Oh, the art of product placement. When it’s done right, it’s one of the most subtle forms of advertising there is — content embedded so seamlessly into a production that you’d think someone ran over it with an iron.
It exists in many forms, harbors many risks and adds quite a few zeros to the end of a check. But when it comes to reaching audiences, it’s an all-or-nothing, highly influential technique that — again, when done right — will have consumers singing praises for your product and its placement in their favorite show or movie.
Overcoming the advertising stigma
It’s a well-known fact that the stigma around traditional advertising has grown over the years. Not only do audiences worry about businesses’ ability to access their personal information, but they also just simply don’t enjoy seeing advertisements on television, streaming services or social media.
“People just generally don’t like watching ads,” said Ian Zimmerman, professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. “The popularity of ad-blocking software speaks at just how much people don’t want to watch traditional ads.”
The general disdain for traditional advertising has led to product placement becoming part of the growing trend toward “native advertising,” which, according to Nancy Trent, president and CEO of Trent & Company, is currently one of the fastest-growing advertising strategies in the market.
“If utilized correctly, native advertising does not feel like an advertisement, and audiences are more likely to consume the content,” said Trent. “This allows brands to get their messages across to a broad audience without being avoided.”
Product placement is an excellent strategy for overcoming the public’s aversion toward advertising. Placements simply cannot be ignored, and they can have extremely positive effects for your brand. “Product placement has huge potential in reaching broad audiences,” noted Trent. “It then goes beyond being simply an advertisement — to consumers, these products become a part of their lifestyle.”
You’ve got to do it right
If it’s not subtle, your brand is going nowhere.
“When you see something in a scene, and it’s organic, it’s natural, it’s not a stretch for the character to be surrounding that — it adds a sense of realism,” said Stacy Jones, CEO of Hollywood Branded, an influencer marketing and product placement agency in Los Angeles.Perfecting the product placement practice is not easy — but it must be done. The audiences that consume your content don’t want to be hit over the head with your product — blatantly projected on-screen — in their favorite television show or movie. There’s an art to the practice, and the biggest impact for your brand arises when audiences see that art come to life in a real, organic way.