Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reality shows - a marketer’s dream of product placements

Any movie or TV program you watch nowadays has product placement.
Some are subtle, some are blatant.
Why is it such a winning concept?

According Nielsen Media Research, it’s a wonderful tool for brand recognition.
When combined with a commercial, brand recognition can go up by 20%.
The reason is clear. The alternative is advertising during the commercial breaks.
Problem: a reported 90% of people that record the show skip or fast forward the commercials. When watching live, only 16% doesn’t do something else for the duration of the commercial break.
The beauty of product placement is that there is no escape, since it’s an integrated part of the show.
Therefore product placement is a great way to invest your advertising dollars.
Especially reality shows are a marketer’s dream – since there is not much of a script to follow, it gives the producers lots of freedom when and how to integrate the product in the show.

There is even a special term for it: “in-program product placement”.
The uncrowned king in this arena Mark Burnett, the creator executive producer of "The Apprentice" and executive producer for "Rock Star: Supernova" two name two.
"American Idol" did wonders for Coca-Cola; the highly recognizable red-and-white paper cups with logo have their own permanent place at the judges’ table.

Product placement is not limited to the English language reality shows.
In the Telemundo show “Protagonistas de Novela 2”, in which 14 aspiring actors living together in a television studio, compete for a role on a telenovella.
Sponsors include Miller Lite, Ford, Colgate Simply White, Truth and Terra.
Product placement for Miller Lite includes a cooler filled with the beer, logo placement on glasses, refrigerator magnets and the light above a pool table, and signage in the house.

But it doesn’t stop there.
Reality show producers are now allowing companies to have highly visible product placements in turn for covering the production costs.
Just look at NBC's summer reality show “The Restaurant
The chef drives a Mitsubishi; any guest ordering a beer has one choice (Coors) and the only payment accepted is the American Express credit card.
Brands are becoming part of the reality show as an essential element of the story line.
Procter & Gamble is the producer of Herbal Essences.
In the WB reality show "What I Like About You" two characters competed for acting work in a new Herbal Essences ad.
The actual ad was then aired during the commercial break shortly after that scene.

It was only logical that the next step in this saga is sponsors creating their own reality show.
The Ford Motor Company is planning a reality show as part of its “Bold Moves” overall marketing plan.
The concept is a contest for aspiring car designers to design the next hot Ford vehicle.
The winning design would be built by Ford and shown at an auto show.
The aim is to get young drivers to change their Honda or Toyota for a hot Ford.
The investment funny enough, came from former reality show contestants.

One thing is for sure, the real reality shows are the sponsors!
And let's face it - the sponsor's products sometimes have more personality than the contestants....

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