Product placement – what is it?

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The product placement may sound like something from another world, but in fact we all are familiar with it. Not everyone, however, beware. We are perceiving product placement whenever the director of your favourite series exposes the car brand that belongs to protagonist. It is nothing more than a hidden advertisement. Someone paid for a name or brand image of a specific product to be placed in a movie or other media in the most “subtle” way possible. Of course, the product is always presented in a good light – after all, it is what we desire as it is of the highest quality… right?

What is product placement?

Product placement is an infamous form of a surreptitious advertising. It presents a specific product or service in mass media.

Its purpose is to popularize a specific brand in such a way that the user is “unaware” of actions that have been carried out and do not perceive them as an example of typical advertisement.

Product placement aim seems to be the same as the results we obtain from whisper marketing. Its mission is to persuade the potential client that the specific product is well-known and popular by “real people”, which is not only in case of advertisement and reality it manipulates. It is why manufacturers pay for their products to be placed in mass media that is not regarded as a source of advertisement – soap operas or social media posts are an example.

Promotional material is “hidden” in content that interests many recipients.

This way, the potential client is not only convinced that the offer contains something exclusive, commonly used, but believes it carry a single piece of information about the product. It has a great chance to reach larger group of recipients rather than traditional advertisements that are often skipped or scrolled.

Where can I find product placement?

  • In sponsored articles – as well as other “paid” publications. Product placement is a basis of content marketing after all. Most of the blog articles written by copywriters advertise and present a contractor offer.
  • In films, series, as well as TV and radio broadcasts – product placement is associated with those the most often. The sponsors of a specific production pay for having their products placed in some scenes. That is why it is so obvious when those appear on the screen, for example when the heroine visits famous clothing store or if the main character drinks his favourite, famous energy drink.
  • In social media – the posts that influencers publish on their Instagram or Facebook accounts are, in fact, advertisements presented by a person who gets paid (specific rates or barters). Companies pay popular people who have obtained a significant number of followers to promote their products.

Product placement in marketing

Is the presence of surreptitious advertising a positive phenomenon in today’s world and public spaces? Our opinion will not change anything. We live in a world where almost everything is advertised – everyone tries to sell something. No wonder that product placement does not fade away since well-presented products have become one of the most effective promotion forms.

On the other hand, the rules of the game changed. Recipients know what surreptitious advertisement is, which is why modern product placement differs from the one that has evolved just a few years ago. The creators of such campaigns make sure to hide the advertising message of the project behind the creative approach to the well-promoted product.
Product placement as an element of the marketing strategy – what to pay attention to?

  • Discretion – find balance. On the one hand, your product must be noticed in the text or remain visible through any other medium, so the customer remember it. However, intrusive advertising is no longer productive! Therefore, product placement should be discreet. Beware of pathos, superlatives and overstatement.
  • Consistency – another poison pill of every surreptitious advertisement is its manner. It is not natural. The part where your product is advertised must not remain different, forcefully attached or unrelated to the other paragraphs of the article. Product placement has to be consistent with the subject or share features of a scene to be an integral part of the whole.
  • A positive tone – very important, but underestimated. Does it really matter if the film antagonist uses shaver our company produces? What is the benefit of the article that uses the name of our shampoo if the following paragraph is devoted to the products offered by our competitors? Make sure that the advertisement does not cast your product in a bad light.

Katarzyna Kebernik

Project manager at the Content Writer agency: supervises the work of copywriters and arranges the details of orders with clients. In 2018, she graduated from Polish philology at the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań. Texts are not only her work, but also her passion.

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