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Product placement, or embedded marketing,[1][2][3][4] is a form of advertisement, where branded goods or services are placed in a context usually devoid of ads, such as movies, the story line of television shows, or news programs. The product placement is often not disclosed at the time that the good or service is featured. Product placement became common in the 1980s.

In April 2006, Broadcasting & Cable reported, "Two thirds of advertisers employ 'branded entertainment'--product placement--with the vast majority of that (80%) in commercial TV programming." The story, based on a survey by the Association of National Advertisers, said "Reasons for using in-show plugs varied from 'stronger emotional connection' to better dovetailing with relevant content, to targeting a specific group."[5]

Contents

Early examples

Product placement dates back to the nineteenth century in publishing. By the time he published the adventure novel, Around the World in Eighty Days the French writer Jules Verne was a world-renowned literary giant to the extent transport and shipping companies lobbied to be mentioned in the story as it was published in serial form.[citation needed] Product placement is still used in books to some extent, particularly in novels.

Placement in movies

Although recognizable brand names probably had appeared in movies prior to the 1920s, the weekly trade periodical Harrison's Reports published its first denunciation of that practice with respect to Red Crown gasoline appearing in the 1919 Fatty Arbuckle comedy The Garage.[6]

During the next four decades, Harrison's Reports frequently cited cases of on-screen brand name products[7], always condemning the practice as harmful to movie theaters. Publisher P. S. Harrison’s editorials strongly reflected his feelings against product placement in movies. An editorial in Harrison’s Reports criticized the collaboration between Corona Typewriter company and First National Pictures when a Corona typewriter appeared in the 1925 movie The Lost World.[8] Harrison's Reports published several incidents about Corona typewriters appearing in movies of the mid-1920s.

Among the famous silent movies to feature product placement was Wings (released in 1927), the first film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It contained a plug for Hershey's chocolate.

Another early example in film occurs in the 1932 film Horse Feathers where Thelma Todd falls out of a canoe and into a river. She calls for a life saver and Groucho Marx tosses her the Life Savers candy.

The Marx Brothers, in the 1949 film Love Happy, Harpo Marx cavorts on a rooftop among various billboards and at one point escapes from the villains on the old Mobil logo, the "Flying Red Horse". Harrison's Reports severely criticized this scene in its movie review[9] and in a front-page editorial of the same issue.

The 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life by Frank Capra depicts a young boy with aspirations to be an explorer, displaying a prominent copy of National Geographic.

In the classic 1949 film noir Gun Crazy, the climactic crime is the payroll robbery of the Armour meat packing plant, where a Bulova clock is prominently seen.

In other early media, e.g., radio in the 1930s and 1940s and early television in the 1950s, programs were often underwritten by companies. "Soap operas" are called such because they were initially underwritten by consumer packaged goods companies such as Procter & Gamble or Unilever. When television began to displace radio, DuMont's Cavalcade of Stars was, in its era, notable for not relying on a sole sponsor in the tradition of NBC's Texaco Star Theater and similar productions. Sponsorship exists today with programs being sponsored by major vendors such as Hallmark.

The conspicuous display of Studebaker motor vehicles in the television show Mr. Ed, which was sponsored by the Studebaker Corporation from 1961 to 1963, is another example of product placement.

Incorporation of products into the actual plot of a film or TV show is generally called "brand integration".

An early example of such "brand integration" was by Abercrombie and Fitch in 1964, one of its stores providing the notional venue for part of the Rock Hudson / Paula Prentiss romantic comedy film Man's Favourite Sport?.

A recent example is HBO's Sex and the City, where the plot revolved around, among other things, Absolut Vodka, a campaign upon which one of the protagonists was working, and a billboard in Times Square, where a bottle prevented an image of the model from being pornographic. Knight Rider, a TV series featuring a talking Pontiac Trans Am, is another example of brand integration.

The earliest example of product placement in a computer or video game occurs in the 1984 game Action Biker for KP's Skips crisps. Video games, such as Crazy Taxi feature real retail stores as game destinations. However, sometimes the economics are reversed and video game makers pay for the rights to use real sports teams and players. Today, product placement in online video is also becoming common. Online agencies are specializing in connecting online video producers, which are usually individuals, with brands and advertisers.

Self Promotion

Twentieth Century Fox, a subsidiary of News Corporation, has promoted its parent company's own Sky News channel through including it as a plot device when characters are viewing news broadcasts of breaking events.[citation needed] To empasise this further, the newscaster or reporter in the scene will usually state that the audience is viewing Sky News and reports from other channels are not shown. A notable example being the 1996 Independence Day.

Categories and variations

Actual product placement falls into two categories: products or locations that are obtained from manufacturers or owners to reduce the cost of production, and products deliberately placed into productions in exchange for fees.[10]

Sometimes, product usage is negotiated rather than paid for. Some placements provide productions with below-the-line savings, with products such as props, clothes and cars being loaned for the production's use, thereby saving them purchase or rental fees. Barter systems (the director/actor/producer wants one for himself) and service deals (cellular phones provided for crew use, for instance) are also common practices. Producers may also seek out companies for product placements as another savings or revenue stream for the movie, with, for example, products used in exchange for help funding advertisements tied-in with a film's release, a show's new season or other event.

A variant of product placement is advertisement placement. In this case an advertisement for the product (rather than the product itself) is seen in the movie or television series. Examples include a Lucky Strike cigarette advertisement on a billboard or a truck with a milk advertisement on its trailer.

Another variant is the widespread use of promotional consideration in which a television game show would award an advertiser's product as a prize or consolation prize in return for a subsidy from the product's manufacturer.

Product placement companies work to integrate their client company brands with film and television productions.[11] Jay May, president of Feature This!, a branded entertainment company, explains the process: “The studio sends us the script. We break it down. We look for our clients’ demographics and then we tell our client this movie is available with this actor, with this director, with this producer, do you want it?” [12]

Measuring effectiveness

Quantification methods track brand integrations, with both basic quantitative and more demonstrative qualitative systems used to determine the cost and effective media value of a placement. Rating systems measure the type of placement and on-screen exposure is gauged by audience recall rates. Products might be featured but hardly identifiable, clearly identifiable, long or recurrent in exposure, associated with a main character, verbally mentioned and/or they may play a key role in the storyline. Media values are also weighed over time, depending on a specific product's degree of presence in the market.

Consumer response and economic impact

As with any advertising, its effectiveness tends to be proven by the fact that advertisers continue to use product placement as a marketing strategy. However, some consumer groups such as Commercial Alert object to the practice as "an affront to basic honesty",[13], which they claim is too common in today's society. Commercial Alert asks for full disclosure of all product placement arrangements, arguing that most product placements are deceptive and not clearly disclosed. They advocate notification before and during television programs with embedded advertisements. One justification for this is to allow greater parental control for children, whom they claim are easily influenced by product placement.

The Writers Guild of America, a trade union representing authors of TV scripts, had raised objections in 2005 that its members are forced to write ad copy disguised as storyline on the grounds that "the result is that tens of millions of viewers are sometimes being sold products without their knowledge, sold in opaque, subliminal ways and sold in violation of government regulations."[14]

According to PQMedia, a consulting firm that tracks the product placement market, 2006 product placement was estimated at $3.07B rising to $5.6B in 2010. However, these figures are somewhat misleading in PQMedia's view in that today, many product placement and brand integration deals are a combination of advertising and product placement. In these deals, the product placement is often contingent upon the purchase of advertising revenues. When the product placement that is bundled with advertising is allocated to part of the spending, PQMedia estimates that product placement is closer to $7B in value, rising to $10B by 2010.

A major driver of growth for the use of product placement is the increasing use of digital video recorders (DVR) such as TiVO, which enable viewers to skip advertisements.[citation needed] This ad skipping behavior increases in frequency the longer a household has owned a DVR.

Products

Certain products are featured more than others. Commonly seen are automobiles, consumer electronics and computers, and tobacco products.[citation needed]

Automobiles

The most common products to be promoted in this way are automobiles. Frequently, all the important vehicles in a movie or television serial will be supplied by one manufacturer. For example, The X-Files used Fords, as do leading characters on 24. The James Bond films pioneered such placement.[15] The 1974 film The Man with the Golden Gun featured extensive use of AMC cars, even in scenes in Thailand, where AMC cars weren't sold, and had the steering wheel on the wrong side of the vehicle for the country's roads. In XXY (2007) all vehicles depicted are Toyotas, even though the film takes place in South America; the film's credits acknowledge the automaker as having funded portions of the film's production. The last two Bond films had used vehicles from Ford or its subsidiaries. In Bad Boys 2, Transformers and The Matrix Reloaded, almost every car was made by General Motors.

Other times, vehicles or other products take on such key roles in the film it's as if they are another character. Nissan cars also feature prominently in the 'Heroes' TV show, the logos often zoomed in/out of or whole cars shown for a few seconds at the beginning of a new scene. In The Matrix Reloaded, a key chase scene is conducted between a brand new Cadillac CTS and a Cadillac Escalade EXT. The chase scene also features a Ducati motorcycle in the getaway. Three of the James Bond films starring Pierce Brosnan featured a BMW car before fan outcry pressured the producers to return to using the traditional Aston Martin, which was owned by Ford Motor Company at the time and thus brought in more product placement. In addition, a Shelby GT500 is used extensively at the beginning of I Am Legend. In the 2008 movie Taken, Liam Neeson drives Audi cars, first an A3 and a S8 in the final high speed scene on the streets of Paris. All of the cars in the video game Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 are manufactured by Dodge.

Consumer electronics and computers

The 2006 film Casino Royale features many Sony product placements throughout: A BD-R disc is prominently portrayed at one time, all characters use VAIO laptops, Sony Ericsson cell phones and GPSs, BRAVIA televisions, and Bond uses a Cyber-shot to take photos. (It was the first Bond film to be produced since Sony acquired the Bond franchise). In Quantum of Solace, Bond, M, and Tanner are seen using a Microsoft Surface to display information on rogue agents.

Apple's products frequently appear in films and on television, Apple has stated that they do not pay for this, and would not discuss how its products make their way into television and films.[16]. (Notably, recognizable Apple products have appeared in newspaper comic strips, including Opus, Baby Blues, Non Sequitur, and FoxTrot, even though paid placement in comics is all but unknown.) In a twist on traditional product placement, Hewlett-Packard computers now appear exclusively as part of photo layouts in the IKEA catalog in addition to placing plastic models of its computers in IKEA stores, having taken over Apple's position in the Swedish furniture retailer's promotional materials several years ago. Hewlett-Packard also put their computers in the US production of The Office. Throughout the TV series Smallville, only computers produced by Dell are used, including Alienware branded equipment and in later series the XPS range. Similarly in the series Stargate Atlantis in first sessions all the laptops used were Dell Latitude and XPS laptops. Stargate SG1 in its last seasons switched from traditional CRT monitors in the gate-rooms to Dell-branded LCDs.

In WarGames (1983), the use of an IMSAI 8080 desktop computer was originally proposed by Cliff McMullen of Unique Products, the same Los Angeles product placement company that placed Reese's Pieces in Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).[17] Other WarGames product placements include the main character's mother being portrayed as a real estate broker at the behest of marketers at Century 21.

In Splash (1984), a television set blares advertisements for (now-defunct) electronics retailer Crazy Eddie and for Bloomingdale's department store.

In the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still a lot of Microsoft devices — including mobile phones, laptops[citation needed], and Microsoft Surface — were used.

In video games, products that most often appear are placements for processors or graphics cards. For example in EA's Battlefield 2142, ads for Intel Core 2 processors appear on map billboards. EA's The Sims contains in-game advertising for Intel and for McDonald's.[18]

In the video game F.E.A.R, all of the laptops have a Dell screensaver on them and the other computers in the game also feature this screensaver. Similarly, Metal Gear Solid 4 features various Apple products such as laptop and desktop computers, as well as featuring an in-game iPod.

In the T.V Show, Sex and The City Carrie is shown using a macbook with an upside down Apple logo

Food and drink

In Beetlejuice (1988), Minute Maid juice is displayed; in the Back to the Future trilogy, Pizza Hut's future products include an instant pizza that can be hydrated for immediate consumption. In "American Idol" Coca Cola cups are always seen on the judges' table.

In addition to placing brand specific elements within the context of a given program, entire formats of media have been created to feature individual brands within the context of a genre. An example of this is The Corkscrew Diary (2006),[19] in which this travelogue about wine and food features emerging destination estates and the wines they produce.

Travel

The promotion of individual travel destinations and services ranges from subtle to overt.

While the award of "an all expense-paid trip" to some destination as a game show prize or an acknowledgement in a show's closing credits that transportation for participants was provided by a specific airline had long been commonplace in commercial television, a more refined approach to promoting a travel destination is to assist and subsidise film production companies willing to set their story in or shoot footage on-location at the destination being promoted.

While critics of competitive film subsidies cite runaway production as a pattern of filming US productions in other countries for purely-economic reasons, a movie set in an individual travel destination can be a valuable advertisement. According to State of Florida film commissioner Paul Sirmons, "the movies create huge, larger-than-life ads for where they are shot. 'CSI Miami' draws people from overseas to Miami. Seaside was put on the map by 'The Truman Show.' Movies just keep playing year after year getting the images out there."[20]

The Love Boat, an American Broadcasting Company series that ran from 1977–1986, was set aboard the Pacific Princess, a ship of the Princess Cruise Lines. As an advertisement, this product placement is valuable enough that printed advertisements for the line would employ the trademarked slogan "It's more than a cruise, it's the Love Boat"[21] until 2002.[22]

A fictional Pan Am "Space Clipper," a commercial spaceplane called the Orion III, had a prominent role in Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey, featured in the movie's poster.[23] The film's sequel, 2010, also featured Pan Am in a background television commercial in the home of David Bowman's widow. In the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica, one of the ships in the fleet is a "Pan Galactic" or "Pan Gal" starliner. The ship bears Pan Am colors and the Pan Gal logo is nearly identical to Pan American's old logo.

The airline's 707 appeared in several James Bond films including Dr. No, From Russia with Love, and Casino Royale, while a Pan Am 747 and the Worldport appeared in Live and Let Die. The airline's logo was featured in Licence to Kill, where James Bond checks in for a Pan Am flight that he ultimately does not board.

Tobacco

The James Bond film Licence to Kill featured use of the Lark brand of cigarette and the producers accepted payment for that product placement. The studio's executives apparently believed that the placement triggered the American warning notice requirement for cigarette advertisements and thus the movie carried the Surgeon General's Warning at the end credits of the film. This brought forth calls for banning such cigarette advertisements in future films. Later releases of License to Kill, especially for video and television releases, had the Lark pack replaced with a similar-looking, generic pack. Most movies, such as the youth-targeted "Ramen Girl," which has a product-placement for Marlborough cigarettes, omit the Surgeon General's Warning.

Reviewing previously secret tobacco advertising documents, the British Medical Journal concluded:

The tobacco industry recruits new smokers by associating its products with fun, excitement, sex, wealth, and power and as a means of expressing rebellion and independence. One of the ways it has found to promote these associations has been to encourage smoking in entertainment productions.1 Exposure to smoking in entertainment media is associated with increased smoking and favourable attitudes towards tobacco use among adolescents.

While the tobacco industry has routinely denied active involvement in entertainment programming, previously secret tobacco industry documents made available in the USA show that the industry has had a long and deep relationship with Hollywood. Placing tobacco products in movies and on television (fig 1Go), encouraging celebrity use and endorsement, advertising in entertainment oriented magazines, designing advertising campaigns to reflect Hollywood glamour, and sponsoring entertainment oriented events have all been part of the industry's relationship with the entertainment industry.
-- How the tobacco industry built its relationship with Hollywood, BMJ 2002[24]

Radio, television and publishing

Reality TV

Product placement advertisements can be common in reality television shows. For example the well-known Russian television show Dom-2 (similar to Big Brother) often features one of the participants stating something along the lines of: "Oh, did you check out the new product X by company Y yet?" after which the camera zooms in onto the named product. It has been claimed that the participants get paid for it. Recently in the United States hit series The Real World Road Rules Challenge participants often state a similar line, usually pertaining to the mobile device and carrier a text message has been received.

Public and educational television

In the United States, most educational television operates under a funding model in which local stations receive donations from Viewers Like You but do not interrupt programming directly with spot advertising. While the use of underwriting as a form of indirect advertisement ("Production [or local acquisition] of this programme is made possible by X, makers of Y") is permissible and common on non-commercial educational stations, price comparisons or calls to action ("Buy X now, ten cents off, this week only!") of the form used by commercial television are expressly prohibited as a condition of the station's license.[25]

It may therefore make good business sense for an underwriter of an educational programme to obtain greater visibility through a form of promotional consideration in which (for instance) a manufacturer of woodworking tools could, instead of merely donating money to fund production of a popular home-improvement show, go one step further by also providing the tools used on-air to build the individual projects.

This approach is suitable both for commercial and non-commercial television, but requires very careful targeting to match a product to a show that naturally would already use that product. A program like commercial The Learning Channel's Trading Spaces is an ideal fit for a vendor such as Home Depot. Non-commercial broadcasts such as PBS's The New Yankee Workshop would represent an ideal fit for power tool makers Porter-Cable, Delta Machinery and Vermont-American while a home-improvement programme like The Red Green Show could represent an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a manufacturer of duct tape.

One unusual placement is American Public Television's Classical Stretch, a long-running series of physical fitness lessons hosted by Montréal's Miranda Esmonde-White with the first three seasons distributed by New York PBS flagship station WPBS-TV.[26] As the market for physical fitness advice is largely saturated, Classical Stretch endeavours to differentiate itself from the many existing programmes in its genre by having everything take place outdoors, on a tropical beach, with unobtrusive classical music in the background. In theory, this could prohibitively increase a non-commercial program's production costs; in reality, the costs of relocating production and constructing necessary facilities are readily borne by the show's underwriters, a travel company and a luxury resort in sunny Riviera Maya, Mexico.[27]

TV programmes

List of TV shows with the most instances of product placement (11/07-11/08; Nielsen Media Research)

Comic publishing

South African soccer comic Supa Strikas uses product placement within its pages to promote a variety of brands, and allow for the comic's free distribution to its readers around the world. Product placement occurs throughout the publication; on the players' shirts, through placed billboards and signage, and through the branding of locations or scenarios.

Globally, Supa Strikas receives the majority of its support from Chevron, who sponsors the comic series through their Caltex and Texaco brands. These are proudly displayed as the shirt sponsors for the Supa Strikas team across Southern Africa, Central America, Egypt and Malaysia.

In other markets - where Chevron lacks a presence - other headline brands sponsor the team's kit, including VISA in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, GTBank in Nigeria, and Henkel's Loctite brand in Brazil. In addition, other brands also receive advertising in the comics and animation, with their logos included as both billboard and background advertising, and through the branding of locations and scenarios. These companies include Metropolitan Life, Spur, The South African National Roads Agency, Nike and many others.

This innovative approach to comic publication has seen the brand grow dramatically over the last few years, with Supa Strikas now reaching an estimated 10 million readers a week worldwide. Today, the comic is available across Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mauritius, Reunion, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Egypt); in Latin America (Colombia, El Salvador, Panama, Brazil, Honduras and Guatemala); in Europe (Norway, Sweden, Finland) and Asia (Malaysia).[28]

The Supa Strikas model has shown considerable successes, leading to the creation of a number of other titles which use the same system. These include cricket comic Supa Tigers, which is distributed in India and Pakistan, and Strike Zone, a baseball comic based in Panama.

Music and recording industries

While radio and television stations are at least in theory strictly regulated by national governments, producers of printed or recorded works are not, leading marketers in some cases to attempt to get advertisers' brands mentioned in lyrics of popular songs.

A recent popularity of product placement in music videos and actual song lyrics can be accredited to The Kluger Agency. Due to the repetitive nature of a popular song and its effects on pop culture as a whole, Product Placement or what the music industry calls "Brand Partnerships" are becoming a more effective way to create a trend practically overnight.

In January 2009, an album "Migracorridos" with five songs including accordion ballad "El Mas Grande Enemigo" had received airplay on twenty-five Mexican radio stations. The tune purports to be the lament of a would-be immigrant left to die in the Arizona desert by coyotes (people smugglers).[29] No disclosure was made to the radio stations that the US Border Patrol had commissioned the compact disc with content devised by Elevación, a Hispanic advertising agency based in Washington and New York.[30]

Payola and legal considerations

Much of the current body of broadcast law pertaining to the obligation of licensed broadcasters to disclose to audiences when they (or their staff) receive money or valuables in return for on-air promotion of a product dates to the payola scandals of 1950s broadcast radio.

An investigation launched in November 1959 into allegations that some radio disc jockeys had accepted bribes in return for radio airplay[31] led to the indictment of disc jockey Alan Freed (of WABC and WINS) on May 9, 1960; he would be fined for accepting $2,500 to play certain songs, a violation of commercial bribery laws, and would ultimately lose his employment in commercial radio. On September 13, 1960 the US government acted to ban payola in broadcasting. Under current United States law, Section 317 of the Communications Act states that "All matter broadcast by any radio station for which money, service, or other valuable consideration is directly or indirectly paid, or promised to or charged or accepted by, the station so broadcasting, from any person, shall, at the time the same is so broadcast, be announced as paid for or furnished, as the case may be, by such person. . ." with similar and related provisions reflected in Federal Communications Commission regulations as CFR 47, Section 73.1212.[32]

While these provisions have been taken into legal consideration in subsequent payola investigations, including one 2005 investigation by then-New York State attorney general Eliot Spitzer into Sony BMG and other major record companies,[33] it is probable that a regulation requiring advertisements and advertisers to be clearly identified has far broader implications in many areas, including that of the use of product placement by advertisers in broadcast programming.

Often, a broadcaster will claim to have complied with the regulation by placing some form of acknowledgement of promotional consideration in an inconspicuous place in a broadcast - such as embedded within a portion of a programme's closing credits. The question of whether adequate disclosure is being provided, however, remains open;[34] the issue was raised in 2005 by FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, on the grounds that "some will tell you that if broadcasters and cable companies insist on further commercializing new and other shows alike, that is their business. But if they do so without disclosing it to the viewing public, that is payola, and that is the FCC’s business."[35] In 2008, the Federal Communications Commission gave notice of proposed rulemaking, in which it proposed to require more disclosure of product placement.[36] According to Adelstein, "You shouldn't need a magnifying glass to know who's pitching you... A crawl at the end of the show shrunk down so small the human eye can't read it isn't really in the spirit of the law."[37]

Within the United Kingdom, product placement is currently banned.[38] A recent EU directive would have allowed it, however culture secretary Andy Burnham refused to accept it, and for a time it appeared likely that the UK would introduce laws to fully outlaw it, whereas in the past it was only regulated by OFCOM.[38] However in September 2009 it was announced that the OFCOM ban would be lifted in an effort to raise funds for commercial broadcasters, but will remain in force in children's TV and on the BBC. [39] This news has been greeted with enthusiasm by British media companies like Independent Vision who are looking to further enhance the current business model for Advertiser Funded Programming.

Product placement in world

In some countries product placement is illegal or has severe limitations by law. For example, in Italy it is not allowed to use product placement in tv movies, even if a directive from European Union is moving in the opposite direction.

Extreme and unusual examples

The film I, Robot, though set in the future, makes heavy use of product placements for Converse trainers, Ovaltine, Audi, FedEx, Dos Equis, and JVC among others, all of them introduced within the first ten minutes of the film. One particularly infamous scene borders into an actual advertisement in which a character compliments Will Smith's character's shoes to which he replies "Converse All-Stars, vintage 2004."[40] (the year of the film's release). Audi invested the most on the film, going so far as to create a special car for the film, the Audi RSQ. It was expected that the placement would increase brand awareness and raise the emotional appeal of the Audi brand, objectives that were considered achieved when surveys conducted in the United States showed that the Audi RSQ gave a substantial boost to the image ratings of the brand.[41] The Audi RSQ is seen during nine minutes of the film, although other Audis like the Audi A6, the Audi TT and the Audi A2 can be seen sprinkled throughout the film.[42] I, Robot was ranked "the worst film for product placement" on a British site.[43]

The film 17 Again makes heavy use of product placement featuring cereals, sandwich fillers, chips, stereo systems, and auto mobiles.

The film The Island, directed by Michael Bay, features at least 35 individual products or brands, including cars, bottled water, shoes, credit cards, beer, ice cream, and even a search engine.[44] The film was highly criticized for this.[45] In the movie's DVD Commentary track, Michael Bay claims he added the advertisements for realism purposes. [46]

The film Casino Royale features peculiarly blatant product placement during a exchange between James Bond and Vesper Lynd in which she enquires seductively whether he wears a Rolex watch. "Omega," he replies suavely. "Beautiful," she purrs. It is not clear whether Omega, an official sponsor of the Bond franchise, had insisted on the line's inclusion.

The comedy film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby also contained a high amount of product placement. Characters repeatedly mention brands under the disguise of NASCAR sponsorship. The movie contains possibly the first instance of an actual television commercial in a movie. It was intended to mock the controversy with NASCAR fans under the Unified Television Contract 2001-06 where they criticised the excessive number of commercial breaks during races.[47]

Bill Cosby's film Leonard Part 6 was widely criticized for its Coca Cola product placements, as was The Wizard for Nintendo products.

The 2001 film Evolution features product placement integral to the entire film. When mutated lifeforms attack earth, the characters discover that the only chemical that can defeat them is the active ingredient in the Head & Shoulders Dandruff shampoo.

The 2001 film Josie and the Pussycats featured a large amount of blatant product placement for brands such as Puma, Target, McDonalds and TJ Maxx. This appears to be done ironically, as the plot of the film revolves around subliminal messages in advertising. The film's general message can also be construed as an anti-consumerist one. The producers neither sought nor received compensation for featuring the brands in the film.

The Japanese animated series Code Geass is sponsored by the Japanese branch of Pizza Hut. Despite the fact that the series is set in an alternate reality, at least one main character is depicted ordering and receiving a Pizza Hut pizza on several occasions. The company's logo also appears throughout the series.

The film Wayne's World featured the main characters blatantly promoting many products by looking directly at the camera, holding up the product, smiling widely, and sometimes giving a thumbs-up.

Self-criticism

The pilot episode of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock prominently featured General Electric's Trivection oven, which many people believed was an example of product placement.[48] However, Tina Fey, the show's creator, stated in an interview that the oven was included purely as a joke,[49] although this didn't stop GE from running ads for the oven during the commercial break. GE owns an 80% controlling interest in NBC. Allison Eckelkamp, a spokesperson for GE, said that GE chose to do this to make sure viewers knew it was a real product.[50] In the sixth episode of season two, Tina Fey's character endorses a cellular phone service, then turns to the camera and asks "Can we have our money now?", breaking the fourth wall and still managing to underhandedly endorse the product.

The 1988 film Return of the Killer Tomatoes utilized the concept in a parodic manner—at one point, the film stops, as money to produce it ran out. The film's producer (portrayed by George Clooney) steps in, suggesting product placement as a way to recoup the losses. This was followed by several scenes with blatant product placement, including a Pepsi billboard installed in front of the villain's mansion.

The film Minority Report, makes heavy use of product placement, including Pepsi, Gap, and Lexus. Director Steven Spielberg also uses one scene to demonstrate the potential intrusion of one-to-one electronic advertising: the main character (Tom Cruise) is harassed by personalized advertisements calling out his own name.

The film Wayne's World included a parody in which both Wayne and Garth decry product placement while at the same time clearly endorsing products.

The film Fight Club, directed by David Fincher, bit the hand that fed it by depicting acts of violence against most of the products that paid to be placed in the film[citation needed]. Examples include the scene where the Apple Store is broken into, the scene in which Brad Pitt and Edward Norton smash the headlights of a new Volkswagen Beetle, and trying to blow up a 'popular coffee franchise', a thinly veiled dig at Starbucks.

The film Superstar, starring Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon, shows every resident in town driving VW New Beetles. However, it is possible that this was done for comic effect. Similarly, the film Mr. Deeds shows the main character Adam Sandler purchasing a Chevrolet Corvette for every resident of his town.

The comedy film Kung Pow! Enter the Fist also attempted to spoof its product placements, clearly pointing out the anachronistic inclusion of a Taco Bell in the film. In a similar vein, in Looney Tunes: Back In Action the main characters stumble across a Wal-Mart while stranded in the middle of Death Valley and get all necessary supplies for their endorsement of the company. The television show Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens poked fun at its sponsor Sony in one episode, by having one character give another a Blu-Ray disk with the tagline "It's a Sony", only for them to complain that they don't have a Blu-ray player, to which the character responds by producing a copy in Betamax, again with the line "It's a Sony".

Faux product placement and parodies

For further information, see Fictional brands.

The 1998 film The Truman Show utilized the concept, although in a manner different than other films. The film's focus, a 24-hour television broadcast called "The Truman Show" that focuses on the life of Truman Burbank, uses faux product placement. His wife places products in front of the hidden cameras, even naming certain products in dialogue with her husband, all of which increases Truman's suspicion as he comes to realize his surroundings are intentionally fabricated.

Some filmmakers have responded to product placement by creating fictional products that frequently appear in the movies they make. Some examples:

This practice is also fairly common in certain comics, such as Svetlana Chmakova's Dramacon, which makes several product-placement-esque usages of "Pawky", (a modification of the name of the Japanese snack "Pocky", popular among the anime and manga fan community in which the story is set) or Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon, which includes numerous references to the series Codename: Sailor V, which Sailor Moon was spun off of; the anime makes further use of this meta-referential gag, going so far as having an animator on a Codename: Sailor V feature film be a victim in one episode.

This practice is also common in certain "reality-based" video games such as the Grand Theft Auto series, which feature fictitious stores such as Ammu-Nation, Vinyl Countdown, Gash (spoofing Gap. Another spoof was made in GTA: San Andreas with Zip), Pizza Boy, etc.

Reverse placement

So-called "reverse product placement" takes "faux product placement" a step further, by creating products in real life to match those seen in a fictional setting.[51] For example, in 2007, 7-Eleven rebranded 11 of its American stores and one Canadian store as "Kwik-E-Marts", selling some real-life versions of products seen in episodes of the Simpsons such as Buzz Cola and Krusty-O's cereal.[52] In 1997, Acme Communications was created as a chain of real television stations; the firm is named for the fictional Acme Corporation of Warner Brothers fame.

In 1949, Crazy Eddie was created as a fictional car dealer in the film A Letter to Three Wives.[53] That name, bestowed in 1971 upon a real-life electronics chain in New York City, appeared in 1984 as advertising placement in Splash; a 1989 parody, UHF, completed the circle by depicting a Crazy Ernie using a hard sell of "buy this car or I'll club a seal" as a TV ad campaign.

In the 1984 cult film Repo Man, a reverse form of product placement is used, with an exaggerated form of 1980s era generic packaging used on products prominently shown on-screen (these include "Beer", "Drink", "Dry Gin" and "Food - Meat Flavored").

Virtual placement

Virtual product placement uses computer graphics to insert the product into the program after the program is complete.[54][55]

As of 2007, a new trend is emerging in product placement, the development of capabilities that permit dynamic or switchable product placement. Previously post production tools have permitted one time insertion of new product placement images and billboard advertising, notable in televised at baseball and hockey games. As of 2007, startups are offering or developing the ability to switch product placement.[citation needed] First generation virtual product placement has tended to be based upon sports arenas where the geometrical relationships of camera and the surface of the flat area onto which the billboard is projected, can be easily calculated. Second generation product placement or dynamic product placement is more focused upon commercial products. Third generation virtual or dynamic product placement allows targeting of customers with different products that can be dynamically switched based upon such factors as demographics, psychographics or behavioral information about the consumer.

Where game software has access to a user's Internet connection, marketers gain the ability change displayed in-game advertisements on the fly. More controversially, in-game advertising vendors such as Microsoft-owned Massive Incorporated may use software to transmit user information to their servers, such as individual player ID's and data about what was on the screen and for how long.[56]

Also of interest are hypervideo techniques that can insert interactive elements into online video.

Viewer Response

This means of advertisement triggered an unusual viewer response in April, 2009, when fans of the television series Chuck took advantage of product placement in the series by the restaurant chain Subway as part of a grassroots effort to save the show from cancellation.[57] The movement gained support from several cast and crew members, with series star Zachary Levi leading hundreds of fans to a Subway restaurant in Birmingham, United Kingdom,[58][59] and garnered significant attention in online media.[60][61][62]

Product displacement

According to Danny Boyle, director of 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, the makers had to resort to something he calls "Product displacement" when companies such as Mercedes refused to allow their products to be used in non-flattering settings. While they didn't mind having a gangster driving their cars, they objected to their products been shown in a slum setting. This forced the makers in post-production to remove logos digitally, costing "tens of thousands of pounds". Mr Boyle did not however comment on the disproportionately common on-screen reference to the cigarette brand Marlboro Lights in the same film, leading some commentators to question whether there was significant funding from the said company for the film. [63]

Similarly, in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers, portions of the defunct Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois were reconstructed in façade and used as the scene of an indoor car chase. Signage belonging to tenants of the mall when it was operational (1966 - 1978) was in some cases removed and replaced with that of other vendors; for instance, a Walgreens would become a Toys "Я" Us.[64]

Further reading

  • Balasubramanian, Siva K. (1994) "Beyond Advertising and Publicity: Hybrid Messages and Public Policy Issues," Journal of Advertising, 23 (4), 29-46.
  • Siva K. Balasubramanian, James Karrh and Hemant Patwardhan (2006), "Audience Response to Product Placements: An Integrative Framework and Future Research Agenda," Journal of Advertising, 35 (3), 115-141.
  • Crispin Miller, Mark (April 1990). "Hollywood: The Ad". The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/199004/hollywood. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 
  • Pascal Schumacher: Effektivität von Ausgestaltungsformen des Product Placement, Fribourg 2007
  • Russell, Cristel A. and Barbara Stern (2006) “Consumers, Characters, and Products: A Balance Model of Sitcom Product Placement Effects,” Journal of Advertising, 35 (1), 7-18.
  • Russell, Cristel A. and Michael Belch (2005) “A Managerial Investigation into the Product Placement Industry,” Journal of Advertising Research, 45 (1), 73-92.
  • Cristel A. Russell (2002) “Investigating the Effectiveness of Product Placements in Television Shows: The Role of Modality and Plot Connection Congruence on Brand Memory and Attitude,” Journal of Consumer Research, 29 (3), 306-318.

References

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  63. ^ Timesonline
  64. ^ http://www.pawfilmworks.com/DSMHistory.html

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