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Why Product Placement in Digital Media Has Become Important

Reshu Mehrotra
Advertising acts as an oxygen for the company without which survival is nearly impossible. Read on to know more, why product placement in mass media has now become important for every company.
Marketing experts opine that for a company to not only survive but also to beat the competition, it's necessary to find out about new channels of communication.
In this fast life, where people have no time to remember advertisements, new forms of communication have to be chosen where the message has to be conveyed to the consumer in such a way that the retention rate should be high. This in turn challenges the marketers to explore new channels.
Recently, product placement has come into picture, which has attracted marketers to place their ads in mass media. This move when well presented has changed the perception of the customers.
The most popular movies help people in associating with the particular brands and enhance the revenues of the company. Like in the movie Extra Terrestrial where the alien followed Hershey's Reese Pieces to his new home. The movie made the Reese brand so popular that sales increased by 80%.

Finding the Right Place

After this successful stint, many movies got companies to sponsor their promotional events. Like in many James Bond movies, heavy advertisement of Omega watches was carried out.
Similarly in Mission Impossible, promotion of Apple Macs was shown in the movie as one of the reliable laptops used by super spy, Ethan Hunt. Even in Men In Black, Ray Ban glasses were promoted as being a part of the actor's uniform.
The product placement market is growing by leaps and bounds as not only is it earning revenues, but also the movie success rate is making it hugely popular by enhancing its demand to 5 times. The question which arises here is, what were the reasons for adopting product placement in the digital media?
The reason behind its inclusion was that people started evading ads with help of DVR and TiVo, which hurt the advertisers revenue. Because of this, the marketers decided to reinvent their marketing strategy and started placing ads in the movies and T.V. shows where the consumer could not escape it.

Incorporating Product Placement Strategy

Though this strategy was a major hit among marketers, the next step was including the ads in the T.V. shows. Many shows incorporated the ad in their show as the advertising revenue went to the production studios.
Shows like Seinfeld, which had aired a program where the ad was interwoven in the dialogs created a hilarious scene. Even shows like Survivor, which gave away Mountain Dew and Doritos to contestants increased the sales revenue of these products.
Following this suit, many shows like Apprentice, Project Runaway and Top Chef sponsored products by giving gifts to the winners. Similarly, hit shows like American Idol had judges sipping Coke and the anchor encouraging fans to download songs to their Apple iPods. Product placement was a magic potion in hands of the marketer.

Advantages and Uses of Product Placement

Product placement has several advantages for the manufacturer as well as for the actors and producers. From the advertiser's point of view, it provided a captive audience, chance to be associated with the actors famous among the masses, and convenient usage of movie stills and footage to advertise their other brands.
Even for the actors and producers, the fee they earn by featuring in the ad are a good source of income plus most of them get a lifetime chance of endorsing these brands in film festivals too. Product placement is not just featured in movies and T.V. shows, but in music videos and video games too.
In video games, the trend has emerged since 1980s where Sega was placing ads of Marlboro cigarettes in their car racing games. Similarly for Sega Super Monkey Ball, the company exclusively marketed Dole bananas in the game. The idea behind such product integration is to create a real atmosphere.
Even in music videos you can see top artists using products in their lyrics. Consider Lady Gaga flashing products excessively while singing the 'Telephone' song. It's not just one singer who is cashing on this opportunity, but there are many artists who are attracting a lot of products in their gigs.
The profit motive for the artists is that they use the revenue to offset the costs incurred while producing the video. A research firm states that the money spent on product placement in the music video grew by 8% since 2008, but the overall paid product placement declined by 3% since 2008.
As product placement didn't always find its takers like MTV, which blocks out any advertisement in the music video, the marketers turned to Internet. You Tube became a favorable destination for artists where they could upload the song with the product placement.
The main advantage here is that the brand develops a high retention rate in the minds of people when artists perform at concerts. Of course, the USP of the product integration should be that it should appear in coordination with the song, otherwise it will fail in its aim.
Product placement has certainly been effective as we are surrounded by products, which have been used in the movie, music video or in some video game. Consumers are identifying the products with the actor's name or some singer's name.
Even at the retail end, we are seeing malls endlessly advertising the product with your favorite character. This tool if properly used by the advertiser, can certainly be more powerful in terms of sales generation and will be the start of a novel beginning for a new channel of communication.