Is product placement a good marketing strategy or does it miss the mark? When it comes to film, product placement can be seamlessly integrated into a film, but it can also stick out and make fun of the very concept from which it is profiting. Product placement is used by established companies, paying to get their products into a film.
This type of product integration can influence consumers, but it can negatively affect the success of a product as well.
In terms of product placement in modern film, it is commonly seamlessly integrated, but is this because the product placement is done in a simple and effective way, or does it have something to do with the way current society is used to seeing products in everything.
Seeing a character using a specific type of computer or phone is so common nowadays that it has become stranger for audiences to see off-brand types of these items made for use in film and television. As a society, we have become used to seeing the common brands of items in films, we have more of a reaction when we don’t see them.
Product placement can still influence consumers of film and television, but it comes across in ways in which the audience thinks they aren’t influenced, but simply seeing something they like represented on television. Websites such as WornOnTV and ShopYourTV show how products are influencing current viewers of television into looking for fashions they see on their favorite television programs. Instead of the product placement for big ticket items affecting viewers, the brands of clothing is a bigger impact on current viewers. This is probably partially because this is something we think defines us rather than an expensive technological product we are told is the most effective, but film and television costume departments include specific clothing brands in shows and films with audiences who might react to those brands.
Because we are so used to what phones and computers are supposed to be the best, we do not notice these instances of product placement. When it comes to smaller items, like decorations or clothing, current audiences are more likely to see something they like and try to find where it is from, making these instances of product placement still successful.
Another instance of product placement which could succeed but can fail is when it is over-the-top in films. These instances of product placement usually come from films going against the concept of product placement. In Josie and the Pussycats, products from over 70 companies are included, but none of these companies paid for the promotion. The concept of the film is built around subliminal messages in music used to influence how teenagers spend their money. Even though the companies did not pay for the product placement, some viewers will think of this film in connection with some of those companies, most commonly Target, which has an extended segment in the film.
Sometimes product placement in film is used for comedic purposes, which might make these moments of product placement even more memorable. The scenes of product placement in Wayne’s World made fun of the change from subtle to obvious product placement through the 1980s. By having a scene where products are on display more than the content of the story is still remembered today, but the film does have other scenes surrounding specific products throughout the film. With a similar effect of influencing audiences, Wayne’s World did more for the music featured in the film. Having scenes focused around specific songs ended up with these songs returning to the charts and introducing another generation to the songs utilized in the film.
One successful example of product placement was in E.T. Multiple companies were asked to be used in the film, but Reese’s Pieces agreed, and will forever be connected to this film. The film also offered new success for the candy.
Product placement can be a hit or miss type of advertising. If it is subtle, it might go unnoticed. If it is too obvious, audiences will notice and make fun of it. Having product placement which is both subtle and noticeable is the path to success in this area of marketing. Like the television fashion sites show, consumers react to product placement when they think it is not being pushed at them but is something they seek out when they are interested in a product they see onscreen.