Tag Archives: advertising

Product Placements used to Increase Brand Awareness

Product placements are not unique to today’s times of streaming services. This has been going on for years as companies seek brand recognition and association with influencing characters. The first documented example of product placement was attributed to the Lumiere brothers in 1896 when they featured soap in a film “Washing day in Switzerland.” And in the 1930s Proctor & Gamble began sponsoring daytime dramas featuring its products.

From that humble beginning, today’s product placement has generated an industry worth an estimated $23 billion today.

Why product placement? As marketers know, consumers don’t like to watch commercials. Recent research indicates that 74% of online adults in the U.S. often skip ads. This makes it critical for marketers to get their product in front of consumers in a realistic and organic way. As consumers stream more content, product placements are up and advertising spending is trending down.

The best product placements fit the scene and reflect well on the characters and the brand. No one wants to see their product blow up in the hero’s face on TV! The product doesn’t even have to be show; characters who mention the brand are still effective (verbal product placement). Viewers also respond stronger to brands place earlier in the show rather than later. (Kind of like how Super Bowl ads are more expensive in the first quarter of the game than at the end.)

Core Hydration Water seems to be in a lot of places lately. It’s distinctive bottle shape and color are in various shows on several streaming services and networks: “He’s all that,” Riverdale,” “Nancy Drew,” “Love in the time of coronoa,” “Below Deck,” and “How I met your father.”

Dell Computers tries to be in as many places as possible to highlight its products: “Succession,” The sex lives of college girls,” and “And just like that.” Zillow, the real estate site, also uses product placements and product mentions: “Dead to me,” “Grace and Frankie,” and “Never have I ever.”

What have you noticed?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show Hollywood Branded Website for examples of product placement: https://hollywoodbranded.com/
  2. Ask students to name three TV shows or movies that they recently viewed.
  3. Next, ask them to name at least three products that they can recall seeing in the show. Were those products there by accident?
  4. Show a video clip of one of the TV shows or movies. The clips can usually be found on www.hulu.com, www.youtube.com, and other sites.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team choose two products they would like to have placed in a TV show.
  6. How would these products be incorporated? What is the show/movie? What is the desired result?

Sources:  Haigney, S. (24 June 2022). Anatomy of a product placement. New York Times.; Fossen, B. (14 September 2021). Product placement is a $23 billion business and growing. Here’s why brands keep betting on it. Fast Company.

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“Stranger Things” Branding

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” has become something of a cultural phenomenon. Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in the mid-80s, it echoes the trends and styles of small town America. It’s also a marketing phenom with dozens of product placements and tie-ins.

You can order a Domino’s pizza on the Stranger Things Dominos app extension. Or maybe you would rather eat Eggos, or 3D Doritos out of a Stranger Things-themed bag. Get dressed to go out wearing Nike and Adidas shoes. Drive a Cadillac or Chevrolet. And eat at Burger King or Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Season 4 continues the marketing momentum. The marketing tie-ins for 100 brands of cars, drinks, food, and more equaled more than $15 million in advertising value. It’s not just the time on the screen that brands value. Billions of media impressions also deliver billions of dollars in media value for featured products.

Netflix claims that none of the brands and products are paid-for placements – they are part of the story and fit into the 1980s lifestyle. Some brands – such as Nike, Levi’s, and Coca-Cola – also re-released throwback products in conjunction with the show to maintain their authenticity.

And let’s not forget about the official Stranger Things official store (open for a limited time only)!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What have they observed in their purchases? Are the sizes or prices the same?
  2. View video about product placement on Netflix: https://youtu.be/UIKs0SCTxA4
  3. Outside classroom activity: Watch an episode or two of Stranger Things and list all the product placements.
  4. Show website for Concave brand tracking: https://concavebt.com/
  5. There are several good videos here on brand tracking and product placement.
  6. What is the difference between product placement and advertising?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a product placement strategy for a product of their choosing.
  8. Finally, check out the store: https://strangerthings-store.com/

Sources:  How Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ brand partnerships can turn its fortunes upside down. (27 April 2022). Fast Company.

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Finally March Madness Applies to Women’s Basketball, Too!

By chance did you watch the NCAA Final Four Basketball? It was an incredible final match-up with Univ. of Connecticut and South Carolina, with So. Carolina the final champion. What a game!

Oh wait. Sorry. Did you think I meant the men’s final? Not this year – it was the women getting some equity and coverage. Finally.

Remember last year’s disparity in how the men’s and women’s teams were treated? The issue caught fire online and the outrage caused an outside review of the NCAA’s treatment of the tournaments. The 200-page report stated that the NCAA “prioritized men’s Division I basketball over everything else” – including broadcast agreements, sponsorships, distribution of revenue, and culture.

Not only were locker rooms and equipment clearly unequal (among many other issues!), but the women’s tournament wasn’t even allowed to call itself ‘March Madness’. Only the men’s tournament could use “March Madness” branding. And we all know how powerful branding is for business.

In response to the report’s findings, there were a lot of changes made this year and you may have noticed expanded media coverage as one of the changes. It seemed as if suddenly sports journalists discovered just how powerful women’s basketball was with audiences.

The final championship game was the most-watched women’s national championship since 2004. The 4.85 million viewers on ESPN was an increase of 30% from 2019. The full NCAA Division I women’s tournament averaged 634,000 viewers/game for an increase of 16% from last year. In terms of hours of TV viewing, it was roughly 4.1 million more hours of viewing this year versus 2021!

The research report also found that NCAA has left tens of millions of dollars on the table due to its NOT recognizing the earning potential of the women’s tournament. Estimates are that the women’s tournament could bring in as much as $100 million in broadcast payments. That’s revenue that NCAA can’t afford to miss!

Think about it for a minute. The math is simple.

More viewing hours means more opportunity for marketing and advertising.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who watched the women’s tournament? Who watched the men’s tournament? Why or why not?
  2. Show video of last year’s discrepancies: https://youtu.be/ozGknW86DWA
  3. (Optional) Video of the money behind March Madness: https://youtu.be/ubqGb4_iJMI
  4. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  5. For NCAA, break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
    1. Strengths: what is company good at?
    1. Weaknesses: what needs work?
    1. Opportunities: what is going on in marketplace?
    1. Threats: what should company be wary of?
  6. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?
  7. Where would the women’s basketball tournaments fit into the grid?

Source:  Baccellieri, E. (18 March 2022). March madness faced a gender reckoning. Now everyone gets a pasta station – but what else? Sports Illustrated.; Bachman, R. (15 March 2022). A year later, women’s NCAA tournament has more teams, more sponsors and ‘March Madness’. Wall Street Journal.; other news sources.

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