Product Placement as Effective Marketing Tool: 10 Tips for Successful Placement in TV or Film

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Product Placement Tip No. 1: “The Secret of My Success.” Join in the game.

Could there be anything headier than seeing your designs or products adorning stars like Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, or Angelina Jolie? Until you’ve scored a great placement, you can’t know the crazy and myriad ways it can help your brand. The cost-benefit ratio makes it a no brainer. But, like the lottery, you have to be in it to win it.

Product Placement Tip No. 2: “Bend It Like Beckham.” Be flexible.

Being flexible can score you big points with a production. Your product might be almost perfect for their needs. But if you can offer to change the color, size, logo, or dimensions, doing so could win you the placement.

Product Placement Tip No. 3: “Beat the Clock.” Timing is critical.

Filming deadlines are tight. When costume or set designers ask for something, they usually need it yesterday. No matter how stellar your product, if you can’t deliver it on time you’ll be blacklisted. Make triple-sure you can fulfill a request before you say yes.

Product Placement Tip No. 4: “Show Me The Money.” Be patient, and the rewards will come.

If you want instant gratification, then product placement may not be for you. The lead-time for seeing your products in a show can be one month to one year, depending on the production schedule. However, the payoff is that millions of consumers may see your product associated with their favorite show or character.

Product Placement Tip No. 5: “The More the Merrier.” Be prepared for productions to request multiple items.

Duplicate items are requested in case the product gets lost or damaged, or the character has a stunt double who is shooting at the same time. Productions are not willing to take the risk of holding up a day of shooting to find that missing sweater that was already established as the one the lead actress wears every day.

Product Placement Tip No. 6: “It’s a Mad Mad World.” Show respect for the professionals on set; shooting a scene can be a very busy and crazy time.

You may be dying to know if they’re going to use your product, but take a deep breath and be respectful. Production schedules are usually hectic, and you don’t want to be a nuisance. Give your new contacts time to respond; don’t flood their inboxes with “checking in” emails.

Product Placement Tip No. 7: “Catch Me If You Can.” Understand that your product may not make it on screen, or it may appear just for a fleeting moment.

Even though your product may have been used in the shooting, there are many reasons it may not end up on screen. The scene may be cut from the movie, it may only appear for a split second, or the actress may be wearing your watch but they show her only from the shoulders up.

Product Placement Tip No. 8: “The GIFT.” Also give to those who do the work.

Costume designers and prop masters are just as influential off the clock as they are on set. Giving them your product as a gift could mean it ends up in a trailer where your favorite cast member goes for hair and makeup. Or if your contact uses your iPad case or wears your necklace, it might end up on their personal Instagram or Pinterest stream. They are influencers on and OFF the set.

Product Placement Tip No. 9: “Thank You…” Two simple words go a long way.

After a successful placement, make sure to send a personal and heartfelt thank-you. It’s the right thing to do  and they’ll be more likely to come back for more.

Product Placement Tip No. 10: “As Good as It Gets.” Congratulations. You scored a successful placement!

Did you spot your product on TV or in a movie? Congrats! Share your placement on your social media accounts. Even old placements get a big response on Social Media on Throwback Thursday. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. But beware, networks will not share photos or stills of scenes for commercial use. That added benefit is usually saved for sponsors who pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for those opportunities.

Product Placement 101: Who are these people?

Ever wonder about the difference between a costume designer, production designer, a set decorator, and prop master?

  • The costume designer chooses clothing, shoes, and jewelry to express the characters’ personalities. He or she coordinates closely with the hair and makeup stylist and set designer to make sure the clothes and accessories work in each scene, and with the director to ensure they mesh with the overall vision. They help tell the story and define the character through wardrobe and accessories.
  • The production designer is responsible for setting the scene and the overall vision for the sets. Permanent furniture, backdrops, and color schemes are the production designer’s domain. He or she designs and creates the set.
  • The set decorator is responsible for everything that is placed on a set. Furniture, bedspreads, pillows, vases, table settings, flowers, artwork, lamps, televisions—anything on set that is not moving or held is put there by a set decorator.
  • The prop master is responsible for property—everything from cell phones to water bottles, sunglasses to cameras, computers to food. If an actor is holding it, the prop master is responsible for it.

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5 Ways to Leverage a Media Placement

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Your business was just featured in the media – awesome! Great PR can help spread the word about your company, boost credibility and ultimately bring more business through your doors.

But you’re not done. A favorable media placement can be extended in a variety of ways, both online and offline. But, you need to act quickly before it becomes old news. Here are five ways to get max value out of your press coverage:

1. Get social. Share the media placement with your social media networks. Timeliness is key, so do this as soon as possible. With any luck, you’ll get a few virtual pats on the back from your followers.

2. Update your website. Highlight your proudest PR hits on your site’s home page. It can be something as simple as just the media outlet’s logo linked to the story (for example, “As Featured In XYZ Magazine”). Even if you already have a separate press section on your site, not everyone will necessarily visit that page. You want your latest achievement to be front and center.

3. Send an email. Launch a special email with a link to the media placement to customers, vendors and any other groups you think might be interested in the good news. Use this as an opportunity to thank them for their support, too. If it’s an online placement that has social media sharing tools and/or comments enabled, encourage them to share with their social networks and chime in on the conversation.

4. Promote on the floor. If your media placement is an article or blog post, get a picture frame for it and show it off on the wall of your store or lobby. Or, if you’ve got several clips under your belt, consider putting printouts in a nice portfolio book and leave it out in your waiting or reception room table. Wouldn’t you rather customers flip through that versus an outdated copy of US Weekly?

5. Arm your sales staff. If you have a sales team, have them bring color copies of the media placement as part of their leave-behind packets in meetings with prospects, at trade shows, etc. (make sure you have reprint permission first). They’ll appreciate having their sales pitch endorsed and validated by a credible media source.

You work hard to get favorable coverage in the media; get the most out of it with these five ideas!

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