Given that we spend most of our time talking about brand strategy, positioning, innovation and insight it’s great to sometimes think about something quite different. In this case, product placement. This year product placement laws in the UK were relaxed and we spent a lot of time thinking about the implications for this. Product placement, like brand positioning, has to be got right and positioned appropriately – brands need to think about which products are best suited to which target markets, which tone of voice for different tv / films is best suited to their brand personality and which competitors they’re like to be competing with for the licence.
So, we were delighted to read Lou Ellerton’s (one of our senior consultants) comments in a recent feature article in the Press Assocation, focusing on just this and drawing comments from Morgan Spurlock, the Super Size Me star who has recently created a film documentary exposing the power of advertising and product placement..which, as if in a perfect full circle, has a sponsored title itself: ‘Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.’
In this article Lou notes that “We have the ironic situation that there are more ways than ever to market to consumers and yet it’s much harder than ever to take their attention…It’s always been seen as an almost dirty secret, because people regard it as almost a more subliminal attempt to sell to them – but the fact is it’s always taken place,” says Ellerton.
“In the 1950s, Walt Disney was having difficulty finding the backing for his first theme park, so he created a TV series called Disneyland to promote the idea of a Disneyland. So it’s nothing new.”
So…what do you think of product placement? Are there any particularly successful or overly profiteering and unsuccessful examples you’d like to share with us? As ever, we’d welcome a debate!
If you read the marketing press this week, you’ll find it hard to miss the news that Expedia has launched its new advertising campaign, anchored in ’People shaped travel’.
We were delighted to see the new campaign, which has its roots in a brand positioning and pan-European research study that The Value Engineers developed for Expedia last year.
In the past few years, of course, the online travel market has become very commoditised, particularly in the UK. As a result, brands are struggling to find ways to move beyond price and create a real sense of connection and trust among consumers used to searching across multiple sites and expecting to be stung by hidden costs. It’s great to see Expedia claiming its leadership in a way that puts a very human face on the brand.
We wish Expedia every success with the new campaign, and look forward to seeing it develop.
You might have seen the latest BMW TV ad. Narrated by Patrick Stewart it strikes me as a rather bold departure from the ‘ultimate driving machine’ narrative. It ties with the new Z4 ad and goes beyond BMW as luxury, male-focused product. Is this a sign of some potentially long-term brand strategy shift? If so, is it a good idea?
A colleague of mine, Ned Colville, commented that it also marks a shift away from BMW’s traditional “Power Brand” approach to communications (i.e. communicate the top of the range models in the knowledge that you’re going to sell whole load of mainstream 3-series) to more of a “Brand Portfolio” approach to communications; which although not unheard of, is relatively rare. See this recent Toyota ad:
What we are most likely seing is a shift in brand essence or meaning – i.e. what the BMW brand stands for in consumers’ minds. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you read into it.
And yet again we’re having a “newsworthy” week here at The Value Engineers.
Our senior consultant Ned Colville comments in today’s published Marketing Week article “I love brands” by Joe Fernandez (2 July 2009, pages 16-20) which talks about technology and electronics companies ditching their gadget-led campaigns and instead taking their brand values to the consumer. A move from a functional product led strategy to a more emotional engaging strategy.
Here is a little extract of Ned’s contribution to the article:
Earlier this week our Director of Branding, Giles Lury commented in the article ‘Riders on the Storm’ written by James Ball and published in The Grocer (27 June 2009, pages 36-40). This article discusses that despite the bad economic conditions, the major FMCG suppliers (OC&G Global 50 ranking) delivered impressive growth.
Watch the space for more of our thinking in the news.