Have you ever noticed that some movies and TV shows will have blatantly obvious parodies of real products, companies, or people? For example, Nickelodeon TV shows will have “Pear” products instead of Apple products, and they go to Skybucks instead of Starbucks. Now, on the other hand, have you realized that some movies and TV shows will clearly have real products with their labels pointing straight at the camera even if it has nothing to do with the plot? The difference between the two is one is using product placement and the other, iCarly, is not. Product placement is the insertion of real products in fictional movies, TV shows, books, and plays.
Product placement is by no means a new promotional tool, however today, marketers are looking for alternative approaches to communicate with their target market. Though one may think product placement is a casual process, it certainly is not. In order for marketers to plug their brands into movies and TV shows, they are paying $25 billion dollars, give or take, per year. With that being said this often times is cheaper than paying for a 30-second spot for a commercial, in addition to production. Another benefit product placement has over traditional advertising such as commercials; people do not have the opportunity to ignore it by skipping over it. While product placement is clearly beneficial to both the brand’s company and to the movie or TV show that it is being plugged into, there are arguments that many consumers are easily annoyed by it. For this reason, marketers need to ensure that they are not overdoing it when it comes to product placement so that consumers do not end up disliking that their brand.
The Coca-Cola Company is an American historical multinational beverage corporation and manufacturer, retailer and marketer of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. The company is best known for its product Coca-Cola, a carbonated soft drink often referred to as Coke. Today, aside from its namesake Coca-Cola beverage, the company sells more than 350 brands in over 200 countries.
Coca-Cola is one of the most visible brands in Movies and TV. Coca-Cola has a relatively long list of product placement appearances. One of its most obvious plugs is in American Idol, one of the most popular shows in American television that hosts a competition to find new solo singing talents. Coca-Cola was one of American Idol’s first sponsors and by season 7 its sponsorship deal rose to $35 million dollars. The show brought Coke to viewers both young and old, by being displayed everywhere, including in the hands of top pop icons, or in between songs when contestants and hosts are shown in the “Coca-Cola Red Room” rather than a traditional green room. Another TV show, that Coca-Cola has managed to plug itself into in a more subtle way than American Idol, is the highly popular, American television sitcom, Friends. Cans of Coca-Cola and Diet Cola were placed either on a table or in a main character’s hands multiple times throughout the 10 season sitcom.
Coca-Cola has also held a recurring role in movies through the years, dating back to the early 1900s. Coca-Cola has been spotted in silent and foreign films, critical favorites and big-budget blockbusters. Coke has been placed in movies in many different ways. Sometimes it is a Coca-Cola sign, cooler or vending machine, like in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, and sometimes characters are talking about or drinking Coca-Cola like the main character, actor Chris Pratt, in the 2015 film, Jurassic World. Overall, The Coca-Cola Company has, in my opinion, succeeded in their product placement efforts.