Product Placement in Movies – an entertaining mash-up of commercials?

With the internet changing consumer´s habit of watching TV, normal old-fashioned ads lose their affectivity as hardly anyone watches them anymore. People start zapping to other TV programs, record their favorite TV-series to fast-forward through commercials or simply watch it on the internet where there are no more commercials left. Therefore, brands had to come up with new strategies to ensure they can place their products.

Product Placement in TV shows and movies have existed for a long time, but in the past decade their importance has increased dramatically. One of the “kings” of product placement is James Bond, with his Aston Martin, Omega, Heineken, Sony… you name them. About 100 million dollars is the amount received by the producers of each James Bond movie for product placement. But where is this leading us?

Product Placement explained

Morgan Spurlock opens consumer´s eyes with his documentary “The greatest movie ever sold” he shows, how product placement works and how powerful it can be – for both a producer and brands.

But is product placement morally acceptable? During old-fashioned commercials we are aware of the presence of advertisements, however with product placement in movies and TV shows, this awareness is missing and therefore one might think that it is an evil marketing trick. As this post argues, although people might be aware of the presence of product placement, this “does not immune one to deception.”

Product Placement – an evil invention of marketing experts?

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There are many critical voices about product placement, but as the internet and society are changing, marketing experts were forced to find new ways to reach their audience, and why not combine it with an entertaining movie? Gren Blackall argues in his post, that through product placement movies lose their integrity and characters, such as James Bond turn into “a brand selling a brand”.

In Morgan Spurlock´s movie “The greatest movie ever sold” a producer even argues that some of the brands sponsoring the movies may ask for changes in the movie and the producers and directors are forced to accept the brand´s wishes, because they give the money.

Morgan Spurlock really opened my eyes for this kind of advertisement and the way it works. I would definitely be more willing to accept product placement in movies if we as consumers would also be profiting from it through lower prices for movie theaters or DVDs . But – unfortunately – that is most probably not going to happen.