Have you ever wondered why more and more real life products can be witnessed in movies and other media? The answer is a simple one, and it deals almost entirely with a marketing strategy known as “Product Placement”. Product placement dates back to 1949, although the best known examples can be seen in movies as early as “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”, with the addition of Reeses’ Pieces candy. Although we may not always notice product placement in media, it has the potential to make a powerful impact in nearly all sales and marketing related fields. In fact, the placement of Reeses’ candy in E.T. increased sales for the candy over 80% in the fiscal period that followed.
It may sometimes be difficult to understand product placement, but in fact, the idea behind it is very simple. A company will pay for a shot of it’s logo or product to be placed into some form of media, usually a movie or book, and then the product will be featured in a shot. This is done because such plugs generally create a major boost to advertising, and product sales following a placement in a popular movie or film can create a tremendous impact in sales.
However, this is not to say that all product placement is a matter of simple buying. In fact, recent years have seen a sort of barter arrangement prevail in popular media. Meaning that a company, instead of directly paying for it’s placement, will provide resources or products for the actors or producers of a movie. One may also have noticed a technique known as “advertisement placement” in some major movies. When a company decides to engage in advertisement placement, an ad of some sort, usually showing up on a billboard or television commercial, will be placed into the movie rather than a direct shot of the product itself. Either way, though, one can be assured that placing products or advertisements into movies is definitely a profitable endeavor. To verify this fact, one need only look at the financial numbers in recent years.
Although it can be very difficult to get individual pictures of product placement, overall, various independent firms can track the numbers. An overall track of numbers places the total revenue from product placement to be somewhere between seven and eight billion dollars. One does not need a degree in marketing to realize that these are powerful returns from what often seems to be minimal investments. In fact, many may be interested in learning that the cost to place a product into a movie, video game or book is often less than the total cost of buying television advertising over an extended period of time. What makes product placement even more attractive to companies is the incredibly broad range of exposure that can be achieved from what amounts to a single advertisement. For, when a product is placed into a movie or some other form of media, there are no competing forces for the audiences attention when that particular product is being shown. Rather, the product has the full and undivided attention of the consumer. Also, this takes the product out of being compared to similar or competing forces, as it is shown often completely by itself, thus negating competition that might arise in other forms of advertising. One need only think of a typical set of television commercial to realize that competing products are often advertised back to back, all over a period of thirty seconds, sometimes making television an incredibly inefficient way to market products.
While product placement may not be the first thing to come up on a companies mind, it should definitely be evaluated as important nonetheless. A single spot in a movie or some other form of media can mean millions in revenue for a business. It may seem to be somewhat of a long shot, but the benefits of product placement far outweigh the negatives, it can truly be one of the smartest decisions that a business makes. Never doubt the power that mass media can bring with it, and never doubt the impact that a few seconds in popular media can make for a business or company, it can literally mean the difference between success and failure.