they did take money, because I only realized after a couple of seasons. But if you put aside the story, Billions is just one long infomercial about the life of luxury people. There was a recent episode where one of the characters was in one of those tiny pools that blows the current towards you. So, you can do your laps. And they say at one point, “Oh, it’s the most efficient way to get your laps and stuff.”
And I realized that in every episode, or in the first one of this season, Axe and Wags were on BMW motorcycles, like touring. And I’m, “Oh yeah.” Every time you see something, it’s saying, “This is the brand that the rich and famous use, the billionaires use.” I’m sure they’re still very selective about what they use because they don’t want to take a brand that doesn’t fit that persona.

Stacy Jones (41:57):
Yeah. So, we could keep on talking, I know, Dominic, for days and days, and days, and days. But I have a feeling our listeners are going to want us to stop at one point. So, for now, is there any last insight or oversight, or additional details you’d want to share with us in regards to what you found?

Dominic Artzrouni (42:22):
Yeah. I’ve got a couple of quick ones that I can go quickly. You mentioned right at the beginning in terms of, obviously, we always talk about brand sightings. We also record brand mentions. And the most mentioned, in terms of the number one with the most movies, was Instagram. It was mentioned, I think it was 11 movies, a total of 15 times. And then, the top 10 for mentioned. So, Instagram, Google, Twitter, Apple, Harvard and MIT, Facebook, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, and Tinder.
So, I was thinking that’s a fun little group in the brands. And the type of movies is much more friendly for mentions is comedies like there’ll be 40 or 50 brands. A lot of times, it’s in the punch lines. A new analysis we did this year, which we thought was pretty cool, was about the actors that created the most value for brands. And number one was Robert Downey Jr. All of our findings this year were driven by Avengers: Endgame.
So, obviously, he was in that. Number two, probably less surprising, was The Rock, who was in three movies. He had Jumanji, Hobbs & Shaw, and the much smaller, Fighting with My Family. And then, in the number three, the actor who generated the most value for brands, was Brie Larson in Captain Marvel. Because obviously, she had, for example, a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt. She drives the Harley-Davidson, a Chevrolet. She uses the Game Boy at one point.
So, lots of brands there. Unfortunately, she was the only woman in the top 10 brands, because as we talked about last time, women are not just… because they’re underrepresented at Hollywood. They’re underrepresented with brands. I think it’s only 27% of all brand screen time is with women versus 77% with men. But brands that are very popular with women in movies were Hermes, not surprising.
But Porsche is very highly associated in what women want. The Porsche is driven by the main actress there. And then, Margot Robbie in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. And then, just coming back to Avengers: Endgame, I don’t know if I just mentioned, it generated $76 million for about… now, I forget the number. Before, a bunch of brands that were in there, and that was number one this year. But it’s not even close to being the number one of all time.
It is the seventh biggest movie of all time when it comes to product placement. The others, which you could probably guess, is two Transformer movies, the Kingsman movie, Jurassic World. And then, the top two most grand field movies of all time are Fast & Furious 8 and Fast & Furious 7. Fast & Furious 7 was worth, just so going back to everything we said, this is just the theatrical. So, God knows what it is that we can probably figure it out quite easily in the post theatrical.
But it was $175 million just from a theatrical run for brands. So, 100 million more than Avengers: Endgame. So, lots of value for brands.

Stacy Jones (45:14):
And in mainly very, very, very big pop culture-driven feature films, obviously.

Dominic Artzrouni (45:21):

Stacy Jones (45:21):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, Dominic, love to having you here today. Really, really appreciate it. We’ll have you on again because this is one of my favorite things to do, is talk all things with product placement, and I love talking to people who get it and share that passion as well. So, thank you.

Dominic Artzrouni (45:36):
Same here, always fun to share.

Stacy Jones (45:39):
So, how can people learn more about Concave?

Dominic Artzrouni (45:42):
So, go to www.concavebt.com, and you can see we’ve got a brand-new website. You can see all of our articles, videos. Our social media is all linked there. Our article is there, as more detail. But also, we’ve got a really vibrant YouTube channel which we put out stuff every month. Which there, it’s just top 10 showing you the brand. So, that’s just Concave Brand Tracking on YouTube. And then, if you’re a brand, you want to work with us.
So, you want to see a sample of our data, we’re always happy to talk to you. You can just contact us at infoatconcavebt.com.

Stacy Jones (46:13):
Easy enough. And all of that, as always, will be in our show notes so that people can refer to that and find that. So, for all of those of who have not considered product placement, I’m hoping that you’re inspired to deep dive and consider it right now. Because the opportunities for your brand are not just for this year or for next year. It is something that can last a lifetime. So, thank you, Dominic. I really appreciate your time.

Dominic Artzrouni (46:34):
My pleasure.

Stacy Jones (46:36):
And to all of our listeners, thank you for tuning into Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them) today. I look forward to chatting with you on our next podcast.

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Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them Reviews 

Must-Listen For Every Brand Marketer (And Owner)

This should be required listening for everyone who owns a business, works in marketing, or is interested in the business of entertainment. Great stuff!

The Best Marketing Podcast Ever!

Stacy is a brilliant branding strategist and she really knows how to bring out the best in her guests! This show is fun AND educational! If you’re looking to understand the world of marketing, branding, digital marketing, influencer marketing and more, look no further. This show has awesome insight into some of the greatest marketing minds out there today, and they provide practical advice you can use in your business today. #FanForLife

Awesome podcast for all marketers!

Keep them coming

Practical and pointed advice.

Stacy does a really great job making this a highly actionable podcast for business owners. With a focus on marketing, she covers a wide range of related topics as well and is always very specific with her questions so that the listener gets pointed advice instead of vague concepts to take away. It’s also really helpful to the hear the why behind any marketing tactic so that we can decide if something sounds like a good fit for where we are at in this moment.

Love this marketing podcast!

Lori has a way of finding new insights to share every week. I loved being a guest, but I enjoy hearing her many fascinating conversations with other marketers even more. Great show!

I love Stacey Jones!

I absolutely loved being on this podcast! Stacey is amazing – real, down to earth, and genuinely curious and interested in learning – this makes for a very engaging conversation and valuable podcast!

Thank you for your podcast! I LOVE IT

I just listened to the episode named Insights To Product Placement Brand Marketers Need To Know, and I really enjoyed every minute of it! There are so many ways to approach product placement in a manner that provides wins for many – and it is not always driven by money. I am looking forward to listening to more!

Stuff we need to know!!

Anyone who is in business should be listening to this podcast! Incredible insights and advice.

Such a wealth of knowledge! 🧠

This is one of the most insightful podcasts that I have ever come across! Stacy does such a great job of sharing her wisdom and I love how she leads meaningful conversations with guests who bring so much experience to the table. Highly recommend checking this show out – you won’t be disappointed!

Awesome Podcast!!!

Stacy, host of the Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them) Podcast, highlights all marketing and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!
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