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Apple - The Masters of Product Placement

The behemoth company, Apple, worth billions of dollars, dwarfs all other companies in sales of its devices. More iPhones are sold every year than there are cars sold worldwide. Apple sells more than 55,000 iPads every single day and 2.47 iPods every single second. There is no stronger company in the entire world.

Apple, however, faces the same problem that all other companies have: consumers have “tuned out” advertisements, so now companies have to find out how to bypass this indifference to their products. Marketers have been working to find a better way to reach these consumers, and product placement, specifically in movies, appears to be the solution.

Marketers have strategically placed various products within movies from the very beginning of the industry. Even in the silent films, you can see Hershey’s chocolate being eaten by the heroine or in the 1930s, Wrigley’s Chewing Gum prominently featured in various scenes, or Gordon’s Gin being thrown over the side of the boat in African Queen. Subtle, yes—but the brand image stayed in front of the audience. Marketers found that discreet placement of products within movies would keep that product brand image fresh, positive, and in front of the eyes of the public, painlessly.

Because of that, product placement in movies has a direct effect upon sales of that product, and with a huge financial reward beckoning, most marketers are willing to pay a considerable amount of money for the privilege of their product appearing in movies. Apple is the one brand which is the exception; Apple does not pay for any product placement, yet is the number one company for product placement in movies today. “Apple won’t pay to have their products featured, but they are more than willing to hand out an endless amount of computers, iPads, and iPhones,” says Gavin Polone, movie producer. The Apple devices are perceived of as “cool” or “sexy”, thus becoming very desirable not only for movie production employees, but also movie-goers. On most movie sets, Apple devices far outnumber any other products because of this perception, and Apple has staff whose specific job is to make sure Apple is in every big movie and out in front of viewers, perpetuating that belief of sexy and cool.

This great give-away of Apple products has paid off on a grand scale for the company. Brand Channel awarded Apple the 2012 Product Placement of the Year for its effective product placement within movies—Apple devices were in over 40% of the box office hits of 2011. No other product even comes close to these stats.

What is all of this product placement worth to Apple? In a nutshell: tens of millions of dollars. In the movie, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol,  Apple was not an official brand partner and did not pay to have its products on screen, yet Apple devices still had eight minutes of free time on screen, with a placement value of over $23 million.  In the first Mission: Impossible, Apple did not pay for placement of the PowerMac, but agreed that Apple would “strongly promote” the movie in its ads, saving the movie almost $500,000 in production costs and of course, accruing more glory for Apple. In You’ve Got Mail, 33% of all of the products featured were Apple products, garnering 3:58 minutes in air time. That kind of advertising simply can’t be purchased.

Apple is truly the exception, both as company and product promoter. Never paying but always giving, Apple bestows product in order to receive placement. 

Below is segment from The Morning Show we did on Product Placements

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Reader Comments (1)

Very insightful stuff, really enjoyable read.

June 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterServicing Stop

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