Product Strategy

Product Placement

What is Product Placement?
Definition of Product Placement
Product placement refers to advertisers deliberately embedding real branded products and associated services offerings directly into film and television entertainment programs' organic scene settings. This subtly seeks to influence viewer consumer perceptions by building positive emotional associations through implicit context and perceptual emotional manipulation, leveraging the power of storytelling indirectly. This approach is often used where traditional interruption advertisements commercials get frequently rejected or skipped by audiences conditioned to avoid legacy overt marketing messages tactics.

Product placement is a crucial aspect of product management and operations. It refers to the strategic positioning of a product within a market or media content to increase its visibility and appeal to potential customers. This practice is widely used in various industries, from entertainment to retail, to subtly advertise products and services.

Understanding product placement involves delving into the realms of product management and operations, as the success of this strategy heavily relies on effective product development, distribution, and marketing. This article will provide an in-depth exploration of product placement, its role in product management and operations, and how it is implemented in real-world scenarios.

Overview of Product Placement

Product placement is a marketing strategy that involves incorporating products or brands into different forms of media, such as films, television shows, video games, and even books. The aim is to promote these products or brands subtly, without the audience feeling like they are watching an advertisement.

The concept of product placement extends beyond media and entertainment. In retail, product placement can refer to the strategic positioning of products within a store to maximize visibility and sales. This can involve placing products at eye level, near the checkout counter, or next to complementary items.

Types of Product Placement

There are several types of product placement, each with its unique characteristics and objectives. These include visual product placement, where the product is visible but not necessarily the focus of the scene; verbal product placement, where the product is mentioned or discussed; and plot placement, where the product plays a crucial role in the storyline.

Another type of product placement is associative product placement, where a product is associated with a particular character, event, or theme. This type of placement aims to create a strong association in the viewer's mind between the product and the context in which it is placed.

History of Product Placement

Product placement has been a part of media and entertainment for a long time. One of the earliest examples of product placement can be traced back to the 19th century, when Jules Verne sold naming rights to shipping and transportation companies in his novel 'Around the World in Eighty Days'.

In the modern era, product placement became more prevalent with the advent of television and cinema. One of the most famous examples is the placement of Reese's Pieces in the movie 'E.T.', which led to a significant increase in the candy's sales.

Role of Product Placement in Product Management & Operations

Product placement plays a vital role in product management and operations. It serves as a tool for promoting and positioning a product in the market, which is a key aspect of product management. Furthermore, it influences various operational aspects, such as inventory management, distribution, and sales forecasting.

Product placement can also provide valuable market insights. For instance, the reaction of the audience to a product placement can give clues about consumer preferences and behavior. These insights can be used to inform product development, marketing strategies, and operational decisions.

Product Promotion and Positioning

Product placement is a powerful tool for product promotion and positioning. By placing a product in a specific context, marketers can create a desired image or perception of the product in the minds of the consumers. This can help differentiate the product from competitors and position it in a way that appeals to the target market.

For example, a luxury watch brand might place its products in a movie featuring wealthy and successful characters. This can help position the brand as a symbol of success and luxury, appealing to consumers who aspire to these qualities.

Operational Aspects

Product placement can also influence various operational aspects. For instance, a successful product placement can lead to increased demand, requiring adjustments in inventory management and distribution. It can also impact sales forecasting, as the expected exposure from the product placement needs to be factored into sales predictions.

Moreover, product placement can involve collaborations between different parties, such as the product company, the media production company, and possibly other stakeholders. This requires effective coordination and communication, highlighting the importance of operations management in executing product placement strategies.

Implementing Product Placement

Implementing product placement involves several steps, from selecting the right product and media platform to negotiating placement details and evaluating the effectiveness of the placement. Each step requires careful planning and execution to ensure that the product placement achieves its intended objectives.

It's important to note that product placement should be subtle and natural. The product should fit seamlessly into the context in which it is placed, without disrupting the audience's experience. If the product placement feels forced or out of place, it can have a negative impact on the audience's perception of the product and the brand.

Selecting the Product and Media Platform

The first step in implementing product placement is selecting the product and the media platform. The product should be relevant to the context in which it will be placed, and the media platform should reach the target audience. For instance, a tech product might be placed in a sci-fi movie, while a fashion item might be placed in a lifestyle magazine.

When selecting the media platform, it's also important to consider the platform's audience and their engagement. A platform with a large, engaged audience can provide more exposure for the product, increasing the chances of the product placement being successful.

Negotiating Placement Details

Once the product and media platform have been selected, the next step is negotiating the placement details. This can involve discussions about the placement type, the duration of the placement, the positioning of the product, and the cost of the placement.

Negotiating placement details can be complex, as it involves balancing the interests of different parties. The product company wants to maximize the visibility and impact of the placement, while the media production company wants to maintain the integrity of their content. Therefore, it's crucial to find a solution that satisfies both parties.

Evaluating Effectiveness

After the product placement has been implemented, it's important to evaluate its effectiveness. This can involve tracking metrics such as brand awareness, brand perception, and sales performance. The results of this evaluation can provide valuable insights for future product placement strategies.

It's also important to gather feedback from the audience. This can help understand how the product placement was perceived and whether it had the desired impact. Feedback can be gathered through surveys, social media monitoring, or other forms of audience engagement.

Examples of Successful Product Placement

There are many examples of successful product placement in various forms of media. These examples demonstrate the power of product placement in promoting products and influencing consumer behavior.

One of the most famous examples is the placement of Apple products in various movies and TV shows. Apple's product placement strategy has been incredibly successful, helping the brand become synonymous with modern, stylish technology.

Apple in 'Modern Family'

In the popular TV show 'Modern Family', Apple products are frequently seen in the hands of the characters. This placement not only promotes Apple's products but also positions them as a natural part of modern family life.

The show even dedicated an entire episode to Apple's FaceTime feature, demonstrating its use in a real-life scenario. This subtle promotion of Apple's technology has contributed to the brand's image as a leader in innovative, user-friendly technology.

Mercedes-Benz in 'Jurassic World'

Another example of successful product placement is the inclusion of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the movie 'Jurassic World'. The luxury vehicles are seen transporting characters around the dinosaur park, showcasing their sleek design and advanced features.

This placement not only promotes Mercedes-Benz vehicles but also associates them with the excitement and adventure of the movie. This can help position the brand as exciting and adventurous, appealing to consumers who value these qualities.


Product placement is a powerful marketing strategy that can promote products, influence consumer behavior, and provide valuable market insights. It plays a crucial role in product management and operations, influencing product promotion, positioning, and various operational aspects.

Implementing product placement involves careful planning and execution, from selecting the product and media platform to negotiating placement details and evaluating effectiveness. With the right approach, product placement can contribute to the success of a product and the growth of a brand.