I've just drafted a very brief response to Haymarket about the Product Placement issue that's kicking around at the moment. It's intentionally short, but I wanted to save my initial thoughts for posterity. It's going to be interesting to see how things pan out.
Will brands pay for
products in Corrie rather than a TV ad spot? No.
Will some pay for products in Corrie as well as their usual TV ad spot? Yes.
Product placement is a channel like any other, and like any other the key to successfully marketing a product using that channel is relevancy. If it is relevant for a brand to be placed in a suitable TV programme, then a good agency will do that. If it’s not relevant, then they shouldn’t.
As with the recent glut of brands wanting “a social media campaign” we can be sure that some brands will now approach their agencies and want their products placed in TV programmes. This is the point that will sort the wheat from the chaff.
If it’s relevant, a
good agency will do it. Less good agencies will place their clients brands
without strategic thinking and we’ll end up in a similar situation to the
social media world: irrelevant, ill-conceived campaigns that make it difficult
to see the strategically relevant campaigns that truly add value to a brand.
The intricacies of this channel will play a vital part of the success of campaigns. Will brands have control over how the placement works? What about how overt the placement is? Will there be a number of agency representatives when Corrie is filmed and will they have a say in how a specific scene is shot? And what of the psychological and moral implications of promoting a brand in this way? Will it only be Corrie, or will factual programmes be used too?
These issues will be ironed out as the channel matures, but they’ll be ironed out in public, with an expectant audience.