A Plethora of Product Placement
Did you know that Rock Hudson’s character in the 1964 movie Man’s Favorite Sport worked at Abercrombie & Fitch? Did you even know that A&F has been around since 1964?! Well, I didn’t and was surprised to research that it was founded in 1892. But I digress.
I’m talking about product placement. Or “brand integration”. Or blatant advertisments for products that show up during my favorite tv show that in no way seems to be just happenstance. I wonder if A&F’s sales were boosted because of Rock’s employment? Does any product placement actually boost the brand’s sales or is it just a way for the entertainment industry to pay expenses? I cannot speak for all, but I did have a hankering for the peanut buttery, chocolatey goodness that is Reese’s Pieces after watching E.T. Another oldie is Back to the Future 2. Pepsi, Nike & the DeLorean all had call outs throughout the entire movie. What about Castaway? I mean, Wilson was a main character without really being a character! I hear there is a game that Bond enthusiasts play while viewing any James Bond movie where they try to count as many product placement ads as possible; Aston Martin, Rolex, Omega & Coke Zero to name a few.
Music lyrics and videos aren’t immune either. Lady Gaga receives calls from Beyonce on her Virgin Mobile LG Rumor2 in the “Telephone” video. Run DMC didn’t just wear all things Adidas, they weren’t about to trade their Adidas “for no beat up Bally’s” in their song “My Adidas”. And I will never be able to stretch during the 7th inning and not wonder if Jack Norworth got paid to give a shout out to Cracker Jacks when he penned “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in 1908.
And still more in prime time television! Who hasn’t watched “American Idol” and seen the judges with their ginormous red cups emblazened with the Coke logo? Jack Bauer of “24” fame drives a Ford Expedition. Who could forget KITT, the sleek Pontiac Trans Am partner to Michael Knight? Even the “good ol’ boy” Duke cousins of Hazzard County, GA drove a custom 1969 Dodge Charger.
Alas, there are lots of examples of artists, movies or t.v. shows that feature product placement but receive no compensation. There was a recent episode of “Modern Family” that was based solely around the search for an Apple iPad. Producers and Apple alike state that no money exchanged hands for the use of the Apple brand. And I’m almost positive Janis Joplin didn’t get a car when she co-wrote and sang “Mercedes Benz”. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Are featured brands getting more business by product placement or are they just sponsors for your favorite movies, t.v. shows, musical artists and video games? Is it brand integration or celebrity endorsement? Would you ever NOT purchase a brand because of its product placement in the entertainment industry? Does it help the overall brand marketing? What other examples have you seen and heard?
Excuse me. I have a call coming in on my Sprint HTC EVO.
Contributed by: Jennifer Rodden