Tag Archives: Product placement

When Celebrity Endorsements Go Bad: Adidas and Kanye West

Brands and marketers love to use celebrities to help endorse companies’ brands and products. Consumers think that if a product is good enough for someone famous that they respect, then it’s good enough for us as well. Using a celebrity’s image in advertising campaigns helps to promote products and raise its awareness. Marketers hope that the positive response to a celebrity will be passed on to the products or brands. 

There are advantages to this approach. Celebrity endorsements help consumers remember advertisements and makes a brand more memorable than a brand that lacks a celebrity. But it doesn’t always work; it can backfire on both the brand and the celebrity when things go astray. Since by their very nature, celebrities are often in the news, and are monitored constantly, a celebrity who takes an unpopular stand risks damaging his or her image, as well as the brand. Scandals can immediately provoke a negative consumer perception and harm the brand.

Celebrity endorsements can be a great boon to brands, linking brands tightly to the fortunes of the celebrity. We can think of many great partnerships and athletes and celebrities, but there have also been some notable failures.

A recent celebrity endorsement upset is the dissolution of the partnership between rapper and designer Kanye West and Adidas a result of antisemitic remarks made by West (Adidas manufacturers West’s Yeezy shoe line). The two have been in business together since 2016. The Yeezy partnership is estimated to account for 8% of Adidas’ annual sales.

While there are many news reports available about what happened and the timeline of the Adidas decision, the entire case is really about power of celebrity endorsements.

What is your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the effects of celebrity endorsements on brands.
  2. In teams, have students list both positive and negative celebrity endorsement deals.
  3. Show the 2016 announcement of the Adidas/Kanye partnership: https://www.adidas-group.com/en/media/news-archive/press-releases/2016/adidas-and-kanye-west-make-history-transformative-new-partnershi/
  4. A GMA video about the recent breakup can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/MFUH_A3mApg
  5. Poll students about their opinions about the situation.
  6. What should Adidas do to recover from the situation?

Source: Safdar, K. and Pacheco, I. (27 November 2022). Adidas top executives discussed risk of staff’s ‘direct exposure’ to Kanye West years ago. Wall Street Journal.

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Subway Wins Big on Product Placement

If a brand wants to get a customer’s attention, marketers know that there is no substitute for showing the customer how a product fits into real lives in the real world. And to show a lot of prospective consumers this at one time, brands need to show them the product on a large scale such as in a television show or a movie. This can be globally, not just in the U.S.

Take Subway’s experience in South Korea. South Korea prevents TV stations from inserting commercial breaks into programs. This limitation has caused many companies to get very creative in how they showcase their wares. As a result, Subway has placed its products, stores, and logos in at least 17 different shows. And, when the shows eventually get released on Netflix, millions more viewers will see Subway product placements.

A U.S. show, Cobra Kai, began on YouTube but moved to Netflix distribution last summer. The product placements in that show reached consumers who don’t usually watch network TV, but will stream shows, where advertising is either scarce or expensive. Top product placements on Cobra Kai were Coors, Mercedes Benz, and Dell.

Product placement has grown to more than $10 billion a year in the U.S. as brands search for new ways to reach consumers. Streaming is now estimated to account for nearly 25% of total TV viewing. While there are times that the product is very noticeable (such as BMW cars in James Bond movies), there are many times when products are used subtly (but still get our attention).Companies that are able to get their products shown on the big screen – or even a small screen – bring their products to the attention of millions of viewers, all of whom have opted-in to watching a show or movie.

What products catch your eye?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss product placement as a promotional tactic.
  2. Show BEN website: https://ben.productplacement.com/
  3. Ask students to name their three TV shows and/or movies that they recently viewed.
  4. Next, ask them to name at least three products that they can recall seeing in the show. Were those products there by accident?
  5. Show a video clip of one of the TV shows or movies. Most clips can easily be found on www.hulu.com, www.youtube.com, and other sites.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team choose two products they would like to have placed in a TV show.
  7. How would these products be incorporated? What is the desired result?

Source:  AdWeek; Media Daily News; New York Times

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Product Placements on the Screen

If a brand wants to get a customer’s attention, marketers know that there is no substitute for showing the customer how a product fits into real lives in the real world. And to show a lot of prospective consumers this, brands need to show them the product on a large scale such as in a television show or a movie.

Product placement might not be an official component of the four 4Ps (product, price, promotion, place), but maybe it’s time to add it as a fifth P. While there are times that the product is very noticeable (such as BMW cars in James Bond movies), there are many times when products are used subtly (but still get our attention).Companies that are able to get their products shown on the big screen – or even a small screen – bring their products to the attention of millions of viewers, all of whom have opted-in to watching a show or movie.

Some recent placements where the products were included as a part of the show include Apple iPhones on Fox’s “9-1-1,” Anheuser-Busch beers in Netflix’s “House of Cards,” Lavazza coffee on “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” Flaming Hot Cheetos in “Orange is the New Black,” and Pepsi in “Empire.”

Is it worth the cost to marketers? Considering that the average 30-second commercial can easily cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars, then several seconds of airplay of the product in use can easily recover the costs.

What are you seeing on the screen?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

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

Source:  Fleck, A. (9 August 2018). 6 product placements on TV so good you didn’t realize you were being sold something. Ad Week.

 

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