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Product Placement

In: Film and Music

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Film as the most widely-accept form of art plays pivotal role in popular entertainment. Rosenstone states that “You need more than words on page to understand how film presents the world of the past. Words aren’t fully up to the task of comprehending the film experience” (2006, p.1). Product placement (also sometimes referred to as“brand integration”) is the inclusion of branded products or identifiers through audio or visual means within mass-media programming (Balasubramanian 1994). This paper is aim to discuss the affect of product placement on film’s content and production company.

With the development of society and technology, there is no denying that the film industry has formed its own unique business model in modern world. In order to product high quality films and obtain greater profits, the film production companies have to invested heavily in its films. In other words, it is impossible to product a high level and appealing film without the support of abundant capital in some extent. In this context, a large number of sponsorship of big brand company plays a significant role in film industry. As a typical representative of new advertisement, product placement is deeply affect films in terms of content, structure, production and so on. According to the data of PQ Media (2007), it spent $885.1 million on product placement embed into the film in the world in 2006. In the meantime, the product placement which means the combination of art and commerce. It is the existence of product placement that the film production team obtained sufficient funds to achieve their expected design plan rather than trade-off everything about question of saving finds. It is clearly that only the high investment to obtain the corresponding higher returns in rule of film world. For instance, the director James Cameron costs $5 million on <Avatar> and obtain $27.1 million box office in the world. The funds of product placement brought that determines the upper limit of film and level. With the strong financial support, the film director could sign the superstar who could use his huge influence to help increase in box office and has enough ability to interpret an important role to acted protagonist in this film. Meanwhile, modern film is not limited to the traditional sense of shooting, some advance technology including of 3D technology, IMAX, high speed photography, virtual sense is greatly enriched the film’s visual effects. The work of Finnigan (2002) reveals that almost 10 million dollars to be used for product placement by Cadbury Schweppes, other company as Volkswagen is going to invest $200 million to the film of NBC universal for promoting own brand. However, the high costs of advance technology which means a patent belong to large film production companies and it will be greatly increased the cost of the film. So the director will full use the advance technology to product the most gorgeous and stunning visual to service for the film in order to provide the most perfect visual enjoyment with the funds from product placement. In addition, product placement is on behalf of sponsoring brand in the film will attracting a large number of fans who are the loyal supporter of some brands to watch the film. It is not only to help increase the box office in other area but also exchange the resource about movie fans and brand consumers. From the perspective of deeper, the product placement completed the powerful combination of art and commerce which is full advantage of their respective strengths and achieve win-win situation through promoting each other. Wiles found that “film product placement has the potential to improve brand equity, and improvements in brand equity have long been associated with increased consumer demand and increases in cash flow levels” (2009, p.46). The more advanced product placement will depend on the characteristics of film to product some derivative products of film thus forming a healthy industry chain.

From other perspective, product placement is a double-edged sword to the content of film. As we all know, every art creation should follow the rules and theory especially for the creation of film which is extremely complex and rigorous. It is frankly speaking that product placement destroy the artistic quality of film which is the soul of a film. The screenwriter depends on his own inspiration and intense emotion to writing script and convert the text to screen by the understanding of director. Therefore, the every scene of film is closely linked and it is meaningful for every props for the sake of keep the natural rhythm of film. So the emergence of product placement which is filled with stench of money in some important sense of film will greatly determined the artistic conception of film and cause irrecoverable effects no matter how much effort to dilute negative impact by director. Redondo(2012) notes that the reason of conflict between advertisers and filmmakers is how to choose the sense of product placement appearance. Advertisers want to product placement in attractive condition whereas filmmakers take opposite view. Even more unfortunately, the excessive product placement will affect the viewing experience of audience which is the important criteria for judging the film of ordinary unprofessional audience. Lancaster states that “Welcome to the world of product placement, that twilight zone in which it is hard to distinguish between the film that you have paid to see and the advertisement or promotional gimmick that you might have wanted to avoid, if anyone had given you a choice” (2005, p.95). In other words, the attention of audience will be dispersed by product placement and it is hard to concentrate on movie itself. Moreover, the inappropriate product placement is convey to the audience a wrong message what is greatly exaggerated action of production which is endorsement by product placement in film and make the audience fell into among of confusion and puzzled.

As the proverb goes ‘every coin has two sides’. Product placement also affects the film production companies in both negative and positive sides. From a positive perspective, the film production companies will have enough ability including the financial support by product placement and use the influence of big brand as partner to invest other films, updates more advanced filming equipment and attract more superstars to join in or sign more potential star of tomorrow. The series of actions will greatly improved the strength and competitiveness of film production companies. The work of PWC (2012) indicates that some managers of production company are treat product placement as an important extra resource of financial since 2004 and treat product placement as a tool begin to provide funds to company. However, at the same time the film production companies will lose the discourse right of film and be controlled by some big brand which provide a large number of sponsorship when obtain substantial funds from product placement. For instance, to many small budge films, product placement maybe is the only lifesaver. As a representative figure of film artistry, directors are lose the independent power in this business gaming. In the final, the film is just a money making machine of big brand company.

Hegel has said that “everything real is rational”, therefore it can not deny the significance of product placement. Morton(2002) notes that the previous studies of product placement just in connection with the recall, recognition and attitude of audience on the whole. In the current, with the high degree integration of art and business, product placement as an important part of cinema is an irresistible trend of film area. The film-making personnel ought to formulate a detailed assessment of product placement in a scientific method rather than blindly forbid it. Gould, Gupta and Grabner-Kräuter (2000) has start to study product placement in 1997, at the beginning of study they limited to focus on U.S, now they continue to making the same investigation and add France and Austria in order to compare the attitude of audience to product placement.

In short, as commercial influence continues to improve, product placement which is as the typical representative of investors affects films is an irresistible trend of film area. Meanwhile, product placement is lead to spell various problems in regardless of business and artistic. However, the people who are working associate with film industry ought to put more emphasis on positive side of product placement in order to adapt to the social development. And it will strike the balance between artistry and commercial in the future.

Word account: 1383

1. Rosenstone, Robert A. History on film/film and history [electronic resource]. Pearson Education, 2006.
2. Wiles, Michael A., and Anna Danielova. "The worth of product placement in successful films: an event study analysis." Journal of marketing 73.4 (2009): 44-63.
3. Sung, Yongjun, Jongsuk Choi, and Federico de Gregorio. "Brand Placements in Korean Films, 1995–2003: A Content Analysis." Journal of International Consumer Marketing 20.3-4 (2008): 39-53.
4. Redondo, Ignacio. "The Behavioral Effects of Negative Product Placements in Movies." Psychology & Marketing 29.8 (2012): 622-635.
5. Lancaster, David. "Product Placement in Hollywood Films: A History (review)." Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies 35.2 (2005): 95-96.
6. Abrahamsson, Jens, and Niclas Lindblom. Product Placement: A study about Swedes attitude towards product placements in Movies and TV-shows. Diss. LNU, 2012.
7. Product Placement in Movie Industry Strategic Insights & Fashion Apparel Case Studies ----
8. Morton, Cynthia R., and Meredith Friedman. "“I Saw it in the Movies”: Exploring the Link between Product Placement Beliefs and Reported Usage Behavior." Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising 24.2 (2002): 33-40.


1. Background: Film as the most widely-accept form of art plays pivotal role in popular entertainment.
2. Definitions: Product placement (also sometimes referred to as “brand integration”) is the inclusion of branded products or identifiers through audio or visual means within mass-media programming.
3. Problem: aim to discuss the affect of product placement on film’s content and production companies.

Main Body Paragraphs

Paragraph1: benefit of product placement for film content
1st idea: provide enough funds to support film production team to complete high quality film.
Reason: enough funds is the cornerstone of excellent film
2nd idea: unite big brand to make powerful combination.
Reason: using the influence of big brand to attract audience.

Paragraph2: drawback of product placement for content
1st idea: much product placement will destroy the content of film
Reason: product placement weaken the artistry of film
2nd idea: product placement will affect the feeling of audience
Reason: product placement will destroy the fluency of film

Paragraph3: product placement affect on production company
1st idea: positive affect
Example: provide enough funds to support production company development
2nd idea: negative affect
Example: production companies will be controlled by big brand

Paragraph4: recent trends in using cinema
1st idea: how to identify the product placement in film industry
Facts: ought to use a scientific method to study the meaningful of product placement in film industry


1. Summary: product placement which is as the typical representative of investors affects films is an irresistible trend of film area.
2. Suggestion: And it will strike the balance between artistry and commercial in the future.

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