The hottest TV show in Hollywood has an opportunity to feature a brand – with a major character! Before jumping up and down with Glee (yes, even that show too), the brand manager needs to do a little detective work. Know the scene the brand will be featured in and ask for the entire script – or at least the script pages featuring the brand. Key information to find out: Will the brand usage reflect in a positive manner?
The thought of having a product placement in TV and film is rightfully exciting, but if you do not pay attention to how your brand is planned on being portrayed in the particular scene, it could potentially have a negative impact on your marketing campaign.
The context in which your brand appears is important. Even if the TV show is a huge hit, or the talent involved is top tier, you must pay careful attention to not just the overall storyline, but the specific scene of the product placement.
Not doing so can be detrimental to your brand in many ways. It can show your product being used beyond its actual, real-life applications, such as a cell phone as a bomb detonator. Or, it can make your brand the butt of the joke, for example, a health food brand being referred to as bland or tasting like cardboard. If a medical syringe is provided without specified use, it could be used by a character who is shooting heroin.
The potential for disaster really depends on the product, but not having absolute control of how your brand is utilized is a risk no brand should be willing to take.
In a popular cable TV show recently, a fast food restaurant received a negative physical – and heave producing – reaction from one of the stars when introduced in the scene. In no justifiable context did this improve their sales that week. But marketers should not run in fear – there are entertainment marketing opportunities out there that will make sales spike!
How do you put a plan in place to avoid this?
- The first step is to determine what sort of opportunities would be a good fit for the brand. While doing so, marketers should make sure to stay open-minded to situations that may appear seemingly negative on the surface – but aren’t after examination. There’s a chance the brand could be involved in the “Aha!” moment that humanizes the bad guy. Or the brand could be associated with a Lex Luther type of character, who is notably the villain, but still exudes luxury and power, and will provide an associated brand a lift.
- Once you have an idea of the nature of the production, you can then determine what types of scenes you would like to go for – and stay away from. But again, limiting this list too drastically could take you out of potentially major opportunities. If you choose to stay away from anything that has sexual overtones entirely, you could be missing out on the phenomenal reach that “Fifty Shades of Grey” could bring.
It is not always an easy task to sift through these types of opportunities and truly get a gauge of what works and what won’t. And even just getting your hands on a script or getting scene details is a challenge all on its own.
This is where a seasoned entertainment industry expert with developed relationships can come to your aid and help you get that info on that top secret scene and protect your brand from being utilized improperly.