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Promotional Product Strategy

Entries in Advertising (20)


Using Product Placements

Product placement subtly allows brands to promote their products through a non-traditional advertising technique. Earlier in the year I joined music commentator Carla Bignasca on Channel Seven's The Morning Show to discuss the growing trend of product placement in pop music videos (For the full segment and analysis of product placement in music videos see below). While pop stars are definitely taking advantage of this trend, product placement is now being utilised in all mediums from film, to television shows and the Internet.

Product placements are presented in a way that will generate positive feelings towards your brand. They are important because they create awareness and exposure for your brand, and they also prevent your competition from gaining awareness. Product placement also enables your audience to develop a stronger connection with your brand and provides justification for their purchase decision.

When product placement is written into the script of a television show or movie, or included in a music video it is known as analog product placement. Check out the recent examples below of product placement in Days of Our Lives and Britney Spears’ music video, and see if you spot the products they are promoting.

If you can’t view the video - click here -

If you can’t view the video - click here -


Consumers are becoming more knowledgable purchasers and decision makers and are becoming increasingly aware of the product placement trend. As a result there has been a shift from analog product placement towards virtual or digital product placement. Digital product placement occurs when products are inserted into the show after it has been built i.e. during the post-production stage. Advertisers like digital product placement because it allows for different products to be inserted into the same show for different audiences and distribution windows. A recent example occurred in an episode of the popular television show How I Met Your Mother where a television ad for a 2011 movie - Bad Teacher was digitally inserted into a re-run that first aired in 2006.

Digital product placement also allows for the production of television shows and films that are designed specifically to support digital product placement. For instance, actors might simply drink from a solid colour can, making it a simple process to insert the image of a Coke or Pepsi can later. It could also mean that actors appear to be drinking Coke in a film when it is shown in Sydney, but appear to be drinking Pepsi to people viewing the same film in Melbourne.

Digital product placement is set to take off here in Australia with television station Channel Seven recently signing an exclusive deal with UK digital product placement specialist MirriAd. MirriAd places products and signage into television shows in the post-production stage, putting products into scenes that were never there at the original shoot. The partnership will see MirriAd’s technology insert lifelike brand images into shows such as Home and Away and Packed to the Rafters.


In the next few years this technology will become even more powerful, and also considerably cheaper, opening up new opportunities for advertising your product. When considering product placement for your own brand it is important to consider a number of things.

1. Relevance - Ideally you want your product to enhance the show and ultimately your brand. The best way to achieve this is to insert your product into the plot line or scene in a way that is not obviously noticeable. The key is to let the consumer discover the ad and create the association, which they then will own.

2. Avoid detracting from the entertainment - The worst thing you can do is make the show about your product rather than the actual plot line and viewers will perceive your brand as ‘trying too hard’ and will not respond positively.  Digital product placement does undermine the value of whatever you are watching if there is a blatant pitch.

3. Maintain authenticity and mood - It is important to ensure you do not take the technology to the extreme destroying the film or television shows mood, period authenticity and composition. This will leave fans of the program frustrated and annoyed at your brand.

Check out MirriAd’s show reel below and see if you can spot the products that they have inserted into some classic films.

If you can’t view the video - click here -

If you can’t view the video - click here -

The transcript of the show is below.

Larry Edmur: Have you ever watched a music video and suddenly craved a cheeseburger or had the urge to rush out and buy a new TV? Well, advertising is being taken to whole new levels by pop stars who are filling their clips to the brim with product placement and Britney's new music video runs like an ad for Sony televisions, and online dating sites, and features her line of perfume.

Britney Spears: On too strong. Hate to stare, but you're winning , and they're playing my favorite song.

Larry Edmur: Katy Perry has come out criticizing the use of product placement, except when it's subtle, but products in some of her own clips aren't so discrete.

Katy Perry: Someone call the doctor, got a case of a love bi-polar. Stuck on a roller coaster. Can't get off this ride.

Kylie Gillies: These pop queens aren't alone. Avril Levine and Lady Gaga, among others, are also big fans of the growing trend in blatant product plugs.

Larry Edmur: Well joining us now to talk about the ins and outs of product placement is advertising guru Matthew Bywater and music commentator Carla "Biggzy" Bignasca. Good morning guys. Matthew first, has product placement increased lately or is it just becoming more obvious? I thought, was it Austin Powers in Goldmember having his office in Starbucks. I thought that set the whole new level, but are we noticing it more now?

Matthew Bywater: We are noticing it more and a few reasons. One is I think we're more cognizant as consumers. We're actually aware of what's happening. I think the other thing too is that this has been going on for about 150 years, but it's intensifying because advertisers are looking for ways to get outside the normal mediums. In the interactive marketing we normally do, we're actually stopping them what they're doing, saying, "Hey, look at me." We're finding other ways to be more subtle and get more of it. So we're going to see more of it.

Kylie Gillies: Biggzy, we saw some of Katy Perry's video just before. Do you think she's got the right to criticize? Posh and black are two words that comes to mind.

Carla Bignasca: Well, you know, she did come out and say, you know, it shouldn't be so obvious, you should do it with style and grace, which is two words I would not associate with Britney Spears. But you know, she has also said that there's so much competition between artists to produce bigger and better videos, that they need to find different revenue streams to try and fund those video clips. So that's why.

Larry Edmur: Biggzy, do you think an audience responds to these obvious product plugs? Do you think an audience cares that much?

Carla Bignasca: I don't think so. I think we just watch it and go, "Oh, okay, that's great. Brittany looks vacant behind the eyes, let's move on." But the thing with her video clip is, this latest one, it is that it's just so obvious that it's so blatant, that it doesn't look integrated into the storyline as you will if there is such a thing in a video clip.

Kylie Gillies: It seemed very little reason for her to be spraying her own perfume other than just a plug. Matthew, Biggzy sort of touched on it. Are music companies tightening their purse strings and so they need to find other revenue streams is how Biggzy put it.

Matthew Bywater: They've got increased production costs because the cost of videos today, of music videos, has gone through the roof. We're expecting more. They're wanting to give us more and they're doing it by funding it through advertising. The thing I have concerns about is not whether we're placing products near, but the sort of the way we're doing it when it's so vagrantly out there, I think it's denigrates the artists themselves.

Larry Edmur: Britney and Avril Levine are both spruiking their perfume lines in their clips. Matthew, is that possibly a sign that they're not selling too well and perhaps this is just another platform to try and sell a few more.

Matthew Bywater: For sure. They've been advertising their perfumes across various sectors, but they are the brain and so their trying to get that more close to the lines to the person and the reason why people follow them is apart from what's in the tabloid press, normally because of their music and say, "Okay, we need to get that closer and closer together."

Kylie Gillies: Is there any chance from a consumer point of view. I'll ask you first Matthew and then Biggzy, that this can backfire against an artist or against a company. So the company goes and puts their mobile phone in that clip. If people get cynical about it, any chance it can backfire?

Matthew Bywater: Absolutely, and that can be generation dependent. I think generation Y might be a little more oblivious than some of the older generations. And so people are looking for, I'm there to watch this music video because I appreciate the artist and they're trying to sell me something on the side. People are getting a little bit sick of that.

Larry Edmur: Biggzy, I'm not sure I care. Is that bad?

Carla Bignasca: No, you shouldn't really care.

Larry Edmur: It's out there all the time, and if you said it's so blatant that it's almost a joke. It's almost a caricature of what they should be doing.

Carla Bignasca: Well, absolutely. We're talking about Britney Spears here, you couldn't think of any more commercial artist than Britney Spears. She is a walking advertising campaign, and it's not like she's gone on and said, "Oh, it's ruined the integrity of my artistic career." You know?

Kylie Gillies: I'm questioning Bulgari. Bulgari wouldn't want to necessarily be associated with Britney Spears. I wouldn't have thought.

Carla Bignasca: Well they did. They funded part of her circus film clip. That was her, you know, big comeback. I don't know, I think when artists like Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, people want to get on board because it is a little more subtle than other artists, but it's only a particular type of artist that we're talking about that would put product placement in their clips.

Larry Edmur: Matthew and Biggzy, thank you very much for your time. We don't do product placement on this particular program, but we do look great on LG monitors.