Product Placement In Book Is Also An Option


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Where Does Product Placement Occur?

Product placement is an extremely beneficial advertising tactic for brands. It can occur in any type of entertainment including television, film, music videos, video games, and yes even books.

In fact, including product names in books is becoming increasingly popular; there are numerous places an author can just slip in a brand name, creating authenticity to their characters. This slip takes our view of the character to a whole new level where we are picturing that character wearing or using the product. In this blog, Hollywood Branded dives into the world of product placement in books, and what the opportunities are for your brand.

Product placement is also an option in books

How Does It Work In Books?

Product placement in books is actually really helpful to readers because it adds a sense of realism to the novel. Think back to when your favorite character was being described and she had on her Lululemon workout apparel, her Chanel boots, Starbucks cup, or Smart Water. It allows the reader to put an image in their mind that seems more real and relatable.

Publishers have the flexibility to add or remove brand names depending on target audiences. Brand name mentions leave the reader wondering if they are being used to make stories more authentic or if they are strictly product placements. Because they seem so organic most of the time, it feels natural and like the brand just fits in.

fashion model

A Publisher's Point Of View

Getting a publisher’s point of view is one thing to take into consideration when thinking about placing your brand in a book and if it is the best option for you. Caroline Goldsmith, founder of Red Button Publishing, shared her opinion with “Brands and products aren’t a new concept for novels. They can give a story a sense of time, a sense of place and in some cases, a unique way of relating to the reader.

For example, using the term ‘Volvo driver’ to explain a character, has certain derogatory connotations to a modern audience, but are they ones that Volvo, as a company, would pay a writer to disseminate and promote? Probably not. There is a stark difference between using brands to illuminate a character or a moment in time and placing those brands [within the book] in order to promote and sell a product or a lifestyle.”

product placement guide

What You Need To Keep In Mind

Product placement is part of our everyday world, and is a marketing tactic used by many brands to help align their brand to the right character someone else's content - and to make an impact in a subtle way versus ripping you away into an over the top branding ad.

The first thing you want to keep in mind is how to interweave your brand. But you want to do it in a way that will enhance the content, and not turn off the reader.  Which means not clobbering someone over the head, and making it very organic.

The world we live in is filled with clever and not so clever advertisements that entice us to buy. However, in television, we can skip commercials or do something else when there is an ad or commercial. Books we can't... so aligning your brand to the story becomes even more important.

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Secondly, it is important to note that of course the larger the author/publisher the more expensive the placement. The bigger the brand, the more likely they can afford the the well known authors who have massive fan bases. These writers know their audience and will want brands that they can easily script in that play to their demographic. This is where the opportunity of brands coming to an author with their product and asking them to write a book centered around their brand. You will see more of that in the Bulgari and Fay Weldon example below.

Smaller brands can approach up and coming authors who are going to be more excited to have a brand interested in them. It could be the start of a great relationship for the brand and the author to explore and possibly continue up and coming opportunities.

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Examples Of Book Product Placement

According to, “the world-famous jewelry company, Bulgari, paid noted British author Fay Weldon to write a novel that would feature Bulgari products. Not only did Weldon agree to the deal, but she eventually took her work public. Undoubtedly, Weldon has set a precedent that other authors and publishers will follow.”

Also interestingly enough, one genre that has quite a bit of interest by brands in sponsorship of children's books. Some example titles include, Skittles Riddles Math and Twizzlers Percentages Book. And this is not just a sponsored deal; the brand is featured prominently throughout these books as well.

math-candy books product placement

Young adult fiction is one of the areas where brands have tested product placement in books. Examples include:

  • Cathy’s Book included Covergirl references in exchange for Procter & Gamble promoting the book on their site.
  • Meg Cabot scattered Clinique in How to Be Popular as part of a brand partnership.
  • Hilary Carlip’s main character is loyal to Sweet’N Low in Find Me, I’m Yours.

There are of course well-known and successful brand examples of brand integration within book.  These include brands mentioned in popular bestsellers such as Gossip Girl, A-List, and The Clique. Most of these books at least have one brand name per page. But that also does not mean that the books were proactively approached by brands to be included. Much like TV and film, many brands are included within content because it helps tell a better story.  And it allows the reader to visualize the character or setting.  In the books i mentioned, brands include mentions of Juicy Couture, Armani and Viagra, according to a study by Naomi Johnson, a lecturer at Longwood University.

the clique novels

Context Is Key

How the brand becomes part of the content is key, and the context is important. There are a variety of ways to insert a brand into a story that will lead the consumers to remember the product.

The idea is that you want to link your brand with the plot of a story, or a situation where the characters performs an action using a product. Whether the brand is a household name or not, if it is placed in the right context, the brand will be remembered. This helps reinforce brand awareness, and with the goal of impacting the buying process because people have a tendency to buy products that they are already familiar with.

Reading is an activity done individually, which creates a level of intimacy between the reader and the book. When a brand advertiser joins the relationship between a reader and the characters in the book, it needs to be done in such a way that it enhances the scene and story.  The character is able to be better visualized.  The brand is able to have its essence explained through the character. It is a compliment.

The main takeaway when it comes to placing products in books is that it is important to ensure that the brand doesn't distract from the story.

Want To Find Out More?

Looking to learn more about product placement? Check out some of our blogs that tell you everything you need to know about product placement in  the entertainment world:

Are you interested in learning more about how entertainment marketing can benefit your brand? Check out this informative video! 

Watch the video to learn what is Product Placement