Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's Product Placement time...

Today in my Entertainment Marketing class I'm covering Product Placement - the use of brands in entertainment as a means of promotion.  The increase in DVR usage made product placement more popular, but it has been around since the turn of the last century in film.  This clip is from 1896 has Sunlight Soap taking center stage:

Brand Channel's website has a special section to track Brand Cameos in movies.  Obviously, not all of the brands listed are paid or bartered product placements, but it's interesting to see exactly how many products are used in a film.

If you want to follow news about product placement or to find out more, the Product Placement News website is a pretty cool place to gather more information.  Their articles are short and lack extensive details, but they do hit the highlights nicely.  You can also find a good but dated video about product placement in movies that I think explains product placement pretty well with lots of examples.

Movies aren't the only place that product placements happen.  TV shows, games, music lyrics, music videos, and books all are places where product placement can be utilized.  It was reported that Britney Spears earned $500,000 for product placements in her music video "Hold it Against Me" including a 6-figure payment from plentyoffish.com who claimed to have a 20% increase in traffic the day after the video premiered.

Nielsen annually measures product placement in TV- here are some results for 2011 (available here):

Top 10 Most Remembered Branded Integrations – Dramas/Sitcoms
Rank Brand Branded Integration Description Program (Network/Air Date) Recall Index
1 Purell Sheldon uses hand sanitizer after he puts a live snake in a desk drawer. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Oct 27) 271
2 Red Bull Tessa describes the official drink of suburbia; people drink it repeatedly. Suburgatory (ABC, Sep 28) 214
3 Milton Bradley Twister — Amy suggests that the group play the travel version of a game. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Nov 17) 208
4 Ferrari Beckett drives a car after Castle explains that it is a high performance vehicle. Castle (ABC, Feb 7) 207
5 Subway Big Mike says that his kidnapping hasn’t been that bad because his kidnappers brought sandwiches. Chuck (NBC, Mar 21) 206
6 Wizards of the Coast Games Dungeons & Dragons — Wolowitz comments on the way that Sheldon plays a board game. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Oct 6) 205
7 Rolex Laura comments on the price of a watch she purchased before she realizes it may have been stolen. Pan Am (ABC, Oct 30) 204
8 Snapple Waldon drinks a beverage while talking to Alan about his breakup. Two and a Half Men (CBS, Oct 17) 203
9 Hasbro Scrabble — Dick tells Susan that he’d rather play Scrabble than talk to her. Desperate Housewives (ABC, Jan 16) 200
10 Hasbro Monopoly — Penny wants to play a board game after getting home from a trip with Tom. Desperate Housewives (ABC, Oct 2) 199
Source: Nielsen
Data from January 1, 2011 – November 30, 2011. Broadcast Prime. The Recall Score is the percentage of television viewers who can recall within 24 hours the brand/product of a branded integration they were exposed to during the normal course of viewing Dramas/Sitcoms. These scores are then indexed against the mean score for all integrations occurring in this genre during the time period (Recall Index). 100 equals average.
Note: For this analysis, branded integrations were only considered if the occurrence had visual elements (i.e., was “seen” on-screen) or both visual and auditory elements (i.e., was both “seen” and “mentioned”). Only first-run episodes were considered. Both planned and incidental exposures were included.
Top 10 Primetime Programs with Product Placement Activity
Rank Program Network Total Number of Occurrences
1 American Idol FOX 577
2 The Biggest Loser NBC 533
3 The Celebrity Apprentice NBC 391
4 Dancing with the Stars ABC 390
5 The X Factor FOX 312
6 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ABC 224
7 America’s Got Talent NBC 220
8 Friday Night Lights NBC 201
9 America’s Next Top Model CW 178
10 The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business CBS 161
Source: Nielsen
Data from January 1 – November 30, 2011. Primetime entertainment programming on five Broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, and NBC). First-run episodes only. As a result of coding enhancements implemented in 2009, occurrence counts now reflect the total number of show segments in which a brand/product appears or is mentioned.

It's still shocking to see the number of occurrences of product placement in a show - 577 for American Idol!  Commercials during Idol are some of the most expensive in TV.  I can only imagine what their product placments cost.  It's also interesting to note that the most occurrences are in reality TV shows while the most remembered are in scripted entertainment.  That's good to see - especially for those of us who like scripted shows best!

This morning I was watching a video about Zynga's stock offering and came upon this clip about CityVille that mentions product and brand placement.

The blog Social Ally did a post about BestBuy and some other product placements in games.  It's an interesting read - Online games and product placement - a good match?

So, what do you think of product placement?  Does it drive you crazy?  Get in the way of being entertained?  Or are you happy to put up with it for the ability to skip commercials?  Regardless, it is probably here to stay.

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