EP 102: Product Placement With Gary Moore Of Dell

In this episode, Stacy sits down with Gary Moore of Dell to discuss how they solidified the Dell brand within the TV and Film industries

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Gary Moore:                 00:00  

  • Those big winds come from when your product is seen with significant talent on the screen in an appropriate way, and consumers react to that, and they see your other marketing messages out there, and all of that comes together to encourage that customer to then go buy your product, which is at the end of the day kind of what we’re all after I guess.

Stacy Jones:                  00:21 

  • Welcome to marketing mistakes and how to avoid them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.

Stacy Jones:                  00:26    

  • I’m so happy to be here. I want to give a very warm welcome to Gary Moore today, who is joining us from Austin on behalf of Dell, to speak about their product placement program. Gary has nearly 30 years of experience in the entertainment, high tech, medical and aviation industries, and I’ve known Gary from his involvement with ERMA, The Entertainment Resources Marketing Association, an industry product placement organization where he has been quite instrumental in running it, in the last four years as the vice president.

Stacy Jones:                  00:53  

  • Gary is a little different from the majority of our product placement agency clients in that, he doesn’t just oversee Dell’s product placement program with the assistance of an outside agency doing the heavy lifting, he actually runs the program in house at Dell, handing global product placement and branded entertainment, and has been incredibly instrumental in obtaining each and every single product placement exposure the brand has received.

Stacy Jones:                  01:15    

  • I’ve always enjoyed speaking with Gary about the state of the product placement industry, and gaining so much insight from his point of view from the brand side, that I wanted to make sure that you had that same opportunity to learn today.

Stacy Jones:                  01:26      

  • I wanted Gary to join our marketing mistakes and how to avoid them a podcast, to specifically to talk about how Dell has created such a powerhouse of a product placement program, and glean some additional information on what his advice is for companies who are interested in leveraging this fantastic marketing practice for their own brands. There’s a lot involved in crafting such a program, way more than just sending out products like computers and keeping your fingers crossed, hoping they’re going to show up on screen. And there are a lot of mistakes you can make, that Gary’s experience and advice can help protect you from.

Stacy Jones:                  01:56       

  • Today we’re going to talk about the magic sauce that Dell has managed to capture, through their product placement marketing successes over the last decades. We’ll learn what has worked, what maybe could have been avoided if you’re doing this yourself, and where other brands are missing their mark in this lovely world of entertainment marketing we all live in.

Stacy Jones:                  02:14   

  • Gary welcome.

Gary Moore:                 02:15    

  • Thanks, Stacy. I really appreciate that. I will work hard to live up to that introduction that you made.

Stacy Jones:                  02:22  

  • Of course. Well, we’re so happy to have you here today, working with us, the brands and the agencies that are listening in. You’ve been working in and then overseeing the product placement program at Dell for the last 10 years. Can you tell us a little bit about your background, how long you’ve been at Dell, and how you transitioned over and became so involved with the product placement world?

Gary Moore:                 02:42  

  • Sure, absolutely. I’ve been doing the product placement at Dell for about 10 years. I’ve owned that team now for the last five or six, but I’ve been at Dell a little over 20 years, which now that I say that sounds kind of daunting.

Gary Moore:                 02:56   

  • The early part of my career was a variety of marketing roles at Dell, all centered around the products that we sell. I was a marketing manager for desktops, notebooks, and mostly on the consumer side of the business, a couple of the brands that have become extinct, and a couple of the new brands that are out there.

Gary Moore:                 03:15 

  • But it’s been a great 20 years at Dell. I’ve learned a lot about both the industry, and the product line that we sell. The last 10 years on the product placement team, all of that product knowledge has come in very handy in making sure we put the right things in the right places.

Stacy Jones:                  03:30      

  • Okay. What have been some of your biggest successes in the years since you began working with Dell for product placement initiatives?

Gary Moore:                 03:38   

  • You know, that’s a great question, biggest successes. We like to think everything we do is successful, or at least we try to position it that way, but there are a couple of things that have stood out over the last four or five years.

Gary Moore:                 03:49   

  • In 2016, Dell was named the most visible brand at the box office, by a company Concave Brand Tracking. They track all product placement at the movies, and in that year, Dell had better placement … I won’t say better, had more placement than any other brand. Not just in the computer industry, but across all categories, and we were extremely proud of that. But then I guess we have to point to maybe the Big Bang Theory.

Gary Moore:                 04:16   

  • The Big Bang Theory has been a great show for Dell since it’s very first episodes. Season One, Episode One, the lead character played by Jim Parsons was on a Dell computer and has been all the way up to the current Season 12. It’s been a great show for us. The show is incredibly popular. But one of the best things about it is, the employees at Dell love that show, they love our presence in that show, and it energizes the employee base, as well as we, help our customer.

Stacy Jones:                  04:46   

  • Your achieving product placement there, not just for your consumer base, you’re actually using product placement to motivate, inspire, and have just teams get actually excited in-house at Dell?

Gary Moore:                 04:59        

  • Absolutely. I mean, I think we have to be honest and say, we certainly didn’t start out with that goal. But one of the things that have happened over the last decade is, it’s become clear that the employees within Dell love the fact that they get to see our products when they turn on the television or go to the movies. I get emails all the time, from people within the company around the world, who want to tell me about the great placement they just saw, or they went to a movie and their family pointed out that their father or mother worked on that product. It’s been really great for the employee base as well.

Stacy Jones:                  05:35    

  • That’s great for you too. I mean, how many of us have jobs out there where you get such great feedback, that what you’re doing is actually exciting other people.

Gary Moore:                 05:44   

  • You know, it’s one of the best parts of my job. I frequently go around the company and present about our product placement program, and what we do. We show a sizzle reel of some of our best placements from the previous year. Everyone’s always extremely excited and loves to see that.

Stacy Jones:                  06:01  

  • That’s awesome. The fact that Concave identified you guys as having the most product placement out there, of anything, of anyone, of any type of category or brand, that just is a massive feather under your hat as well.

Gary Moore:                 06:18         

  • We were really proud of that, yeah. We were really proud of that achievement.

Stacy Jones:                  06:21  

  • That’s great. You mentioned Big Bang Theory, but what’s been your most fun project you’ve ever worked on so far?

Gary Moore:                 06:33 

  • I’ve been thinking about that all morning, and that’s a really hard question. One of the great things about what I get to do at Dell, is that every one of these projects is different. Right? I’m lucky that I get to work on some of the biggest movies that show up in the box office, and I get to start working on them really early, before they’re actually made into the public a little bit.

Gary Moore:                 06:54  

  • The Big Bang Theory has certainly been a huge one for us, but we’ve been involved in many of the Tier One films over the last four or five years, the Marvel Films, the Sony Films that have been big box office hits, and I think at the risk of sounding champy, just walking into the theater, watching a movie and seeing that Dell computer on the screen, and knowing that I helped make that happen, that’s just been really exciting and fun.

Stacy Jones:                  07:21  

  • With all of those deals, I mean you guys, you’re everywhere. You have so many different TV shows, so many different feature films. I think the outside world’s perspective it, “Wow, you pay a lot for all of that exposure.” I’m not saying that there’s not dollars that might be out there, or co-promotional partnerships, and things along those lines, but we’ve been talking a lot of your success has been through strictly loan trade out of computers. Is that right?

Gary Moore:                 07:51    

  • Yeah, a lot of people that I run into think that we must have a huge staff and spend boatloads of money, and neither is true. Almost everything we’ve done at Dell in product placement from the beginning has been a product that we’ve loaned to the production company.

Gary Moore:                 08:11       

  • It certainly started out as a challenge, when we didn’t have big budgets to pay placement fees, but we hung in there, and we’ve been really good about that the whole time of our program. One of the big successes that we’ve made is, we’ve built great relationships in this trade.

Gary Moore:                 08:28

  • We worked really hard to make sure we know the people. Prop master, set decorators and studio production resource people, and we’ve been working with them for years. They trust us, they know we have a great product line, they know we’re reliable, and it’s that reputation I think, that has helped make us successful as anything.

Stacy Jones:                  08:48

  • Yeah. We talk with a lot of brands about the fact that, they need to have a consistent footprint in Hollywood, in order to actually build their own reputation, in order to actually have people know who they are, so that the brand becomes top of mind.

Stacy Jones:                  09:05  

  • You have certainly made Dell top of mind. When there’s a production going in to start filming, they’re going to think, “Oh, we should have to reach out to Dell, to see if we can work with them.”

Gary Moore:                 09:15 

  • Well thank you. I appreciate that, and I think you’re right. I think there are two things about that.

Gary Moore:                 09:20    

  • One, we’ve worked hard to make sure that the industry knows about us, and knows that we’re reliable, and that we’re going to do what we say we do.

Gary Moore:                 09:28  

  • Also, we have an excellent product line, that is very applicable in this space. I certainly can’t take credit for that. We have a huge team of people at Dell, that are devoted to creating the best in class products. You couple that with our reputation of being easy to work with, and quick to the table, and it’s just been a winning combination.

Gary Moore:                 09:47    

  • It’s funny, you were talking about you telling people they need to have a good footprint. I was actually having dinner just the other night with some folks who represent a new client product placement. This particular client was telling them that they really only wanted to be in one or two films every year, and they wanted it to be the big films of the year.

Gary Moore:                 10:09 

  • The message to them and the lesson that they have to understand is, it doesn’t work that way. A. None of us can predict which film is going to be the big one in 2020, and go work on that. But you have to be available to everybody all the time, and you have to put your products out there, you have to let people know that when they need help you’re there to help them, and doing more is really the best way to make sure you are in that top one or two movies of the year.

Stacy Jones:                  10:40    

  • Yeah. And that I can not reiterate more. I’m so happy you just said that, because we preach that all the time. We have brands who come to us, and they’re interested in just one big feature film, one big TV show, and it’s going to cost them so much more money to go at that route, then to actually come up with an inventory, come up with a product line, make it available, become very proactive in Hollywood, allow people to get to know and learn about their brand. And now saying all that, it has to be also a brand that … Electronics are very TV and film-friendly.

Gary Moore:                 11:16    

  • Absolutely. Absolutely.

Stacy Jones:                  11:17  

  • Yeah. There’s a lot of things that might category wise, not be quite as a good fit, but there’s so much that is, so I wish more brands would follow in your footsteps in that.

Gary Moore:                 11:27

  • The other thing, in sort of generally being a good corporate citizen is, that master that you work with today on that small Independent film, in two years might be the product master on the next Marvel Iron Man movie. You never know.

Stacy Jones:                  11:44

  • You never know, and they are there forever. I mean, once they become part of the union. I mean what all of you all listening also don’t understand is, the product masters, the set decorators, the transportation, they’re all parts of unions, but these are not just unions. These are families, where their grandfathers, their fathers, their sons, their wives, their daughters, they’re all involved. It goes back generations.

Gary Moore:                 12:08 

  • Yeah. We have been working with product masters that are in the same family for the whole time Dell has been doing placement. Almost 20 years now, that a father hands down to a son, hands down to a daughter. You know?

Stacy Jones:                  12:19        

  • Yeah, agreed.

Stacy Jones:                  12:22   

  • You mentioned this a moment ago, you know that people might assume that you have a really big in-house team to support your program. I think people are going to be a little surprised when you say the numbers here.

Gary Moore:                 12:32

  • There are only two of us. It’s just me, and Debbie Adams, the woman that makes up the other half of the product placement team. We manage our entire product placement globally around Dell. Having said that, I think we also have to be fair and say that, we are lucky in that we do have the support of a very large global company and brand behind us. While it is certainly just the two of us working on the day to day placement activities, we have teams that help support that. We have teams that help us you know …

Gary Moore:                 13:00

  • We have teams that help support that. We have teams that help us ship and manage inventory. We have teams that help us get products if we need them. So there are certainly a lot of people at Dell that step up to the plate to help us, but at the end of the day, yeah, there are two of us on the team.

Stacy Jones:                  13:18    

  • Yes, and with those two, they’re still cords that need to be restocked in computers that are returned, yeah, turning on units.

Gary Moore:                 13:28    

  • Yeah. Yeah. Computers are always need something at the last minute. They need another power cord. They’ve lost the power cord that you sent them or they need a second one, so it helps to have a big industry behind you, the big company behind you that can pull the triggers on all those things, but you have to have a couple people on the front lines.

Stacy Jones:                  13:50  

  • Well, do you have a set inventory that you work with? You mentioned that you have this team that will send out. Do you pre a lot and have an idea on a yearly basis of how many projects do you want to work on, how many computers you need? How do you kind of maintain that entire process so it’s not Hollywood gone hog wild?

Gary Moore:                 14:12    

  • Yeah, that’s a good question, and it’s complicated. At Dell we’re a big company. I don’t. I don’t have a set inventory that I’m allotted each year. I’m lucky that I can sort of order what I need for whatever show or a film that we choose we want to work for. Dell has interesting processes behind the scenes that allow those products to be used other ways when they come back. So we loan that gear out to production companies. When they’re done with it, we ask for it back, and it flows back through the Dell world and is used in a variety of different ways that help sort of offset its original cost.

Stacy Jones:                  14:52  

  • Okay, do you end up having a lot of production contacts that actually asks you if you can let them keep the inventory?

Gary Moore:                 15:00 

  • I do. It’s a common request that we field. There are other people in the placement business that make that product available to the people on the set when they’re done. We’ve chosen not to do that for two primary reasons. One, we have this ability to reuse that gear in a variety of ways that help us offset the cost of using it to begin with. Secondly, the gear that we place on set is sent out without any warranty support. So if something happens to that product, they come to me, and then I engage teams at Dell to solve that problem.

Gary Moore:                 15:39     

  • If it were to transfer off to a person on the set after the film, a product isn’t supported, and we don’t think that would be a good customer experience. We don’t think it would ultimately make everybody happy, so we think it’s best that that gear comes back to us. We control it. We own it the entire time. We control it through the whole process, and we would rather help our friends out there in the industry get our product by other ways.

Stacy Jones:                  16:08  

  • We agree. Our standard practice for our clients is to send something out, receive it back, inventory it, and then it goes onto another production to keep that life going.

Gary Moore:                 16:20   

  • If the timing is correct, we do move product between production companies, to help that also. Our number one goal is to make sure that production companies have the right product for the right need when they want it, when they need it.

Stacy Jones:                  16:34 

  • Awesome. So with product placement, and there’s so many different things you can do. You can work with TV shows. You can work now with streaming video on demand, with Netflix and Hulu and Amazon. You can work with feature films. You can do music videos. There’s other branded content opportunities. What is it that you at Dell are doing? Are you doing everything? Are you focusing on a couple of these things?

Gary Moore:                 16:57 

  • Yeah, it’s a great question. I’m sure people have been able to say this throughout the years, but we are in the age of great content. It’s coming at us from all directions. It’s no longer just three networks and the movie studio, and so it’s a challenge for us to try and serve all of these different venues.

Gary Moore:                 17:17   

  • We try and participate in most of them. We do focus on scripted content. We tend to only place products in scripted film and scripted TV. Now that TV could be a lot of avenues. It’s no longer just the networks anymore. It’s those streaming services that you mentioned. It’s Netflix, Hulu, it’s Direct TV. Those services are providing great content and are attracting great talent and getting great exposure. So we try and go wherever that need is, but we do tend to focus on that scripted content, just because we want to make sure that our brand is presented in the best light and that we’re not associated with something that may affect that brand. So we try and keep a little control on it that way.

Stacy Jones:                  18:07

  • And with feature films, do you end up working, do you think with more blockbusters, studio films or more independents?

Gary Moore:                 18:16 

  • So raw numbers, we work in more independents. That’s not necessarily an objective. It’s just the way the industry shakes out, right? I mean, the top 100 films each year account for something like 95% of the global box office. We certainly do more films than just those ones that show up in that box office. We don’t really distinguish between, is this one can be a feature film or is this going to be an independent?

Gary Moore:                 18:51  

  • A, you don’t always know, right? There have been some small films that went onto be huge box office successes. Certainly, the expected box office is one of the criteria that we think about when we make a placement decision, but it’s not the only one. It’s not the only one. What we’re looking for is quality content that represents and supports the Dell brand.

Stacy Jones:                  19:12   

  • Okay, and when you’re getting in a film, do you have to read every script, or do you and Debbie do that? Do you look for synopses?

Gary Moore:                 19:23   

  • Yeah, we sort of draw the line in the sand that says, “If you want us to lend you equipment for this film, you need to lend us that script.” The only reason we do that is we want to make sure that it’s a good fit for the Dell brand. We’ve turned down more films than we say yes to because we want to make sure that it is a good fit.

Gary Moore:                 19:45 

  • Now having said that it hasn’t been 100% absolute. There are certainly large scale, tier one films that are very protective of that script and don’t want that script out. There have been occasions where I’ve gone to Hollywood specifically for the task of reading a particular script if we thought it was going to be a really big one. So for the most part, we do get to that, all the scripts ahead of time. There are certainly exceptions, where we can’t get our hands on it, and in that case, we rely on the relationships we have with those people that are working on those, and we say, “Look, you know the kind of things we want to avoid. You know the kind of things we are attracted to. What you need to tell me, is this going to be a good fit for us?” And we trust them.

Stacy Jones:                  20:27

  • And that’s what we love about Hollywood. I mean all of the people that we’re working with and all the people you’re working with, when you said earlier, “That’s relationships,” that’s really what it is.

Gary Moore:                 20:38  

  • Absolutely. I know a lot of industries can say this, but the Hollywood entertainment industry, as big as it is, is a terribly close-knit family. Everybody knows everybody.

Stacy Jones:                  20:51 

  • Yeah, and everyone wants to make sure that they stay in your good graces.

Gary Moore:                 20:54   

  • They do. They do.

Stacy Jones:                  20:56

  • There’s no point in burning something and then just for the next 20 years, never being able to work with that brand again.

Gary Moore:                 21:02

  • Well, that goes back to what you were saying a minute ago, about brands that come to you and only want to be in one or two projects. That’s a recipe for, not necessarily a recipe for disaster, but it’s not a recipe for success, because you have to build those relationships. Dell started doing product placement in the year 2000, and one film was done that year, and every year we’ve grown and gotten bigger and done many more projects. It is purely because we’ve built great relationships in the industry over the years.

Stacy Jones:                  21:40  

  • So what have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to deal with?

Gary Moore:                 21:48  

  • You know, they’re really on two sides of the fence. One is, while there is a benefit to having a big global company behind you, sometimes having a big global company behind you can also be a challenge. We have internal processes that we have to deal with. There’s always competition for resources and dollars to do that. So sometimes that’s a challenge, but I have to say overall, Dell has been incredibly great to us and really completely supports the product placement business.

Gary Moore:                 22:18

  • I guess if I had to narrow it down to one single challenge, it would be the sheer amount of great content that’s out there. I would love to be able to do everything that I’m offered because there are such great shows and you never know which ones are going to really bubble to the top and be fantastic, but you have to pick and choose. So I think one of our biggest challenges is working really hard to make sure that we pick content that’s going to, it’s going to work well for us.

Stacy Jones:                  22:45  

  • And then I would also assume a challenge is actually reviewing all of that content and getting your eyeballs on to make sure that you actually see the computers, or do you really just wait more-so for a word of mouth, or how do you figure out what you got from everything?

Gary Moore:                 23:01

  • Yeah. That’s a really big one. Now that you point that out, that may ultimately be our biggest challenge. So it happens two different ways. The industry is split here between film and TV.

Gary Moore:                 23:14     

  • With film, it’s substantially easier. There are many companies out there. I mentioned one earlier, Concave Brand Tracking, who measure the brand presence in all these films, and because only about 100 films make up 95% of the box office, it’s a fairly small subset. So somebody, like one of these agencies can go out, they can look at all the brand presence in that film, and then we can buy that data set from them and see that exposure. So we can have a really clear picture of what kind of exposure we got in the films.

Gary Moore:                 23:51

  • For television, it’s completely different. There is no top 100 shows of the year or anything. So it’s a real challenge, and what we’ve had to do for television is pick specific shows that we think were representative of the work we did and have somebody go off and measure that exposure. So we pick a handful of shows every year that we think are representative. We go to Concave of the world and say, “Go watch these shows. Go measure our brand presence. Give us an idea of what that value number is.”

Stacy Jones:                 24:28      

  • Okay, and so with that measurable, are you looking at being able to report back that, okay, this had value, or do you intrinsically know that it has value, or is it just that working in a corporation, it’s always good to have metrics and numbers?

Gary Moore:                 24:46    

  • Yeah, in a company like Dell, we thrive on metrics and we run on metrics and we decide on data. You know, data supports every decision we make at Dell, especially data that comes from our customers. So we certainly want some data, but as you know, it’s tough to get accurate data in this business that we’re in, but what we can do is we can look at the amount of exposure. It’s very easy for me to say, “I got this many minutes of exposure in that top 50 films of the year, the top 100 films of the year.” I can compare that to how much exposure my competitors may have gotten. So that’s one number that we can look.

Gary Moore:                 25:26    

  • Then we can do some things that are a little squishier. We can kind of map that product placement exposure to standard ad-by metrics. What we can say is, “If you look at the exposure we got at Dell in product placement, we would have had to go off and spend X number of millions of dollars to get that equivalent exposure.” So it’s not exact. It’s not precise, but it is something that we can look at, and we can get some sort of directional tracking over the years, from year to year, but it’s tough to get an exact number. Then on the …

Gary Moore:                 26:01      

  • … But, it’s tough to get an exact number. Then on the other side is, we know we get some benefit from just customers seeing that brand, right? So, we’ve had some anecdotal evidence over the years where we’ve had customers reach out to us at Dell, because they saw a particular product in a particular movie, and ask where can I get that product, or how can I get that product? So, we know it affects customers. We know that it affects customers positively, we know increases their intent to think about Dell is a potential customer. We know that it increases sales.

Gary Moore:                 26:36   

  • It’s nearly impossible to make a direct connection to a particular film or TV show, and a particular sale on the back end, which is another reason that it’s a mistake to only pick one or two projects a year. This is really a brand exercise, right? What we’re really doing is reinforcing and enforcing the Dell brand, and making sure that people see that Dell brand, and seen in a positive light, and seen in an inappropriate way. And, we know that that ultimately trigger sales. It’s very difficult to tie to a specific one.

Stacy Jones:                  27:13 

  • No, that’s great. So, you’re saying you can confidently say, “I can absolutely support this.” But, you are saying, “Millions of dollars of advertising value to the problems that you create on a yearly basis.”

Gary Moore:                 27:28   

  • Without question, I would say that millions of dollars will be on the low end. It’s a big number.

Stacy Jones:                  27:38 

  • Agreed, okay. So, how do you decide, which is the right film? If you want to actually grow it, if you want to build legs over it, around it where you want to co-brand, and advertise, and bring it into retail, and digital, and prints or whatever it might be.

Gary Moore:                 28:03   

  • Yeah, that’s a good question also. At Dell, we’re lucky again here because we’re a very large global company. So, when it comes to choosing that avenue, we have a lot of other people at Dell get involved. So, it doesn’t fall on me to say, “Hey, here’s a good film where we had good product placement in, how do we leverage that around other opportunities?” So, most of those, we don’t do that very often at Dell. When we do make those decisions it happens predominantly in our consumer business, and they go off and look at a project, and they’re looking at, does it support the consumer brand? Does it align with one of their significant initiatives? Like, back to school or holiday, and do they believe that they can marry that traditional marketing campaign with a particular film project?

Gary Moore:                 28:56 

  • We’ve been really successful with that once or twice over the last years. This last summer it was Ant-Man, and the last summer before I was Spider-Man Homecoming. Both of those, we were fortunate, and they featured some newly released Dell product that we’re going to hit the streets the same time that film did. That’s a nice marriage when you can make that happen, all that, that’s very complicated on the back end. And so, when it comes time to look for those deeper, more integrated marketing campaigns there a lot of other resources that can involve that Dell [inaudible 00:29:31] make that decision.

Stacy Jones:                  29:32 

  • Okay. And, if you take a step back away from Dell, what brands do you see? I mean, you’ve been part of, Irma, so you’re certainly rubbing elbows with a lot of other product placement agencies and brands directly. What brands do you think are doing it right with product placement? Just from what you’ve seen on TV, or film, or heard in the industry, who do you think has figured out this magic sauce for themselves?

Gary Moore:                 30:01 

  • That’s interesting. It’s a challenge to narrow that down to one or two brands because there are many brands out there that are doing a great job in a unique way for them. One that pops to mind is Michter’s, an alcohol company that bakes at Darren, Tennessee. They don’t do near the amount of product placement as somebody like Adele does, but they’ve really been successful at finding really quality niche programs, and opportunities that align very specifically with their brand, and their goals. So, they’re doing that really well, and it’s working really well for them.

Gary Moore:                 30:44      

  • Another company that I think does really well is Under Armour. They’ve got a really great brand. It’s come on strong in the last years there. They’re everywhere. Their product placement with Under Armour is exceptional. They’re doing a great job. It’s a product that is easily placed with a lot of people. You see Dwayne Johnson wearing an Under Armour tee shirt in his most recent movie or whatever. So, I think they’re also doing a great job in aligning with what’s important to them as a brand, and what’s happening at the box office.

Gary Moore:                 31:20  

  • I think that that’s really the key, right? I don’t think that brands should go out into product placement with this idea that we’re just going to place everywhere. I think they should go look for projects that align with what’s important to them about their brand. And, I think you have to know that before you start, you have to know what’s important to you, and then there’s tons of great content out there that you can align with to go get reinforced that.

Stacy Jones:                  31:45 

  • That’s great. So, do you have any words of caution to a brand who’s considering product placement? Is there any bear traps that they need to be aware of, or just anything that could help them along the way?

Gary Moore:                 32:00   

  • There’s probably tons of advice I would give. I think number one, I would say don’t be afraid. This is something you can do, and you don’t have to be a large global company like Dell to be accessible at this. Regardless of the size, you’d be your brand. I think you should embrace product placement as a key part of your marketing strategy. So, just go do it. Don’t be afraid. Get out there, find an agency to work with, if you’re unsure the territory go find those people. But, the number one caution I would give is never over commit. Start small. Make sure you know what you want, and when you make a commitment to a production or a show, work with them closely. Make sure that it’s a big success and then you grow on that. So, don’t be afraid. Jump in, and make sure you do what you say you’re going to do.

Stacy Jones:                  32:55         

  • That’s great. Awesome. And then, jumping back a bit, but how has product placement evolved over the years for Dell? I know you mentioned that there’s a delusion of great content, which I know from our history there was not always a delusion that great content out there. Most people now are now content is coming to every direction that one looks, but how has this state of the product placement industry really evolved at Dell?

Gary Moore:                 33:26   

  • Yeah, that’s interesting. The most apparent is what you just said in sheer numbers, right? 20 years ago, 18 years ago, we did one project that our first year. This year we’re doing literally hundreds of projects. So, it has grown in scale more than anything else and that’s due to two things. One, the amount of content that’s out there today. When we started in this business, there were, there were the movie industry and three networks, and that was it. And so, there weren’t nearly as many opportunities. So, certainly, you can’t ignore scale in the changes that have happened in the last decade and product placements.

Gary Moore:                 34:15        

  • The second one is Dell’s commitment to this. We’ve hung in there, we’ve stayed true to what we thought product placement meant to Dell. We saw it as a piece of the marketing puzzle. We saw it as an important piece of the branding exercise and we’ve continued to devote resources to it year after year, after year. And, I think that’s critical. Maybe we could tie back to the question you asked me a minute ago. One of the other pieces of advice to the companies is, you should plan to go into this for the long term. This is not something that you should pitch to your organization as let’s go try this, this quarter or this year. Because it does take a long time to get established.

Gary Moore:                 35:02  

  • That’s the other thing that has been a big change for us is, in the 18 years that Dell has done product placement, there had been a very small number of people that had been involved with it. We’ve stayed true to it. We’ve hung in there. We’ve committed resources to the industry, both in terms of providing a straight traditional product placement, but we’ve also been true to the industry of trying to support them in the initiatives that are important to them. I serve on the board of Burma, we sponsor something like the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge. We work with film festivals around the country. We work with the Motion Picture and Television Fund to give back to the industry that has been so good to us. And, those opportunities have increased also over the years. So, the biggest change is we’ve just continued to work hard and commit resources, and be a good corporate citizen in the entertainment world.

Stacy Jones:                  36:00         

  • For me, it has certainly paid off well for Dell.

Gary Moore:                 36:03

  • Thank you.

Stacy Jones:                  36:05 

  • Wrapping a bit, are there any big wins for brands? Are there any ways that they can win big that you haven’t covered besides, keeping your foot in the game and being in there? And, is there any other advice you would want to give to a brand whose considering launching a product placement program?

Gary Moore:                 36:27 

  • The big one question is tough. I don’t … And, it’s because we want to be cautious about telling a new brand, “Hey, here’s your big win. If you go jump into product placement, you’re going to be seen in a tier one movie this year, or something.” Because it doesn’t, as you know, it doesn’t necessarily translate well or work that way. I think that a well thought out and well tended to product placement program can be a big win. I don’t think it stands as a win on its own.

Gary Moore:                 37:04     

  • It needs to be integrated into your company’s overall marketing strategy and marketing plan, because those big wins come from when your product is seen with significant talent on the screen, and in the appropriate way, and consumers react to that, and they see your other marketing messages out there. And, all that comes together to encourage that customer to then go buy your product, which is at the end of the day what we’re all after, I guess. But, it’s very difficult to point to a single big win target and go after that. I think you have to look at this as part of your overall marketing mix.

Stacy Jones:                  37:45   

  • Any other advice before we wrap up?

Gary Moore:                 37:47     

  • I would say, again, don’t be afraid. Jump in and go do it. Don’t hesitate to reach out to many of the great agencies like yourself that are out there helping brands explore this. They can help navigate that field, they can help introduce you to those people and begin to build those relationships. But, commit to it for the long time, enjoy it, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a fun job to do. You get to interact with a lot of great people, and you get to do a lot of fun things. Just go jump in.

Stacy Jones:                  38:16    

  • Thank you guys so much. I mean, your advice, your commentary spot on to everything that I’ve experienced certainly, and I really, really enjoyed having you on today.

Gary Moore:                 38:27   

  • Well, thanks for having me. It’s a lot of fun. I love talking about what I do. It’s a great industry to be a part of, and let’s talk again in the future.

Stacy Jones:                  38:34  

  • Sounds great. Happy to do so.

Gary Moore:                 38:36

  • Thank you, Stacy.

Stacy Jones:                  38:37

  • Thanks, Gary.

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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.

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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!

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