Product placement with a little movie thrown in

Branding James Bond: Do Product-Placement Ads Work? – Yahoo! News.

Yes, Heineken paid $45 million to have their beer replace 007’s venerable (and venerated) vodka martini — shaken, not stirred. The money also paid for a scene in which the dashing duo implies the beverage is the best pale lager on the planet.

[…]Gail Tom, a professor of marketing at California State University, told LiveScience, “John Wanamaker’s assessment of the effectiveness of advertisement offered in the 1900s — ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half’ — rings true regarding the effectiveness of product placement,” said Tom, author of “Consumer Behavior: A Primer”.

The effectiveness of product-placement advertising also depends on the product and its audience. For example, no matter how many Heinekens or Big Macs James Bond consumes on-screen, Mormons and Muslims won’t buy beer, and vegetarians and Hindus won’t buy hamburgers.

Why is it so hard to know whether product placement works? Statisticians and scientists caution that correlation does not imply causation: Just because sales of a product featured in a film increase does not conclusively prove anything.

“To state that the advertisement(s) caused the change in sales,” Tom said, “you have to prove that the increase in sales is not due to countless other factors like seasonal variation, competitors’ activities, the general economy, other concomitant promotional events, changes in social value, current pop culture, and so on. To nullify these other competing explanations [can be] very difficult or impossible.”

It’s a bit annoying to see so many blatant product placements. Sometimes they work and sometimes not. But it is interesting that they don’t know IF they actually work. Could it be that one famous person has gotten their urge to buy from an ad and then THEY were influential in promoting it? Could it be even no reason or coincidence? I’m amazed at the money spent on advertising. In some cases, ridiculous products really do get purchased and popular for no good reason (I’m thinking those dumb power balance bands). So, the influence does work. Sometimes at least.

  8 comments for “Product placement with a little movie thrown in

  1. November 23, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I wonder why this article makes no mention of the Walther PPK? It’s been the traditional Bond gun since almost the very beginning, but it’s mentioned by specific name and drawn attention to several times during Skyfall. There are other firearms throughout, but the Walther PPKs are clearly and repeatedly identified as the Good Guys Guns. If Smith and Wesson/Walther had anything to do with this, I can’t find any evidence of it. On the Walther site there is no mention of Bond at all, and some guys I know who run our local gun store told me that there has been no mention of any Bond/Walther promotion.

  2. spookyparadigm
    November 24, 2012 at 6:25 AM

    The complaints about the beer are somewhat ironic, given the history of Bond and Vodka (the “shaken, not stirred” business was also because of a product placement in Dr. No, from Stoli).

  3. One Eyed Jack
    November 24, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Bond has carried a Walther for as long as I can remember. Why would they need to pay for placement?

  4. November 24, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Actually, in both the books AND in the movies, Bond has used more guns other than the Walther PPK, Besides other Walther models, he’s also used a Beretta a number of times. But yes, the Walther PPK has become pretty iconic. But there have been a lot of different kinds of firearms used.

    More than the guns, and even the drinks, I would think, it’s the cars that gather attention in the Bond films. People in the audience with me actually cheered at one point when they first showed Bond’s car in Skyfall (lets just say that it’s something that long-time Bond fans appreciate, more than the guns).

    Honestly, product placement, only bothers me when it’s done so badly/obtrusively or so out-of-place, that it literally turns the scene into a commercial. In Skyfall, I never felt like I was watching a commercial, so it didn’t bother me. Worst example I can think of, to the extent that it totally destroyed the movie for me, was in the opening scenes of “I, Robot”, where the first several minutes of the movie literally became an advertisement for Converse sneakers. The worst thing you can do in a movie is to take a person out of that movie to watch a commercial. I mean, the very reason I pay to go to the movies, rather than watch the the boob-tube is that I can sit in a dark room and be immersed and absorbed into a different world.

    Sometimes, what films do as an alternative to product placement, is to place made-up products into their films and television shows. A couple that immediately come to mind are Cheesy Poofs, and Morley-brand cigarettes. (I don’t know if Morley cigarettes originated in the X-Files, but lots of different TV shows and Movies have done product placement of that fictional brand).

    This is not a new thing. For example H.P. Lovecraft mentioned a book called “The Necronomicon” in his writings, a book that didn’t actually exist. Consequently, so many different people would call up book stores making requests for that book, that several different volumes of the Necronomicon eventually were written and published (either anonymously or under pseudonyms). So that’s a case where product placement was SO successful, that they actually had to invent a product to be sold.

  5. November 24, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    “Actually, in both the books AND in the movies, Bond has used more guns other than the Walther PPK, Besides other Walther models, he’s also used a Beretta a number of times. But yes, the Walther PPK has become pretty iconic. But there have been a lot of different kinds of firearms used.”

    Yes, I know. Everybody knows that. It was simply curious how many times Walther was mentioned by name during Skyfall, even in the trailer. And apparently I was not the only person who found it curious as I have since found articles about it in advertising journals.

  6. November 24, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Because there might be another brand of firearm that WOULD be willing to pay. Heineken payed about 1/3 of the production cost of Skyfall to have their beer all over the place. If Taurus or Ruger was willing to pay that much to have Q offer up one of their pistols in the next film do you think Hollywood would say ‘no’?

  7. November 26, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Handgun companies usually shy away from advertising their products being used to kill people, good or bad. Not always of course (Glock seems to revel in it).

  8. November 26, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    Very true and honestly, I never saw any beer in the movie, just the scotch product placement.

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