Strategic Product Placement Entertains Audiences Instead of Saturating Them

Ray Donovan's Cadillac CT6

Brand saturation happens. The average consumer sees 6,000-10,000 ads every day. So how do you generate enough exposure without advertising to the point of annoyance? 

Product placement is the ultimate non-irritant because it’s the opposite of a traditional commercial that pulls people away from the story. That’s why all advertising frequency capping best practices vanish into thin air when you leverage it. For example, General Motors (who works with product placement agency BENlabs) does 450 product integrations for a combined total of 2.5 billion impressions every year, on average. Bumblebee, the fan-favorite Chevy Camaro in Transformers? Yup, he’s a product of product placement. So is Ratchet, the Hummer H2 rescue vehicle, Jazz the Pontiac Solstice, and Ironhide the GMC Topkick. 

They’re not all that obvious, though. Watch Showtime’s hit Ray Donovan and you’ll see the title character hop in and out of a Cadillac CT6. In fact, this placement was designed to get audiences familiar with the then-new CT6 as part of GM’s overall launch strategy. 

Speaking of strategy, that’s what great product placement is. It strategically places products and brands on sets and in plots to get them in front of large audiences, without those audiences saying “Ugh, this again.”  

The key is to make sure your placement makes sense, ultimately driving the story forward versus distracting the viewer from the content. Working with production partners requires trust, to know they understand the power of storytelling and know how to avoid product placements that are over the top, distracting, and even downright cringey. 

So, forget that slippery slope into saturation. You won’t come anywhere near it with product placement done right.  

Interested in learning more? See how Product Placement enriches stories!  

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