Product Placement in a Streaming Era

In the world of streaming services and pay-to-play, companies can no longer rely on the good old-fashioned commercial to convince us to buy their product. An increasing number are turning to product placement instead.

But this isn’t Reese’s Pieces in E.T. This is product placement 2.0

Product placement involves getting a particular product featured in a TV show/movie/game/music video. Instead of hoping people happen to catch a commercial during the appointment TV they’re not watching, brands can be sure eyes will be on their products.

This is one reason why PQ Media projects that global product placement spending rose 13.8% in 2021 over a year earlier, compared to an expected 5.9% increase in overall marketing spending.

Brands do have to walk a thin line with their placement. Too much, too obvious, that can be annoying. People want the placements to line up with the story, or at least to be a product characters would actually be able to get. Korean media has recently come under fire for arbitrary placement like Korean characters snacking on Chinese-branded food (not sold in Korea).

Digital technology is making it easier to avoid these kinds of missteps, and it’s likely the future. New tech allows brands to micro-target their product placements. For instance, a character’s snack might be Fritos in one market, but those Fritos can be digitally swapped for Funyuns in another.

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