Product Placement


Key Facts & Quotes:

According to the Nielsen Company, product placements on broadcast television increased 39 percent during the first quarter of 2008. All told, there were 117,976 brand occurrences on cable and broadcast networks in the first three months of the year. The show with the most product placements was NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” followed by “American Idol” on Fox, “The Apprentice” on NBC, “Deal or No Deal” on NBC, and “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” on ABC. On cable television, the leaders were “American Chopper,” “Project Runway,” “L.A. Ink,” “Real World Road Rules Challenge,” and “Making The Band 4.”   (May 2008 as report by CMD’s The Weekly Spin)

In 2006 the product placement industry in film was worth $3.6 billion and should reach $9 billion by the end of the decade. (Prof Matt Soar quoted here)

“Seamless brand integration” means that books, cartoons, video games and even television shows are now the hottest vehicles for advertisers to get their products in front of a target audience. (from Washington Post news story)

“It’s deceptive advertising, it’s dishonest advertising, it sneaks by our critical faculties and plants its messages in our brains when we are paying less attention.” (Gary Ruskin, Commercial Alert, quoted in CBS News Story about TV stealth product placement)

“We’re not trying to make a two-hour commercial, but rather cast our products in an entertaining environment,” said Dave Rooney, director of Chrysler brand marketing. (Commenting on inclusion of 300C auto in new Harrison Ford pic

One of the areas of advertising that has exploded in growth is known as “product placement.”

What is product placement?
PRODUCT PLACEMENT is the process which integrates an advertiser’s product into movies and TV shows for clear, on-screen visibility. It is part of the rapidly expanding entertainment industry reaching millions of people daily through movies, television, and video.  (Source:  MMI Product Placement)

With the advent of new technologies, which allow home TV viewers, to zap (erase) commercials, advertisers have invented new ways of integrating their product into the plot of programs.

Product placement is a big business. Although it is rumored that product placement began in 1982 with Reese’s Pieces in E.T., the truth is that it had been a growing practice decades before. The film ET with all its product placements, almost 2 dozen different brands in all, helped bring awareness and discussion of the practice to the public. There are many companies whose sole responsibility it is to link products with TV and films.

This website is designed to create awareness on the part of educators and students to this increasingly important advertising vehicle.

Good starting point for teachers/students:
How Stuff Works: Product Placement
(background article, examples and links for further discovery and exploration)

Writer’s Guild Web Site      Searchable database of products in film

Student activity: track product placement

List of stadiums/arenas with corporate names

Another good resource is Commercial Alert’s website

New website tracks product placement in films

Product placement news