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Product placement strategies

When you are watching a film, a series or a music video, pay attention and you will see brands everywhere. Take for example the famous film which everyone has seen at least once in his life, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The little boy tries to attract the alien with some Reese’s Pieces. Or take some minutes to watch Lady Gaga’s music video Telephone. A lot of brands are included in this music video, like Coca-Cola, Miracle Whip, Polaroid, Virgin Mobile, Hewlett Packard, etc. In Avril Lavigne’s music video Here’s to never growing up, you can see her Ice-Watch on her wrist at least 5 times. These facts are called product placement. Nowadays, more and more filmmakers use product placement to increase their revenue and then replace generic props with brand-name drinks, restaurant locations, or designer clothing. But what are their strategies?

Firstly, film characters are not allowed to pronounce the name of the brand but the products can be introduced in the film, such as a Coke can or an Apple computer. They are showed ingeniously at intermittent times throughout the story. This is called seen but not said strategy. In this way, you can see James Bond drink from the famous green bottle Heineken, but you will never hear this word out of his mouth.

Then, the product can be integrated in the character’s daily life, which is called character integration strategy. The character, by using a product as part of his daily life, shows his attachment for the product and, by this way, shows the audience his endorsement for that product. In almost every pop music video, you can find the Beats by Dre speakers. Thus, in Miley Cyrus’ music video We can’t stop, you can see Miley Cyrus switch on the speakers and bring them with her everywhere. You can also find the speakers in Nicki Minaj’s video for the song High school.

The last strategy is the plot integration. It means that the product does not appear in the background of a scene, but it becomes a central plot element. This strategy is a much more complex one because filmmakers have to be careful not to turn the film into a product advertisement. For instance, plot integration was used in Toy Story with the toys such as Barbie, Hot Wheels and G.I. Joe figures. In the Herbie films, the famous Volkswagen Beetle racing car is the central plot element.

In conclusion, filmmakers integrate products in their films to increase their revenue but they cannot include them haphazardly. They follow strategies, which are seen but not said, character integration or plot integration.

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