Product placement can be a shameless and often tactless medium for promotion or branding. Not surprisingly, it gives ammunition to those marketing haters out there... we know you're out there!
None could be more blatent than the Oscars-hosting gig where Jon Stewart whipped out an Apple iPhone and, with the world (literally millions of people) watching, commented on one of the many cool features, turning it sideways to watch a movie clip in wide screen mode. If you haven't got an iPhone I suggest you go out and grab one today! Oh dear, shameless. But my point is made. In my mind, this was a product placement powerplay, pal. (As a side note, if you cannot pronounce the letter "P" then marketing is Probably not a Potential Profession that you would like to consider).
Whilst I have yet to purchase an iPhone, I have smilingly fallen victim to product placement. Can anyone remember RUN DMC vs JASON NEVINS "It's like that!"? Well for those of you who cannot, here is a quick reminder... check it out here
If you are watching closely at the 50 second mark you will notice a brief (yet blatent) cut to some white addidas sneakers. Specifically, white with three black stripes. Let me just say for the record, I love those sneakers. So cool. Three pairs in assorted colours later, I began to realise: product placement is powerful. But why?
Haters would argue that is loses potency and legitimacy due to its shameless, and often, out of context exhibition. With this sentiment I would have to agree wholeheartedly. We are making progress here believe it or not. Product placement is only powerful in context. The context is where you will either capture or isolate your audience.
Some may argue that Stewart's allegedly shameless iPhone stunt on the world stage was all too tactless and contextually unprofitable, but think about it critically. He is literally standing on the platform, hosting an awards ceremony that is at the complete annex of the celebrity world. Aspirational celebrity endorsement has long existed as one of the most powerful promotional tools; so to stand in front- seeminlgy as the spokesperson- for all these celebrity voices and brandish such a similarly aspirational product (the iPhone), it does not take Einstein or even Seth Godin to understand the potential power here. Long sentence, yes; but small point, no. This was huge! My question is: how can you measure that kind of promotion, publicity and branding?