Last Week's Brands Tonight: Product Placement Success In Late-Night


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While the end of an era has come for many of our favorite late-night series, the consumer desire for late-night comedy is far from dead.  This hybrid form of news, satire, and opinion proves again and again to have a powerful impact on trending topics, including brand awareness. 

The following case example on HBO late-night host John Oliver shows the impact on brand awareness even when a product is featured in a joke.


The Case Example: Bud Light Lime


Product Placement Success John Oliver

Earlier this month, upon the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, John Oliver responded as he comically made FIFA's affiliated brands relevant.  The star of the segment was Budweiser, specifically the Bud Light Lime beer. Oliver followed up on a prior statement to the brand that he would chug the lime light beer on live television as soon as the FIFA scandal was resolved. 

The impact was huge for the product. In the first week of June, Bud Light Lime saw its total digital consumption rise sixty times over, with 83% of that said to be directly correlated to Oliver's segment. Even though Oliver publicly and jokingly denounced his opinion of the drink's actual taste, the abrupt climb in searches and mentions reflects a sudden consumer curiosity and interest in the product, which contributes to its market value.



Other Impacted Brands


Two other major FIFA sponsors, McDonald's and Adidas, also reveled in Oliver's mocking response to the news.  While the live on-air chugging was the feature of the segment, Oliver also made similar promises to order everything on the McDonald's dollar menu and sport a pair of flashy gold winged Adidas sneakers.  Though these two brands didn't share the same exponential climb in all metrics as Bud Light Lime, they did show a high direct correlation with the John Oliver sketch in their subsequent digital activity.


Why It's A Good Platform

-Perceived Honesty

When a comedian host is making a joke or running an opinion-style segment, the content reads as genuine and relatable. The tone is candid and entertaining, and reads as conversational.  The content isn't always directly promotional, and it still puts the brand name in viewers' minds without reading too much like a paid ad. 

-Topic Is Current
As this late-night content is based on the news, any mention of a brand will either be directly related to a current event about the brand, or somehow tied in to a larger news story (such as the FIFA example).  Therefore, it makes logical sense for the comic segment and the overall topic to garner plenty of followup on social and digital media.
-Viewership Market
The audience for late-night variety shows is high on the target demographic of age 18-49, varies widely in psychographics, appreciates good wit, and stays up to date on relevant topics.  This pool is a natural jackpot for brands to capture the right attention.
-Positive Celebrity Affiliation
Late-night hosts are seen as hilarious, personable, smart, and not too "fake" like some other celebrities.  A juxtaposition between a brand and a widely beloved famous personality can provide high viewer recall and positive associations for the brand, both immediately and over time.

Next Steps To Product Placement Success

Late-night variety shows are just one of many great platforms and opportunities to give your brand a starring role through a brand integration or placement.  You can find other examples of product placement success on our blog.

Are you interested in integrating product placement into your entertainment marketing mix, but simply don’t know where to start?  There is so much more to product placement than you may think,  and it is important to be educated about the key tactics to best fit your brand.  Download our Product Placement 101 Infographic today to start learning more!

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Source: AdAge