Product placement is nothing new - it is just the digital revolution that has pushed it to the
forefront of modern marketing. We fast forward commercials and see so many billboards
and banners in a day that we grow numb. If DSP’s heroes use your brand in a natural and
meaningful way in our stories, that is an endorsement traditional marketing cannot offer.
The embedded product cannot be removed from the entertainment product. A TV commercial
in the middle of a film is only shown the amount of times you pay for it. A placed product will
always be an integral part of the movie.
But you should not use product placement only because commercials are now being
circumvented. It is what the smartest marketers have done for a long time. Gordon’s
Gin paid to have Katharine Hepburn toss their gin crates overboard in 1951’s African
Queen. When Reese’s Pieces planted the line “melts in your mouth, not in your hand”
in E.T., the obscure snack skyrocketed to become one of the U.S.’ most famous brands – a position it still holds.
The local Jamaican beer Red Stripe was all anyone drank in the Tom Cruise movie The Firm. The unknown lager increased sales by 50% the month the movie premiered, and cleverly used the attention to become a global brand. Today you can even buy it in Norwegian ICA stores. Tom Cruise also increased Ray Ban sales with 350 000 glasses over a few months after Risky Business premiered.
Today we see more massive, more imaginative, higher quality product placement in leading markets. While in its infancy in Europe, American producers and advertisers are already cashing in. Will Ferrell’s Anchorman did wall-to-wall endorsements for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Jockey underwear and Chrysler cars before the sequel premiered.
It made great business sense for Chrysler who increased their Durango sales by 59%, increased web site traffic by 80% and social media interaction by 100%. Ben & Jerry’s and Jockey had equally encouraging numbers. But it made great sense for the film too. Ron Burgundy was everywhere in the weeks leading up to the Christmas 2013 premiere. Commercials on TV. Millions of YouTube views. All over the news.
By the time Anchorman 2 hit theaters, everyone was aware, most had already laughed at Will Ferrell’s in-character bits, and the emotional connection was secured. The box office revenue matched the film’s $50 million budget in a week.
It is a type of co branding where everyone wins. It also shows that there are many ways to embed a brand with a movie. The product can be used as a part of the story. It can be placed in the frame for a few seconds. A character from the movie can endorse the product in mass media or in direct marketing campaigns.
DSP offers all these options and a few more. What is important to us is that it is done smartly and in a way that gives maximum benefit to all involved. We therefore like to include our commercial partners as early in the preproduction as possible. Great brands and great films belong together.