4 (More) Product Placement Case Study Sales Success Stories


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The Evolving World Of Marketing 

As the world of product placement continues to evolve, the value continues to grow. Product placement is a powerful form of advertising that can revive, rejuvenate, or kickstart brands. As we explore this world of marketing, we will look at four examples to showcase different ways to optimize product placement. 

Becoming an iconic moment in pop culture history will always be the most effective form of marketing. In this blog, Hollywood Branded shares 4 stories of product placement in TV and film that had a significant impact on brands.

4 (More) Product Placement Case Study Sales Success Stories

Marketing Is Evolving, Are You? 

As technology evolves, it seems the world moves faster. The younger generations have less and less patience for things they're not interested in. Really, who can blame them? They've grown up in a world with a skip button for anything they aren't interested in. This was apparent when Tivo came on the scene and changed how we watched TV. We no longer had to sit through advertisements, and people would record their favorite shows just to avoid interruptions. This not only made traditional advertisements less effective, but it became a nuisance to viewers. Once streaming was introduced, audiences became used to not seeing ads or having any interruptions to their entertainment. Because of these developments, audiences of all ages have become more combatant to traditional advertising. This leads us to the new, most effective form of advertising, product placement. If you can't advertise during commercial breaks, you'll have to find a way to advertise inside the show! 

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Sideways + Blackstone

Our first story comes from a comedy from 2004. Sideways is a film about two men on a trip through the California wine country. This movie exceeded its expectations and won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Throughout this movie, many wine brands have a chance to show off their logos. Many of these brands received more attention due to the exposure. None more than Blackstone, who saw a 150% sales increase in the months following the release of the film. In the movie, the characters show an appreciation for pinot noir over most wines. This subtle addition to the film saw booming sales of pinot noir in the US. Additionally, Paul Giamatti’s character in the film isn't a fan of Merlot. Just by having this character trait involved in such a popular film, there was a 2% drop in merlot sales in the US. This is an excellent example of pop culture's influence on our society. Even if it is a subconscious shift, movies, television, and pop culture shape how we interact with the outside world. 

Sideways Blackstone product placement wine Paul Giammati Thomas Haden Church

Photo Credit: Searchlight Pictures 

Lost In Translation + Suntory Whisky

The second story we will focus on is from the movie Lost in Translation. This 2003 movie features an 18-year-old Scarlett Johansson and a 52-year-old Bill Murray. Bill Murray's character, Bob Harris, has a strong relationship with alcohol throughout the film. He ends up in Tokyo to film a commercial for Suntory Whisky. This gives the whisky company a good amount of screen time, and a scene portraying Bob Harris doing a commercial for the brand allows it to be the scene's focal point without the audience realizing they are being sold a product. Part of the reason this scene works so well is that the focus of the scene is on the miscommunication between Bob Harris’s translator and the Japanese director. The advertisement is the set, so the product placement becomes seamless and natural in how it fits into the scene. Allowing the product placement to move the story is precisely what we strive to do at Hollywood Branded and the kind of product placement that we love to facilitate! Suntory Whisky was no stranger to celebrities interacting with their product. Sean Connery and Keanu Reeves are two examples of western stars appearing in Suntory advertisements around 2003. Even with this celebrity power, Suntory's marketing department said Lost in Translation gave the product much greater attention than it ever got in print or television ads. The general manager of the marketing department, Masaki Morimoto, said that “our company got famous internationally.” 

Suntory Whisky Lost In Translation Bill Murray Sofia Coppola Scarlett Johansson

Photo Credit: Focus Features

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Transformers + Camaro

The third story we will be looking at is from the 2007 film Transformers, starring Shai LaBeouf and Megan Fox. This story is a unique example of the power of product placement. General Motors got the opportunity to contribute a Chevrolet Camaro to the production. This wasn't any old Camaro. They gave the movie a concept car for the fifth generation Camaro that wasn't set to hit the market until two years later. This created buzz for when the car hit the market. While the fifth generation Camaro was considered one of the coolest cars to have when it finally did come out, transformers fans still weren't satisfied. Once the car appeared again in the 2009 sequel, there was not only a demand for the type of car used but replicas of the exact car from the film. This meant General Motors had created a demand for a product they didn't even produce because people thought it looked so cool on screen. So what did General Motors do? They started making and selling cars with the Autobot shield and transformer Logo on the vehicles' sides and the wheel caps. By the end of the year, over 60,000 units had sold. 

Chevrolet Camaro Transformers Bumblebee

Photo Credit: Motor Authority | Joel Feder 

Top Gun + US Navy

The fourth and final product placement story we will look at is in the classic movie Top Gun. I know what you're thinking, another tale of how Tom Cruise wore a pair of ray band sunglasses and made them the most famous pair of shades in the world. Wait, are we talking about Top Gun or Risky Business here? Neither! This is a less known story of the effect a pop culture phenome movie like Top Gun can have on the masses. In Top Gun, Tom Cruise is a US Navy pilot, and the film has stunning aerial scenes that make the audience watch in awe. The prominent product placement of this movie was the Aviator sunglasses Tom Cruise wears in the film that became a staple of the late 80s and early 90s. For some viewers, wearing the same sunglasses as Maverick wasn't close enough to be like their new hero. Young men influenced by the hotshot lifestyle of the film rushed to recruiting offices to become pilots for the US Navy. The interest in the Navy became so high that the US Navy had booths set up in lobbies of movie theatres to enlist moviegoers. After being invested in a character for 2 hours, part of us wants to be just like them. Especially when they are painted as heroes in their films, finding a way to harness that want to be like our favorite movie character is what makes product placement effective and valuable. 

Top Gun Air Force Military Tom Cruise Product Placement movie theater

Photo Credit: World At Large | Andy Corbley

Eager To Learn More?

Interested in how much product placement costs and how product placement companies work? Check out some of the blogs our team has written:

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