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Cocktail Of Brands In Movies

Marketers have to realise that product placement is an art and wrong approach could hurt emotions of audience, writes Harsh Pamnani

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Many people don't like taste of alcoholic drinks and try to avoid them, but when alcoholic drinks are mixed with other ingredients such as soda, juices etc. and served as cocktails, then people look at them through different lenses. Not only among casual drinkers, but even among regular drinkers, the popularity of cocktails is rising. Popularity of a cocktail depends upon its ingredients and how they taste together. It is easier to serve ingredients separately, but mixing them together is an art, which makes a cocktail not only popular & expensive as compared to its ingredients, but also much more acceptable to people, who would have avoided individual alcoholic drinks.

 How do you feel when TV commercials break into your favorite programs or telemarketing phone calls interrupt you in middle of your meetings or bill boards with advertising messages try to take your attention while driving? Usually, you don’t like them and try to avoid them. Marketers use these channels with a hope that they can snatch your attention away from whatever you are doing and can create favorite brands. But in this new era of busy and fast paced life style, people get annoyed by interruptions in the form of unexpected advertisements. With time, many popular advertising channels are losing their appeal and it is getting tougher for marketers to get their advertisements noticed by people.But there is an interesting fact. Today’s consumers try to save a few seconds by ignoring telemarketing calls, a few minutes by skipping TV advertisements, but they do take out few hours to watch interesting movies. Movies are prominent sources of entertainment and their casts & stories could build long lasting emotional connect and could influence the decisions & perspectives of audiences. People remember good movies’ stories & sometimes try to copy main characters’ dialogues, actions & style etc. in their real lives.  Product placement is a form of advertising in which branded products are incorporated into entertainment mediums such as movies. It is a subtle and indirect form of advertisement that leverages actors to influence and convey messages relevant to consumers. This form of advertising strategy helps brands to build their reputation and influence customers to make their buying decisions based on feelings associated with characters who used respective products. Any product can fulfill the utilities, but products of brands, shown around or used by popular characters in movies, can establish emotional connect with audience and fulfill their self-esteem while buying these products.   

Apple MacBook in Movie – Fast Five (Picture Source :

Let’s have a look at a few popular brands using product placement. The first decade of this century can be considered as the decade of turnaround and re-establishment of Apple’s popularity. Apple has simplified decision making for consumers when they are planning to buy products in highly crowded and competitive industries such as personal computers, music players, smart phones etc. One of Apple’s big marketing secrets is placement of its products in popular TV shows and movies. Between 2001 and 2010, Apple launched a few of its most significant products and during this decade Apple’s products appeared in one third of all number one movies–112 of the 334 films at the U.S. box office. Apple has won awards for product placement multiple times including this year, for appearing in 9 of the 35 films that topped the U.S. box office in 2014.

 Apple is not the only company, whose products have been shown in popular movies. Many other global companies such as Nike, Coca Cola, and Ray-Ban etc., and even many Indian companies such as Pidilite and Maruti have used this marketing channel to popularize their brands Fevicol in Dabangg2 and Maruti in Mere Dad ki Maruti respectively.  

 Fevicol Se song in Dabangg2 ( Picture Source :

According to PQ Media, product placement is the smaller, but faster-growing segment of branded entertainment with global revenues of around $10.58 billion in 2014. Presence of brands in the content of movies is advantageous for both brands and movies. Based on the partnership type, brands can contribute to movies’ revenues, cost reduction & marketing, and in return movies can provide good visibility to brands. Product placement is a soft sell strategy through which brands can build awareness, create trust, associate with celebrities, demonstrate their usage in real life scenarios and can increase chances of increasing their sales.

 Though both cocktails and advertising in the form of product placements are gaining popularity, but before assuming anything as the next hit formula, marketers have to realize that product placement is an art and wrong approach could hurt emotions of audience. Strong cocktails can wake up the drinker next morning with headache and ingredients such as overdose of sugar, artificial flavors, high fat content etc. could have negative impact on health in long run. Similarly, bombarding audience with lot of brands in movies could annoy audience and affect their emotional connect with movies and their stars.  

Harsh Pamnani is former Senior Manager at TiE Mumbai and an alumnus of XLRI, Jamshedpur.LinkedIn Profile: handle: @pamnani_harsh

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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advertising product placement Harsh Pamnani

Harsh Pamnani

The author is a Marketer & Author. He is an alumnus of XLRI, Jamshedpur

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