The historic 2015 Academy Awards selfie – yes,that one, where the who’s who of Tinseltown gathered to have their photogenic faces captured by the Samsung Galaxy Note 3? Shortly after being posted by Ellen DeGeneres, the tweet went viral – temporarily disabling Twitter’s servers.
Every single celebrity photograph from this year’s Golden Globes featured a young woman bedecked in a shiny blue dress in the background holding a Fiji water bottle. Dubbed as the “Fiji water girl” by the Internet, Kelleth Cuthbert had been hired by Fiji Water to try and appear in every celebrity picture. With a tray of Fiji bottles in hand, she did just that, and people were quick to notice her omnipresence. The hashtag #FijiWaterGirl scooped up nearly 100 million impressions on Twitter.
While Samsung is king when it comes to product placements, there’s no successful plug-and-play formula for it. There’s usually two extreme courses of action which brands seem to prefer : either weave the products into a wider tapestry, or excessively hype it up so that social media obsessively feasts on it for a few days.
So how can you ascertain what would work best for your brand?
Have a goal in mind
What do you hope to achieve with the tool of product placement? Maybe you’re hoping to attract a certain demographic, or want to increase brand awareness. Maybe you want to boost brand memorability. All of these distinct goals require their own strategy and approach as well as metrics for success, so choose wisely.
PR is crucial in helping you reach your desired audiences, and connecting with them so you can carry on prolonged conversations. A solid PR strategy, combined with a good content marketing plan can help drive trackable results for your business.
It must be real
A good product placement tie-in needs to be believable to be successful. When it comes to evaluating a potential partnership, brands need to ascertain if the collaboration makes sense from an aesthetic point of view and is in line with its own values.
You shouldn’t be forcing your brand into a piece of content where it clearly does not fit – after all, you don’t want to become a topic of conversation for all the wrong reasons. This is exactly what happened to Heineken in 2012 when James Bond decided to ditch his trademark “shaken-not-stirred” martini for a chilled bottle of beer. People were quick to point out how incongruous this seemed, knowing that Bond would never drink anything which was not part gin and part vermouth.
Conversely, Kelloggs got things right with its product placement for Eggo Waffles. In Stranger Things, Eleven subsisted entirely on this breakfast item while on the run, which resulted in it becoming one of her favourite foods.
Explore new formats
For visibility purposes, brands always gravitate towards TV shows and movies for product placement. However, marketers are now becoming bolder with their choices of formats to place their products. For instance, Kanye West’s “Wolves” music video turned out to be an elaborate campaign for high-fashion Balmain, while the villain in television drama show “Killing Eve” consistently preferred Dries van Noten suits as her attire of choice.
Product placements, if done right, can generate incredible goodwill for your brand, or backfire horribly. Be smart, and put brand safety first when it comes to selecting a new partnership.
Want to fill your ad with products, some more recognisable than others? We’ll tell you what to do if you talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org