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Promotional Product Strategy

Entries in Product Placement (2)


More on Product Placements

Product placement, a type of very subtle advertising, is used because it works. People today have tuned out much of the advertising around them, and the use of DVRs or TIVOs makes sure that no one has to watch an ad if they don’t want to. Because of this, advertisers have been looking for another avenue to bring their products before consumers, and in evaluating past experiences with product placement, advertisers have found that their products in movies means a significant jump in sales numbers.

Ray-Ban, the sun glasses manufacturer, has had considerable experience with their products placed in movies, and each time, that placement has positively impacted sales figures. In the movie Risky Business, Ray-Ban’s outdated and soon to be discontinued Wayfarer sunglasses shot to the top of sales (from 18,000 sets to over 360,000) once Tom Cruise wore them in the movie. During the next five years, Ray-Ban’s sunglasses were placed in 60 different films by Unique (a Burbank product placement firm) and at the end of the five years, they had sold over 1.5 million units. Just from Men in Black alone, sales of the Ray-Bans tripled after the movie opened. Top Gun, again with Tom Cruise, not only popularized the Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses and saw a 40% increase in sales, but boosted recruitment for the US Navy as well. Pretty powerful exposure. . .

Elliott dropped Reese’s Pieces for E.T. along the path, and the profits of Reese’s rose 65% as a direct result (interestingly M&M’s was first offered the spot but declined). Mini-Coopers raced around in The Italian Job, and quickly saw an increase of 22% in sales over the previous year. BMW provided a Z3 sports car complete with Bond gadgets for the movie Golden Eye, and received 9,000 orders for the car in first month after the movie opened, even though the vehicle was not yet available to the public. GMC gave a special Chevrolet Camaro to the movie Transformers, a car model which did not exist. The car appeared in the sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and after the movie was released, the car became available to the public. GMC sold over 60,000 units that first year.

This influence can work both in a positive way or in a negative way for a product. In the movie Sideways, wine was a featured item. The US saw sales of pinot noir rise after the movie’s release, with the Blackstone brand (featured in the movie) seeing sales go up by 15%. The main character in the film, however, talked about his distaste for merlot at length; US sales of merlot dropped by 2%.

There is even a documentary about paid product placements in movies, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. The kicker here is that the documentary producers were able to obtain paid product placement within the documentary to pay for the documentary itself.

Product placement is becoming even more important to the movie makers as they find investment money for their movies harder to find. Daniel Craig, usually reticent when talking to the media, spoke freely about the recent association of Heineken with the new James Bond movie, Skyfall. “We have relationships with a number of companies so that we can make this movie. The simple fact is that, without them, we couldn’t do it. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how it is.” This $45 million deal has now caused James Bond to forgo his martini and grab a beer. But it is a sophisticated beer at that—
just don’t shake it.

The clip below is a segment we did on The Morning show about Product Placements