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Product placement

Product placement is a a promotional tactic used by marketers in which characters in a fictional play, movie, television series, or book use a real commercial product. Typically either a) the product and logo is shown, or b) favourable qualities of the product are mentioned. The product price is not mentioned nor are any negative features or comparisons to similar products. Very generally, product placement involves placing a product in highly visible situations. The most common form is movie and television placements.

For example a soft drink manufacturer will pay a movie production studio (such as Paramount) to include their product in the film. Typically the label of the bottle or can will be pointed towards the camera so it is clearly visible. The payments are based on exposure, which is the number of times the product is shown or mentioned, the duration of that exposure, and even more recently, post-2000, the inclusion of the product in the story line. If the product is actively used (such as when a leading character can be clearly seen to take a drink from the bottle or can), additional fees will be paid. Producers seek out companies for product placements as another revenue stream for the movie, which is then tied in with other promotional activities.

The most common product promoted in this way is automobiles. Frequently all the important vehicles in a movie or television serial will be supplied by one manufacturer (example: The X-Files uses Fords). Since the dawn of television automobile companies have been providing their vehicles to be used in shows.

A variant of product placement is advertisement placement. In this case an advertisement for the product (rather than the product itself) is seen in the movie or television series. Examples include a Lucky Strike cigarette advertisement on a billboard, or a truck with a milk advertisement on its trailer.

The first book that is considered a product placement project is about Bulova Watches.

Product placement is a modern version of exhibit displays. In these displays marketers would display their product at sports events, world’s fairs, concerts, or anywhere that large numbers of potential customers gathered.

See also