Behind The Scenes Of Creating A Branded Product Placement Partnership


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The 1, 2, 3s Of Making A Partnership

What brand doesn’t want to see their logo on the big screen or TV, see their product being used by a leading actor or hear their brand name spoken during a scene?  If you can name a brand who doesn’t, then our hats are off to you, as we don’t know of many.  But the bigger question is, which brands are willing to pay for these types of exposures?  And to commit to building a long term strategic program.

Regardless if a brand is paying the salary for their own team point to build relationships or working with a product placement agency, there is an additional product commitment and a time commitment required.  And often, unless that contact point is really good, there is also going to be the potential of having a fee to pay.  In this blog, Hollywood Branded shows you the STEP BY STEP process of one of our most recent brand success stories – that was obtained with no fee – and how it was built upon to become a robust marketing partnership.    


Strong Relationships.  Cool Product.  And Leveraging Favors.

The short answer to how a brand can get great exposure for free, is to find a really good entertainment marketing agency with great relationships – and the know-how to ask for and build strategic add-ons.  This is the story of how such a client brand partnership came together from start to finish. 

Some movies just aren’t meant ever to be summer blockbuster action flicks.  And while this particular movie won’t hit huge box office numbers, it shares the space of some great tongue in cheek comedy legends.  Like Sharknado, Napolean Dynamite, Blades of Glory – ( I’ll take ridiculous movies with laugh-out-loud-ianity for $1000 Alex), this li’l indie film called Ghost Team, starring Jon Heder, David Krumholtz, Justin Long and more, made waves at its NY Film Premiere last Tuesday and brought our client FLIR to life on the big screen!


The steps to make it happen…

Step 1: The Call

Circa sometime 2015 our agency gets a call from production inquiring about one of our clients (FLIR).  The production wanted to use thermal imaging cameras in a spoof film about ghosts.  Fast forward past all of the “Oh…hmm.  A ghost movie?” rhetoric, and we begin our negotiations.

Step 2: The Negotiations

Crafting a Product Placement program is not about simply being a storage warehouse for whenever a production might need something.  Instead, it’s about negotiations and leverage.  And figuring out what you have to do both with.  Is it money?  Is it product?  Is it helping the production raise awareness about the film? 

Each production is different.  What an independent film will do for a brand is extremely different than what a studio driven blockbuster project will do.  They aren’t even in the same league.  And at the end of the day it really comes down to how much the brand is helping out the production.  While still being a creative fit. 

For this particular project, negotiations of product usage began with, “What can – and will - production do in exchange for the brand if we lend a $30k camera for a seven-month loan?  After a lot of back and forth of, “This is what the brand wants”, to, “This is what the production can guarantee”, we landed on:

  • Brand verbal mention
  • Brand product exposure
  • Brand logo exposure
  • Minimum of 30 seconds of exposure between said three
  • Social media call outs from Ghost Team production
  • Copy of the DVD upon release

Step 3: The Product Loan (And Return)

This was the simple part; ship the camera to the filming location.  With all of its parts of course.  And insured against loss.  And seven months later, we got it back.  Now, that’s a little long in the world of films that typically shoot for three or four months – but realistic for TV product placement loans which shoot for up to ten months of the year.

Step 4: The - Wait, Wait, Wait…

Crickets.  Just listen to those crickets.  We know the production used the camera.  But how would final edit look?

Step 5:  Did We Say Wait?

More chirping.

Step 6: The Trailer

Now we’re getting somewhere! This was the step where we got a sneak peek at the trailer. Results? Jump for joy!  A FLIR COMMERCIAL!




Step 7: The Social Media Component

Once the film announced its theatrical release date the social media frenzy began, and based on our original negotiations with production, FLIR was primed for Ghost Team Movie hashtags and call-outs!  FLIR was also approved to post on its own social media pages to help promote the film and the exposure within, making this a win-win partnership.



Step 8: The Premiere Sponsorship

Bringing yet another layer to the product sponsorship, based on the phenomenal exposure, we negotiated an additional component: sponsorship of the exclusive New York Ghost Team premiere and after party at the Metrograph Theatre.  

Now, premiere party sponsorships CAN be negotiated without having a brand in the film.  It happens all the time.  But when the brand plays a major role, it makes that sponsorship all the better.

For a very nominal fee, FLIR was set to receive:

  • Prominent logo exposure on the step-and-repeat photo backdrop, press and photography privileges on the red carpet. 



  • A fun thermal imaging photo-booth activation on site at the premiere cast and crew after party.




  • A contest to win a FlirOne from FLIR was also activated and attendees had the opportunity to post a snapshot of their thermal picture from the photo-booth, or alternatively go to the GTM Facebook page,  find their pic and post using the hashtag #GTMFLIR to enter to win. 



  • An extended social media contest to show your movie ticket on Twitter and hashtag it to win a FLIROne.


Step 9:  The Cast Gets In On The Action

Even the cast of the film got in on the action with social media posts...


Step 10:  The Follow Up Report

And the fun wasn’t over after that night.  The next day red carpet event photos began to appear in press.  Our team then put together a press wrap report of the event, as well as a case study recap for the client to have as an internal marketing tool.

And That’s A Wrap

So there it is - the step by step basics of a successful product placement and sponsorship activation. Not only did this garner awesome exposure for our client, it was equally beneficial to the production with the brand helping to promote the film. And pay a little to help offset premiere party costs.  Plus, #ourjobsdontsuck, and it was a fun getaway in NYC for the HB staff!

Ready For Your Role On The Big Screen?

Have you ever wondered how a comprehensive product placement program works?  Or do you want to know how to create a promotional partnership strategy with a movie partner?  This video will answer all of your questions as it shows the steps and processes taken by Hollywood Branded that lead to your brand increasing both consumer engagement and sales!

How Product Placement Works Video