A way for modern filmmakers to acquire adequate funding for their projects is through product placement. If a production company needs an additional $50,000 for a car chase, the producers would consider offering different auto-makers the opportunity to sponsor the scene, and also provide on of their models to be used. It’s not hard to find this kind of product placement all over television and movies. One that particularly stands out to me was the Mountain Dew transformer in Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 2011. The machine was only featured in a quick scene where a vending machine is zapped into becoming a destructive robot that fires cans of its own sweet syrup. This type of advertising is commonplace among Hollywood and independent films. It’s part of the game. However, I can’t say it’s particularly effective on my purchasing behavior. I’d rather consider the marketing decisions behind the product placement. Why did Mountain Dew think it would be smart to slap their brand on a killer robot? Because every 13 year old walking out of those theaters would sprint for the nearest soda machine and kick and scream until a can of Dew dropped out.
But this type of marketing is not going to propel a brand into success. Marketers have begun a trend of “real-world” placement, where they integrate their brand into the environment of consumers. This, in my opinion, is the future of product placement. More tangible and in-your-face techniques are being implemented. This past weekend State Farm brilliantly had their “Assist” characters, who are “twins” of superstar NBA players, appear throughout the NBA All-Star Weekend. A poorly disguised Chris “Cliff” Paul appeared for a moment and dropped a few lines about how State Farm had “assisted” this weekend’s festivities. Will I go out and purchase a State Farm plan? Doubtful. But this type of live event advertising is growing as marketers push for more creative ways to integrate their brands into the public spotlight. This is fairly new territory for marketers, and we’re bound to see more this year. Traditional product placement won’t die, as marketers will always want to find creative ways to expose their products, and each new film production is an opportunity for that spotlight.
**This post was not influenced by Mountain Dew or State Farm.**