It’s fair to have reserved feelings about product placement in films and television, but only if you don’t know anything about it. Product placement racks up income for your production and all you have to do is show an object or two. Your production now has more money to spend and you’re still doing something you love.
Product Placement, or Product Integration, has been in films and television for decades. This type of sponsorship has allowed upcoming filmmakers to pursue their dreams without flipping burgers. And it’s the granddaddy of what Zooppa ads are: creative spins on familiar products.
Don’t believe me? Odds are, these American classics wouldn’t have seen light of day (or at least wide release) without the funds provided by their product integration.
Reese’s Pieces : E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. wasn’t the first movie to use product integration, but it’s probably the most famous. The story goes like this: Spielberg originally wanted to use M&M’s but Mars (the M&Ms parent company) found E.T. too ugly and wouldn’t allow it.
Hershey (who owns Reese’s) grabbed the opportunity. And their sales went through the roof.
Wilson Sporting Goods : Cast Away
Though Fed Ex is a big product placement in this movie, an even bigger one is Wilson Sporting Goods. Wilson, the personified volleyball of Chuck Noland (Hanks) gets a co-star credit for playing such a big role.
During the films release Wilson Sporting Goods launched their own line of parody volleyballs that have the same bloody face as the Wilson from the movie. Wilson replicas continue sell online.
Coca-Cola : Blade Runner
I chose this example because Blade Runner is – arguably – one of the best sci-fi movies of all time. It’s so well thought-out and artfully executed, and yet, here we are, seeing an ad for Coca-Cola in Blade Runner.
If it seems the world is falling because even in artful films there seems to be product placement, it’s not–and stop overreacting. Lots of films use product placement (here’s a great website that tracks them all) and when done well, add rather than subtract from your viewing experience. Product placement doesn’t have to be a “bad word.” It is, however, something that can make you stinking rich.