Recent Product Placement Changes And Growth


Table Of Contents


A Great Article You Should Read (Other Than This One!)

I recently was interviewed by the Association of National Advertisers' writer David Ward, where he discusses the benefits of product placement in the article Product Placement Landing Stronger Marketing Punch. You can gain access through a free account on the ANA website - definitely check it out as it is not only very in-depth, but he also interviewed our clients FLIR and Coffee Beanery on their program's successes and why product placement matters to their companies.

One of the topics that I am going to dig into at a greater depth is how product placement has changed.  In this blog, Hollywood Branded provides insight into what some of the biggest changes in product placement have been in recent years, and why they matter, and how this marketing practice is growing.

Blog - Product Placement Recent Changes

Everyone Knows What Product Placement Is Now

When I first started working at an agency specializing in product placement, back in 1997, no one knew what product placement was.  My own mother tried to dissuade me from going on the interview as she thought I'd be working at a grocery store and turning product this way and that to position it better. I was pretty sure that wasn't what the position was hiring for - especially as I had answered an ad in the Hollywood Reporter.  My mom has great advice, but all these decades later, and after owning my own product placement agency, it's probably a good idea I didn't listen to my mom on that one!

One of the biggest changes that have taken place in product placement in recent years are actually the overall media conversations around this fantastic marketing practice – and the massive abundance of content being produced.  The conversations in media is seriously one of the biggest game changers for product placement in that more marketers than ever are talking about – and interested in pursuing - product placement and brand integrations than ever before. In fact, more media is covering all things brands are doing that are seen as non-traditional, including social influencer and celebrity endorsement partnerships because traditional media is truly struggling.

This isn’t a new marketing practice.  As I mentioned, I’ve been actively building product placement partnerships for clients for well over 20 years now, and there are hundreds of brands who have been leveraging the power of Hollywood through TV, Film and music video product placement and integrations that I have worked with through that time period.  Yet our agency is seeing a big uptick this year in inquiries from both corporations and agencies where this practice is a new consideration, and we receive inquiries on a daily basis from companies who are interested in learning how to leverage product placement as a tool to raise brand awareness and drive sales.

Why Everyone Is Talking About It

Obviously a big driver is the fact that ad skipping is a reality across all viewing platforms, but what is truly driving marketers to take notice is all of the content opportunities that their core target audiences are watching, that will just not allow them options to advertise in, namely Netflix and Amazon SVOD series. And it's not just B2C advertisers, it is B2B as well because after a long day at work, what's one of the first things you do?  You come home, change to get more comfortable, and settle in on a couch to relax by watching some of your favorite programming.  And business decision makers are no different.

product placement guide

Why So Many Brands Will Never Find True Success

For a brand – you have to be actively embracing product placement if you truly want to have the ‘magic’ that this marketing practice can bring you.  It is a numbers game.  Brands who just dip their toes in, and want to pay for one or two sure-fire (there is no such thing as sure-fire!) guarantees of wins are not approaching product placement the right way.

Sure, some brands will have wins by luck and buying their way in, but usually those are one hit wonders and not full-blown strategies that are built out that pay out for years – or decades – to come. 

Product placement is a relationship game where a brand needs to show Hollywood that they are committed to be a team player and HELPING the production solve a need.  That could be with money, but it is typically also with solutions – from product to technology insights or other resources. Not that the brand is there just to get a big shining moment paid for in a similar manner to an ad buy.  It just doesn’t work well that way, and its why many brands who pay a lot of money to be in a single film or TV show aren’t ultimately happy with their end-all result. 

Making It Work - A Comparison To A Super Bowl Ad

This is a marketing practice that requires multiple partnerships, that builds from one property partnership to the next.  Doing a single product placement is like saying you are going to do a big ad campaign and only actually do a single ad on a single network one time only.  Sure, that will work to a degree for a brand with the Super Bowl – but it’s the rinse and repeat that gets the viewer’s attention in the long haul.

A Reminder... Read That Article!

Haven't read the article I mentioned yet? Now's your chance to do so!

Who Gets The Paid The Big Bucks

You have to also know that the producer possibly may get the money a brand offers, but very often it is just the network or studio who are the ones getting the money – and that means the productions really could not care less about fee-based deals, so they turn them down as they are a pain to have to incorporate into their production.  They just care about creating the best content they can. 

The people who are actually in charge of bringing and building the story, the set, the props, the whole production to life – they don’t see a dime of it. And these are the people who can make unbelievable things happen for a brand.  They have budgets they have to keep within, and brands who loan their product to the production help offset costs, where the dollars can be spent in other places, making the content even better.

how your product placement program works

The Hidden Gems

On the flip side of that – productions who have lower budgets and are independent, who don’t have a distribution partner yet, are often SUPER hungry for fee based brand deals – because for them, every dollar counts. 

We typically do not encourage our clients to work with productions that are not fully financed however.  Too risky.  But if the production is an independent, it has at least one cast member who is well recognized, then totally worth it for a brand. Someone is going to pick it up, or it will be sold to Netflix/Amazon etc.  I like to tell productions that brand dollars should be the ‘icing on the cake’ not the cake (aka financing.)

More Product Placement Insights

This guide will help explain how Hollywood prices opportunities for product placement.

Here are some more articles you might find helpful that either I or our team have written on product placement. 

You can also check out my podcast series and our other daily blog posts on entertainment and influencers insight and tips. 

And read this e-book below if you want to understand how product placement works!

Product Placement & Co-Promotions 101 Guide