Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Product placement is a promotional tactic used by marketers in which characters in a fictional play, movie, television series, or book use a real commercial product. Typically either the product and logo is shown or favourable qualities of the product are mentioned. The product price is not mentioned nor are any negative features or comparisons to similar products. Very generally, product placement involves placing a product in highly visible situations. The most common form is movie and television placements.
Product placement on television dates to its earliest days. In movies, an early example is in the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which helped launch Reese's Pieces from Hershey Foods Corporation. The film The Truman Show explores the idea of a 24-hour on-air reality television program funded entirely by product placement.
Product placement can be seen as a modern version of the exhibit displays seen at world's fairs, concerts, sporting events, or anywhere that large numbers of potential customers gathered.
Types of product placement
The most basic form of product placement is the inclusion of a product name or logo in the foreground or background of a scene. Payments are based on exposure, including the number of times the product is shown or mentioned, the duration of that exposure, and the degree of inclusion of the product in the story line. If the product is actively used (such as when a leading character can be clearly seen to take a drink from the bottle or can), placement fees are higher. Producers seek out companies for product placements as another revenue stream for the movie, and in exchange for advertisements tied in with a film's release, a show's new season, or other event.
The most common products to be promoted in this way are automobiles. Frequently, all the important vehicles in a movie or television serial will be supplied by one manufacturer. For example, The X-Files used Fords.
The James Bond films were pioneers of product placement; the 1974 film The Man with the Golden Gun featured extensive use of AMC cars, even in scenes in Thailand, where AMC cars were not sold, and had the steering wheel on the wrong side of the vehicle for the country's roads.
A variant of product placement is advertisement placement. In this case an advertisement for the product (rather than the product itself) is seen in the movie or television series. Examples include a Lucky Strike cigarette advertisement on a billboard, or a truck with a milk advertisement on its trailer.
Product placement is also being used in books (particularly novels) and video games.
Some believe product placement is out of control and has become all-pervasive in today's society. One group known as Commercial Alert asks for full disclosure of all product placement arrangements. They feel that most product placements are deceptive and are not fully or clearly disclosed, advocating notification of embedded advertisements before and during a television program. One justification for this is that it allows greater parental control for children, who are said to be influenced greatly by product placement.
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