There is a common misconception that any product placement of brands in TV and feature film is paid for – with a lot of dollars. And the media strongly supports this opinion. While this holds true for what is known as Brand Integration, where money is exchanged to guarantee a specific story line centered on the brand, it is not true for over 90% of what ends up on the small and big screen alike.
Film studios and TV networks do restrict certain categories of brands, seeking either monetary involvement in the form of a media buy and integration, or a promotional partner that will leverage their media to co-brand the production – bringing new viewership and higher box office sales.
Yet there remains an enormous opportunity for brands to harness the power of product placement separate from those dollars and promotional efforts.
The real truth with Product Placement is that those folks behind the scenes – the people brands want to form alliances with – the Prop Master, Set Decorator, Wardrobe Stylist, Transportation Coordinator… they LOVE brands, and (gratis) participation with the production by providing no-cost product is a major benefit to them. And they are eager to work with brands to incorporate them into productions.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
- The first is that just like brand marketing departments, productions have budgets – and when they can save dollars and come in under budget, they look great to their bosses. This holds true for small items or electronics (that add up!) that would otherwise need to be purchased, to bartered trade out of consumable product, or even the cost savings of truly significant budget line items. This provides production complimentary product that again saves on their production costs on a larger scale. Obviously not all brands lend themselves to this – but a beverage or snack brand company might provide a couple of pallets of product for the crew to consume during production, a mobile phone might provide service for key production executives or the entire crew, an automotive partner might provide production loan vehicles for production to use to transport key executives and talent, and many other types of companies might provide a cast and crew gift for the wrap of production.
- Secondly, every brand exposure on screen requires legal clearance, and having a brand willingly provide product, versus buying the product and then still having a production point hunt down the brand for official sign off, provides them this clearance and valuable time.
How can a brand ensure the production is aware the brand is on board and ready and willing to help out without calling random strangers in Hollywood? The most efficient way is to partner with a product placement or entertainment marketing agency who will create and drive a strategic program targeting the productions that fit the brand’s desired targeted demographic, while at the same time ensuring the brand is safeguarded from any negative usage on screen. The agency’s fee is not only for their time and resources, but also relationships and industry knowledge, which should provide the brand with a phenomenal ROI that most brands will not be able to secure alone.
Did you know the majority of agencies, brands and consumers think positively of product placement and brand integration?
Check out this infographic to learn more: