Product placement. Can’t escape it!

Coca-Cola on American Idol

Coca-Cola on American Idol

As promised on my last blog entry, this post is going to be all about product placement in movies and TV. Anyone who has seen a movie or watched TV recently has been exposed to product placement. Unfortunately for consumers, it’s a new way for companies to drill their brand into the minds of the viewers. This Web site has some great examples of memorable product placements in movies.

One product placement that sticks out in my mind (thanks to the Web site) is Fed-Ex in Cast Away. Even though the plot isn’t focused on Fed-Ex, it is still a big part of the story. People remember from the movie that Tom Hanks works for Fed-Ex. Details such as these don’t seem like a big deal at first glance, but looking back at this movie now, it’s so obvious to me as to why Fed-Ex was in the movie. Fed-Ex is spreading the image of their product to everyone who watches the movie; what great brand management. With Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt as the leading actor and actress, this movie is bound to bring in a lot of viewers. Instead of paying for costly advertisements (that consumers ignore anyway), Fed-Ex put their product in a popular movie. People are making the effort — on their own — to watch the movie, but along with the movie, they also see your product. They don’t have a choice. This trend is not going to stop anytime soon. With TiVo and other DVRs, consumers are avoiding commercials completely. But by placing products into the shows themselves, they become unavoidable. Genius for companies, bad for the consumers.

Not every product placement gets a full-length feature in a movie like Fed-Ex did. Many companies, like in the image above with Coca-Cola, just have a quick scene with their product in a movie or TV show. I can’t even imagine how expensive it is to add products into big name shows and movies. To add to this, companies are paying huge amounts of money to reach the underlying goal of having their product look casual in the scenes. Consumers will not be interested in a show that has awkward product placement.

What do you think about product placement? Is it noticeable?


2 Responses to Product placement. Can’t escape it!

  1. katie horley says:

    After reading your post, the movie that automatically popped into my mind was the “Sex and the City” movie. Every scene advertised Mercedes or Vitamin Water or some other popular brand. It got to the point when all I could do is focus on products coming and going and not the storyline. Naturally, we can’t hide from product placement, but as consumers are we to expect a future full of movies with Nike signs everywhere? I really enjoyed the link you provided, mainly the “Wayne’s World” clip.

  2. ninouye says:

    Thank you Katie! In my Plans and Problems class we looked at the product placement of the BMW Z3 in one of the James Bond movies and how it was the main tactic they used to launch the new car. It is interesting how companies are deciding to advertise. It is even more interesting to see how popular the products become because of it. I’ll keep my eye out for any more interesting product placements; I’ll be sure to write a blog post on it.

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