Product Placement Essay

6342 words - 25 pages

In 1982, Mars Candy, the maker of M&Ms, passed on probably the greatest opportunity of a lifetime ? they let Steven Spielberg give Hershey?s Reese?s Pieces candies, instead of M&Ms, to E.T. Due to the huge box office success of the movie, sales for Reese?s Pieces shot up 65%, establishing product placement as a viable marketing tool. As other companies sought to mirror Hershey?s success, product placement grew increasingly popular and ever more prevalent in both film and television.What is Product Placement Product placement refers to the advertising of brand-name goods by inserting them into either film or television shows. The goals of these placements are to increase brand awareness, influence viewers? beliefs about certain products, and alter their purchasing behaviors in a favorable manner. There are three types of product placement, which refer to the means through which products appear in film and television. The first method involves companies providing their products to feature film and television producers at no charge for the sole purpose of exposing the product to a mass audience. This method accounts for almost half of all product placements. The second type is back-end promotion, which entails corporations with massive promotional budgets utilizing corporate tie-ins with other companies, such as fast-food restaurants. The third type of product placement requires a fee to be paid to production companies in order for their products to be shown in the film or television program. Product placement agencies were created for this sole purpose (McGuire, 2001). Of all three forms of product placement, back-end promotions are the most lucrative for both marketers and filmmakers, primarily due to the double exposure each party gains by temporarily tying their products together in the minds of consumers. A recent example of back-end promotion would be Taco Bell offering Star Wars: Episode I posters at its store locations to promote the movie.Evolution of the Industry Though E.T. was one of the first recognizable forms of product placement, the practice has been employed since the 1940s when De Beers used Hollywood celebrities to wear their diamonds in major motion pictures. From the 1950s, when James Dean used an Ace Comb in ?Rebel Without A Cause,? to AOL?s brand exposure in ?You?ve Got Mail,? product placement has become a tradition in modern cinema as well as a billion dollar industry (Marshall 2001). In fact, product placement has become so popular as a marketing device that in recent years, several agencies have been created for the sole purpose of uniting production companies with firms seeking to increase exposure of their products. While product placements in the 1940s and 1950s were more generic, and often times consumers could not distinguish certain brands, product placement today plays an increasingly integrated role in film and television. Brand names are highly visible and brand attributes are openly discussed by the...

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