Sunday, April 22, 2012

Product Placement: from E.T. to Entourage

This weekend I watched the movie, The Truman Show, for the first time. One of the things that makes the viewer very aware of the fact that Truman is the star of a TV show is the constant on screen advertising. In the movie, it seems cheesy and ineffective because the advertising is so obvious, yet in other movies, this is not the case.

Movies and TV shows are meant to seem as real as possible, and therefore have brand name products of many kinds in them. Brands are all over the place, and though we may not notice them, specific brands are chosen very carefully to appear in media. Though not all products are placed, many companies pay movies and TV shows to feature their product to much success. For example, who suddenly wanted to drink Avion after they saw it on Entourage?

Or eat Reese's Pieces after watching E.T.?

Or put their "new white Nike's to the test" after hearing Aaron's Party? (2:28)

Product placement is a part of new media. Though it has come a long way since E.T.'s blatant advertisement of the product, it still has a great power in determining what people purchase. Sales of all three of the previously mentioned items increased after they were featured in the media.

The biggest increase in sales tends to occur with new products, which is why new products are likely to pay money to be placed in movies, TV shows, or music videos. Reese's Pieces were introduced in 1978 and were not particularly popular. After E.T. aired in 1982, sales increased dramatically. 

Avion Tequila, a product written into the script of Entourage's 7th season, launched just before it appeared on HBO. Once consumers and distributors found of Avion was a real brand, Avion could not produce enough tequila to meet demand.

Even when product placement is subtle and unmentioned, the viewer sees the product and becomes familiar with it. For example, if all of the characters on my favorite TV show drink Coke instead of Pepsi, and I do not know the difference between the two products, when a water asks me whether I would like to drink Coke or Pepsi, I will answer Coke because that is what is familiar to me.

Do you find product placement to be successful or obnoxious? Have you ever been influenced by product placement?

1 comment:

  1. What a nice work man. I really like it your work.