Union defines product placement as "any form of audiovisual commercial
communication consisting of the inclusion of or reference to a product, a
service or the trademark thereof so that it is featured within a program."
Product placement is one of the most effective methods of advertising because it has
a viewing audience of nearly 100 percent. While TV advertisers lose many viewers who take breaks during commercials, movie viewers pay attention to product advertisements because they are engrossed in the film. The growth of product placement in movies has been phenomenal over
the past decade. The U.S. is the largest and fastest growing paid product
placement market. It generated revenues of $1.5 billion in 2005, $2.9 billion in
2007, and $3.7 billion in 2008.
Lets look at five
exceptional examples of product placement in Hollywood movies that stood out in
terms of seamless integration with the storyline and benefit to the brands.
1. Wilson (Movie:
Castaway) - "Castaway" took the
concept of product placement to another level by using a brand name for a
character. When Chuck (Tom Hanks) gets stranded on an island, he finds a Wilson volleyball from one of the boxes that was in the
plane. He paints the ball and turns it into a friend
and companion named "Wilson." One of the
original volleyballs used in the movie was auctioned for $18,500 to the ex-CEO
of FedEx Office, Ken May. Wilson launched a joint promotion at the time of the
films release boasting the fact that one of its products was co-starring Tom
2. Sears (Movie: Man
of Steel) - The 2013 blockbuster "Man
of Steel" holds the record for the most occurrences of product placement in a movie. Apparently, the producers signed around 100 deals with promotional
partners. One prominent example of product placement in the movie is a Sears store. Supermans father uses Craftsman tools and works
at Sears. One scene includes a Sears store being blown up.
Sears used this opportunity to create a Guinness World Record for the largest
number of people assembled in one place dressed as Superman by gathering 566
employees in Superman costumes at the companys headquarters.
3. McDonalds (Movie:
Pulp Fiction) - The 1994, Quentin Tarantino movie "Pulp Fiction"
is arguably one of the best movies ever made. One bit of iconic
dialogue centers on McDonalds.
While discussing cultural differences among nations, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) reference the Quarter Pounder and Big
4. Omega (Movie:
Casino Royale) - Product placement in James Bond movies isnt
new. Omega is one brand with a long history of association with the Bond films. It
started in 1995 with "GoldenEye," in which Pierce Brosnan wore an Omega Seamster
Quartz Professional watch. The trend followed as Brosnan flaunted different models of Seamster in later films. Daniel Craig, the
current 007, has also worn the Omega Seamster in all of his Bond
movies and even mentions the brand name Omega in
5. Starbucks (Movie:
Youve Got Mail) - The
1998 romantic comedy "Youve Got Mail" famously placed two brands in the
storyline--AOL and Starbucks. In the movie, Tom Hanks is shown drinking coffee
at Starbucks and even makes a reference to the coffee giant in the dialogue: "The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people
with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy
one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc.
So people who dont know what the hell they are doing or who on earth they are
can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining
sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino."