Inspirations, deep thoughts, surprising insights, or random ideas on how social media intersects PR.
In The Content Code, author Mark Schaefer quoted Thomas Mickey, an advertising and PR industry historian, on P.T. Barnum’s promotion technique. He said, “Barnum would have his most popular clowns and entertainers go in advance to the next city. They would be the faces on the posters and the newspaper ads and it was quite effective. That was the first example of using the power of character in the media of the day to get a consumer to take action.”
Although Schaefer is speaking of celebrity influencers, it reminds me of products placement. In essence it’s a type of influence with a different content ignition strategy. Think of the movie Sex and the City. In the movie, Carrie Bradshaw, or Sarah Jessica Parker, wears brand name sunglasses and the sale of those particular went through the roof in all retailers just because they were popular from the movies. Or think of any of the recent James Bond movies, he is always wearing a new watch that gets advertised everywhere and it becomes the watch to want, wear, or even gift.
Now let’s look at product placement in general. Most movies are full of product placement. Whether it be street signs, advertisements on buses, or as we stated before, a product being worn by the star. The movie that I will never forget that blatantly had brands EVERYWHERE, was the last Transformers with Shia LeBeouf and Rosie Huntington. Company logos were in scene after scene, especially in city scenes. It was product placement overload and it didn’t even embody what product placement should be in my eyes. Product placement should be more about the movie characters using the actual product than our screens being filled with logos of companies who couldn’t actually provide a product because it wasn’t relevant to the scene or movie.
I’m sure everyone has that one movie that prompted them to buy a product or make them remember a brand for weeks after watching the movie or show, and that type of influence is priceless.