The Future Of Product Placement And Brand Integration


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Streaming Services Are Shaping Modern Advertising

Will the TV commercial as we know it be extinct in a matter of years or maybe even months? Streaming platforms have seen tremendous growth over the past few years, and this trend certainly won’t stop soon. These subscription-based services allow viewers to watch programming uninterrupted for a fee, leaving many companies out of luck for traditional commercial break exposure. Luckily, brands can still be a part of the viewing experience through product placement and brand integration.

While these concepts aren’t new to the entertainment marketing world, the methods in which product placement and integration take place have certainly changed. The rise of high-tech data collection, content personalization, and artificial intelligence are reshaping the possibilities for brands to advertise within programming. In this blog, Hollywood Branded explores the rise of streaming platforms and what companies can do to better advertise their products or services with the help of high-tech innovations in product placement and brand integration.

The Future of Product Placement and Brand Integration

The Streaming Revolution

It’s no surprise that streaming platforms have taken over the top spot for watching TV programs and movies. While platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube TV were popular before 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic created a surge in growth for these streaming titans. Did you know that Netflix’s market value of outstanding stock increased by $100 billion in just the first two quarters of 2020? That’s a higher value than huge media corporations like Disney, Comcast, and AT&T. Now, a whole host of new streaming platforms such as NBC’s Peacock and Paramount+ are available either for a fee or for free.

So why wouldn’t everyone just get a free account for these streaming sites? Here’s where the streaming revolution heavily impacts what we know as the traditional commercial advertisement. Since many platforms offer a monthly or yearly paid subscription for unlimited access to their content, users are actively paying for no ads and no interruptions. This can significantly limit exposure for companies who in the past have made millions or even billions of impressions through television commercials. For this reason, brands should really think about product placement and brand integration as a guaranteed way to get eyes on their products.

Various streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, CBS, ESPN, NC, ABC, and FXNow

Why Product Placement Really Works

Product placement and brand integration are not new marketing concepts and many of the most memorable examples in society’s collective memory are from blockbuster hits from the 1980s. Who could forget E.T. eating Reese’s Pieces in the classic Steven Spielberg film E.T. the Extra Terrestrial or Marty McFly’s Nike Bruin sneakers in Back to the Future? These are perfect examples of brand integration and product placement bringing in big bucks for companies. For example, Hershey’s Reese’s Pieces profit jumped 65% two weeks after the E.T. premiere! Product placement has moved past just feature film integrations and into just about every TV show or video entertainment out there. Here at HB, one of our team’s core specialties is successful TV product placement for brands like BlackBerry, JBL, and Popchips.

Product placement has certainly come a long way since the mid-1980s when E.T. and Marty McFly were brand new characters in film, but one ultimate truth remains in 2021: product placement really works for companies looking to advertise by authentically integrating their brands into a story. This advertising method is different from your average commercial break because it must blend into the story in a way that doesn’t distract from what is actually going on but rather complement the action on screen. These organic and realistic shots must be worked into the script in a way that doesn’t leave viewers feeling scammed.

With thousands of placement opportunities in hundreds of shows and movies being released both in theaters, on TV, or across streaming platforms, some may think that a brand can just fit right into a program and make successful, profit-inducing impressions, right? Wrong. Ultimately, advertisers need to look for the right moments for their brand that match the company’s image. If a particular feature opportunity doesn't fit the brand’s vibe, then product placement probably won’t prove to be as successful as it could have been. Keeping these tips in mind, brands will be ready to take on product placement opportunities on the streaming platforms discussed before.

Watch the Video

Getting Personal With Ads

The advancement of technology in other industries is working its way into the world of entertainment marketing and advertising. Virtually everything connected to the internet is collecting data nowadays, producing a huge body of data that tracks individual users’ every move on the web. Now, you may be like a majority of people who are worried about their online privacy and the ease of access to personal information on the internet—and that’s okay. However, it’s no secret that data collection is occurring every moment you spend online.

However, marketers and brands aren’t necessarily looking to use this information in a malicious way. Think about data such as your search history, online shopping habits, and frequently visited social media pages being collected instead to make your in-program product placement and advertising experience personalized directly to you. That’s not just classifying you by your demographic information like age, gender, or interest groups; these ads would be completely personalized to what you are interested in seeing and buying based on your internet data. It seems crazy to think truly personalized ads would be possible! But advancements in technology now are demonstrating that the future of product placement will be driven by data-based systems.

The most probable way advertisers and the entertainment industry will be able to make this ad experience happen is through artificial intelligence. AI engineered product placement will be the next big step brands must take to ensure that their ads are making impressions on the right viewers. So what exactly will this look like? Prepare to have your mind blown. Using collected data, AI can take any shot in a movie, TV show, or music video and integrate a targeted ad directly on your screen. For example, a car driving past a billboard or a woman holding a magazine cover can be digitally transformed using your data into an advertisement for a brand the AI believes you would like. This means that for, say, three different people watching the same exact scene in the same exact show, three different advertisements might be created. This in-content advertising experience will surely shape the ways brands approach product placement opportunities. With cutting-edge advertising technology like this, the traditional TV commercial break could become a thing of the past.

AI Product Placement Brand Integrations

Image Credit: The Drum / Mirriad

Want To Learn More?

As streaming platforms continue to grow and produce their own, original, product placement is becoming increasingly more valued as a form of advertisement. So, be sure to check out the following blogs to learn more about this type of marketing and how your brand can be successful in this space.

To get a more formal understanding of all things product placement, be sure to download our e-Book, "Product Placement & Co-Promotions 101 For Brands." Click below to check it out!

Product Placement & Co-Promotions 101 Guide