PUNCHING AT PROMO PLACEMENT
Our discussion of camera-ed brands starts with the Pay Per View Mayweather-Pacquiao fight fiasco May 2nd (where our wallets took the “hardest hit” of the night at $100). Centered on the mat floor was a Tecate (a Heineken owned Mexican beer) logo. Having outbid Corona (by $400,000) it was the fight’s beer sponsor. Then, came Paramount promoting its 2 wannabe Summer Blockbusters (Mission Impossible 5 & Terminator 5.) on either side of Tecate. Weinstein Co also promoted its upcoming boxing flick, Southpaw (with its star Jake Gyllenhaal as a roving product placement of sorts).
The summer movie season is a new season and reason for $ucce$$ every yr. There will be 20± flicks with blockbuster potential. Their reels will roll from 75 min to 150 min each with production & marketing costs cash registering b/t $200 M to $300 M. Domestically, each will box b/t $100 M- $200 M. The foreign box may well avg another $200 M to $300 M per. (Given a midpoint of $400 M for hypothetical TOP Global Box summer flicks with an avg of $8 per tix, we estimate that 50M± tix will be sold per TOP 20± film). While all these $$ are very impressive, we offer that these #s/$$ are not nearly as impressive as the fact that Americans are exposed to 3000 brands per day whether from billboards, from inside their billfolds, from their “mailed” medical bills, from Facebook, from their blue jean patch pockets or from their baseball/basketball caps, etc. That # yields a yearly total of 1.05 M± per. That means that adult America is blessed with 189 B± brand IMPRESSIONS each yr. WOW!
The tie b/t product placement and movies is long & storied. In 1927, Best Pic Oscar winner Wings, had an extended scene with a ½ eaten Hershey’s (Terry O’Reolly, CBC, 4/25/2015). NO FLICKS have ever done product placement than the Bond’s franchise. NOBODY drives a certain car or drinks a certain drink better than 007. Though his martini is SHAKEN (not stirred) his brand of vodka has changed over the yrs. (Absolut, Smirnoff and Stolichnaya all have been sponsors.) In 1995, BMW spent $3 M to replace Bond’s Aston Martin with its Z3 (BMW correspondingly had a $240 M lift in sales). Bond’s 1999 flick “The World Is Not Enough” broke all records by selling $100 M worth of product placements.
In Casino Royal (2006) Bond preferred his martini with gin. Gordon’s Gin was an easy flow given Ian Fleming’s 1953 quote “ measures of Gordon’s,  of vodka [and a ½…], of Kina Lillet”. Further, in Skyfall (2012), Bond drank a Heineken (which reportedly paid $45 M to replace his martini). In the latest Bond movie (Spectre, opening Nov 2015) there are “new” products. (A $300+ N. Peal cashmere sweater and a “new” weapon from Bulgarian gun makers. See Brandchannel.com, 3/7/2015) The 1st Bond flick Dr. No, 1962 (with Sean Connery) was long, long b-4 “product placements” were featured cast members and part of movie lingo. If Jaws birthed the $ummer blockbu$ter, Reese’s Pieces (ET, 1982) became the 1st superstar product placement.
Apple has been a popular product on the BIG SCREEN. It was the 2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Award winner. Since 2001 Apple has been in more than 1/3 of the #1 summer movies. In Capt AM 2, the Capt and the Black Widow were deciphering a hidden message with a “Mac” in an “Apple” store. (As a superstar brand, Apple rarely pays for product placement).
Every day we see promos for bizes and their products/or services. It’s not often, however, we see a geography seriously promoted in a flick. Much of Avengers 2 was shot in Seoul. (whose government paid $4M [Daily Mail Marvel] to “portray Korea as a high-tech, modern country” while avoiding any negative portrayal of it). The film also featured South Korean star Claudia Kim as Dr. Helen Cho (who worked closely with its stars Robert Downey Jr & Mark Ruffalo). Portrayal aside Avengers 2 has been #1 in S Korea since it opened!
This summer’s #1 flick Avengers 2 is loaded with product placements and marketing “tie in’s”. Audi’s website features its TT Coupe and A3 Cabriolet with Avengers. Audi is also with Stan Lee in a video (Stan Lee Cameo School). Additionally, Avengers 2 is attached to Adidas, Beats by Dre, Dr. Pepper, Gillette, Harley Davidson (Street 750 Bike), Samsung Galaxy S6/S6 Edge cellphones, Subway & Doritos and Under Armor. Beyond Avengers 2 we find many TOP summer flicks with product placements. As a matter of fact many brands are repeat offenders. The autos (Aston Martin, BMW, Fiat, GM, Mercedes and VW) eats/drinks (In Bev & Pepsi) and other branded products (Apple, Beats by Dre, Everlast, Nike, Samsung and Sony) appear in at least 2 expected 2015 summer blockbusters. Regarding the autos in particular BMW appears in Spy. (BMW also “shows off” its supercars and superbike in Mission Impossible 5). Spy includes such spy expected vehicles as the Ferrari F430, and an Aston Martin DB9. (These matches are very important). The Mini Cooper is on display in Pixels. (It is similar to its placement in The Italian Job).
Ted 2’s product placements are directed at young R rated target viewers with Bud, Bud Light, Stella Artois, Jack Daniels, XBox, DirectTV, Slim Jim’s, BIC lighters and Super Bowl Champ Tom Brady making an appearance. And, “King” LeBron James is seen in Trainwreck holding a SmartWater. Pitch Perfect 2 connects with almost every product that a 16 yr old girl wants: Nike, Apple iPhone, VW’s Bug , Covergirl, Pantene, Voss Water, Beats by Dre, HP laptop, MTV and Dave & Busters.
Let’s be very clear and certain about the VALUE of product placement. It is very unclear and uncertain! In the Dec 14, 2013 issue of Priceonomics, it was estimated that the total spending on product placement had reached about $7.55 B in 2010 (with an annual compounding of almost 13%). The VALUE of those placements was calculated at “nearly” $14B (with an 18.4% avg growth). Given the same compounding and growth data the placement spending will be about $26B at the end of 2015 with a reach VALUED at $33 B±. It’s clear the SPEND: REACH VALUE ratio currently favors product placement. If marketers/advertisers are inevitably concerned about the “spent-reach” ratio it’s time to find another occupation. Look, it’s always about DRIVING SALES! With the VALUE of “conventional advertising” diminishing however, PRODUCT PLACEMENT is a promising tool. The MATCH of the correct product with the appropriate flick to the best possible character as it seriously connects to the desired audience profile is MANDATORY. We favor the South Korean approach to prescribing an outcome. Additionally, we suggest that pre and post measures be taken to make sure the desired outcomes occur with “make good” clauses being contractually stated.
The Director’s Look?!
A recent blog post (Slate Magazine) talked about movie directors wearing BLANK baseball caps. This “trend” became so popular that in 2012 Calvin Klein started selling its “Director’s Cap”. We wonder what New Balance (Ted 2) or Under Armor (Avengers 2) would say if they saw Seth McFarlane or Joss Whedon with a Nike cap? (“Cool heads” prefer plain caps that offend no one.)
Imitation of LIFE!?
Many of us learn by seeing & hearing. Upon entering the US, immigrants are advised to watch TV & “go to the movies” to learn our language, culture, & customs. Similarly, when our movies run in foreign lands, the natives learn about us, our people, places and yes, our products. As a matter of fact isn’t that part of the charm, the charisma of America, its PRODUCTS?!