Product placement in film and television isn’t anything new. James Dean’s use of an ACE comb in the 1955 classic Rebel Without a Cause is one of the earliest cited examples, and the practice of advertising in movies or television shows by simply including a certain product in a scene has grown in popularity ever since. It’s not even uncommon to have product placement advertising as a parody of itself, like in this hilarious scene from the 1992 comedy Wayne’s World. But why is it so effective, and why is the practice growing so much?
When we’re watching a TV show or a movie, we’re emotionally involved in some way. And advertising has always been about an emotional appeal at it’s core. You can attribute intellectual properties or reasons to advertising in television shows or movies all you want, but that’s not how human nature works. Our subconscious selves are affected by advertising that is injected into something we’re already emotionally involved in far more than when presented by itself. We don’t turn the TV on to watch commercials.
Traditional television advertising starts with the expense of actually shooting and producing the commercial, which runs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The cost to have that commercial aired during a show can run in the tens of millions. Product placement, on the other hand, is generally a fraction of that cost and doesn’t require the added expense of producing a commercial. After all, if the character in the movie or show is going to drink something in a scene anyway, how hard is it for them to drink brand X instead of something else? There’s no effort required at all.
People don’t watch commercials as much anymore, particularly in this digital age when we stream content commercial-free and use DVRs to skip through commercials. Those that still watch content as it’s being broadcast are more likely to change channels during commercials or at least hit the mute button. So traditional commercials are largely ignored. But when a product is part of the program or film being viewed, it’s going to be seen every time. No one is going to fast-forward or mute a scene just because the actor is using a specific brand in it.
Numbers don’t lie. ACE combs saw a significant increase in sales all the way back in 1955 with Rebel Without a Cause. BMW had a 22% increase in sales when the Mini Cooper was used extensively in 2003’s The Italian Job. Ray Ban attributed 360,000 sales of Wayfarers to Tom Cruise’s wearing them in 1983’s Risky Business. All this has led to brands trying to get their products placed in television, movie and film production as much as possible. In 2011, 43% of US Box Office Number 1 films had Apple products in them.
Using product placement, we’re able to get your product in front of your intended audience by working with productions that are already targeting them. Whatever demographic you need to reach, there’s a film or show that is also designed to reach that same audience. The key is matching your product with the right production, and you automatically have a specific, captive audience that’s emotionally engaged in what they’e watching, with their favorite stars using your product right in front of them. No muting, no skipping. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you with product placement.