Product placement – what is product placement?

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The English term product placement may sound foreign, but in practice each of us has encountered it. However, not everyone is aware of this. When in your favorite TV series the director highlights the brand of the main character’s car, you are dealing with product placement. Product placement is nothing more than hidden advertising. When someone paid for the name or image of a specific product to be skillfully “smuggled” in a film or other content, that is product placement. Of course, the placed item is then necessarily presented in a positive context, as something desirable and of the highest quality.

What is product placement?

Product placement is a popular form of surreptitious advertising, which involves presenting specific products and services in the mass media.

Product placement serves to popularize a given brand in such a way that the action is not perceived by the viewers as a typical advertisement.

The purpose of product placement is similar to the benefits of word-of-mouth marketing. The idea is to convince a potential customer that a given product is popular among “real people”, and not only in the reality created by advertising. That’s why you pay to place specific products in media that, according to popular belief, have nothing to do with advertising, from soap operas to social media posts.

Promotional material is “hidden” in content that is of interest to many recipients.

In this way, not only can a potential customer be convinced that a given company’s offer is something exclusive and widely used, but also the information about the product itself has a chance to reach a larger group of people than through traditional advertisements, which are often switched or scrolled.

Where can you find product placement?

  • in sponsored articles – and other ‘on request’ publications. Product placement is essentially the basis of content marketing. Most blog articles written by copywriters are intended to advertise the client’s offer.
  • in films and series, television and radio broadcasts – this is what the term product placement is probably most associated with. Sponsors of a given production pay to show their products in certain scenes. That’s why it’s so clear on the screen which clothing store the heroine of the series is shopping at and which sausages her sister eats for breakfast.
  • on social media – most of the products that influencers show on their Instagram or Facebook are de facto advertisements, presented by given people for specific rates or barter. Companies pay popular people with significant following to promote their products.

Product placement in marketing

Is the presence of surreptitious advertising in public space a good phenomenon? Our opinion will not change reality. We live in a world where almost everything is an advertisement, where at every turn someone is trying to sell us something. And since well-executed product placement is one of the most effective forms of promotion, it is no wonder that its popularity continues.

Only the rules of the game change. Recipients are getting better at detecting all kinds of surreptitious advertising, which is why modern product placement is different from the one from a few years ago. The creators of such campaigns take care to hide the advertising nature of the project as best as possible and are able to ensure a creative approach to the promoted product.

Product placement in marketing strategy – what to take care of?

  • discretion – two considerations must be properly balanced. On the one hand, your product must be noticeable enough in text or other media for a potential customer to remember it. On the other hand, intrusive advertising will have the opposite effect than intended! Therefore, good product placement should be discreet. Avoid pathos, superlatives and exaggeration.
  • consistency with the text – the other poison pill of any surreptitious advertising is artificiality. The segment advertising your product cannot seem forced and unrelated to the rest of the article or other content. The placement must be consistent with the topic of the text or the character of a given scene and constitute an integral part of the whole.
  • positive tone – a very important and often overlooked factor. So what if the hero of the film uses our company’s razor, if he is a negative character? And what good will it give us if the article mentions the name of our shampoo, if the entire next paragraph is devoted to its equivalent from our competition? Check whether the advertisement does not put your product in a bad light.

Olayinka Oni

I am a versatile content writer and copywriter with over 3 years of intense work experience. In addition to writing marketing copies, website contents, articles, blogposts, UI/UX contents, product descriptions, social media contents, and landing pages, I'm also skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), digital marketing, and business development.

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