Did you buy a product after watching it in a movie? Did you feel the pride of owning a product while seeing it on screen?
If not, can you recall any such cocktail of brand and storytelling as you sat as an audience in a theatre!
Placing products is common now. In ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ (1946), they showed National Geographic magazine a few times. So it began pretty early.
Then in 1953, Audrey Hepburn was seen riding a Vespa scooter in ‘Roman Holiday’ and in the Bond series, Sony, BMW and Ford were advertised majorly.
Sometimes the strategy works when it’s woven into a story and also becomes iconic. Rest of the times it is silly like Rekha showing off a washing powder in ‘Krrish 2’. But it does make a difference in sales of the brands.
‘Cast Away’ (2000), the Tom Hanks movie, showed FedEx in every frame, every 10 minutes, loud and bold.
FedEx Corp. in fact hit the product-placement jackpot with ‘Cast Away’, a movie in which Tom Hanks plays a FedEx engineer who survives four years alone on a South Pacific island.
Isn’t product placement a huge opportunity for both film-makers and brand marketers!
Entertainment is a huge business where brands seek refuge for promotion as the products so advertised leave a lasting effect on the audience.
It is a good strategy, since the tie-up benefits the producer as well as the advertiser.
In ‘Dabangg’ (2010) and ‘Dabangg-2’ (2012), one could clearly see Zandu Balm and Fevicol being advertised conspicuously.
Weren’t they money-making opportunities for both, and one could see brands dictating the lyrics too!
In 1973, ‘Bobby’ came with ‘Rajdoot GTS Bike’ by Escorts, and it became a household name.
It’s still known as the Bobby Rajdoot Bike. In 1973 only, we saw Rajesh Khanna in ‘Avishkar’, smoking 555 cigarette in almost every shot.
Shashi Jain, a film director who has also made many commercials, says – “It is helpful for both. Brands get the space and producers get the money for the film.”
It all depends upon how well the brand is woven into a script.
Understanding of the brand and sensibility of the film story are important factors which need to be balanced while dealing with in-film advertising.