Guest Article By: Regan Bartlett-Green
We’ve all had those moments where we’ve been sitting on the couch watching a movie and are struck by cringe-worthy product placement. The obvious, irritating kind where you’re being consistently bombarded with different brands coming at you from all different directions.
Traditionally, product placement has been seen as an annoying aspect of film and television for the consumer. However, its effectiveness can’t be denied. The power of association has become incredibly influential over time. For example, you can’t think of James Bond without also thinking of brands like BMW and Aston Martin. The same goes with Top Gun, the image of Tom Cruise wearing Ray Ban aviators is a prime example of influence.
That said, iconic movies such as Back To The Future where you’re flooded with images of brands like Pepsi, Nike and DeLorean may have been effective back in the day. However, in 2017 an overwhelming and seemingly thoughtless amount of product placement is too obvious for today’s consumer.
This is where the idea of product integration comes in. Viewers today are too aware of products and brands in movies and TV shows. Integrating products in a way that seems natural, organic and almost subliminal is a way to place your brand in the mind of the consumer without seeming like you’re trying too hard. Integrating products into the storyline or placing them sparingly and thoughtfully will inspire brand recall without the negative connotations having to do with product placement. For example, Sex and The City is one of the most notorious shows for product placement. Yet in the Sex and The City movie, it felt branded while maintaining a classy and thoughtful feel. A prominent brand was Manolo Blahnik, which was most integrated into the plot. The viewer likely wouldn’t think about the fact that Manolo Blahnik paid to be a key part of the story, but instead is enjoying the tale being told by style icon Carrie Bradshaw.
Product integration is more important today than ever. With more people getting rid of cable and using streaming services, traditional broadcast space is losing its relevance. Brands are looking for new ways to make sure they’re reaching their target. Following viewer habits and trends will be key for brands in deciding the strategies they use going forward.
Ultimately, the years to come will be extremely exciting to see how advertising strategies are altered to fit into a changing media landscape. Our industry is ever evolving and the textbook idea of product placement is becoming ineffective. Integrating brands and products into the plot resonates better with consumers because it reflects their everyday life. Brands are everywhere so it only makes sense that they play a part in our favourite characters’ lives as well.
Even though many of us can’t afford those royal blue Manolos, Carrie’s style placed the brand top of mind and made us feel like we needed them. Now if you’ll excuse me, my credit card is burning a hole in my pocket.
Regan Bartlett-Green is currently in the home stretch of the Advertising and Marketing Communications program at Humber College. She looks forward to starting her internship and making a name for herself in the advertising world. In her spare time, Regan enjoys watching and creating beauty videos on YouTube. She also loves drinking excessive amounts of coffee and occasionally you’ll even find her making some at her part-time job. Connect with Regan on Twitter and LinkedIn