Monday, November 5, 2012

Product placement: How many can you spot?

From 007’s Aston Martin to the small screen – they’re everywhere
Pierce Brosnon's turn with the Aston Martin
Bloomberg Businessweek notes: “As the cost of making TV shows escalates—at a time of declining ad sales—television networks are scouring Madison Avenue for partners that want to give their products a little screen time.”

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is prime real estate for brand displays: Sears tools, Pella windows, and Ford pickups, to name a few of the most obvious.

The Amazing Race features Fords at every possible turn, Survivor tribes have gotten all kinds of bonanzas from Home Depot, and American Idol is driven by Apple iPods and judges sipping from red Coke cups. Strategies range from a brief glimpse of a product to having it play a key role in the plot.

So is it working? Are viewers racing from their TVs into the stores for the brands appearing with their favorite stars?
Judges with red Coke cups
According to a recent report by Nielsen, viewers remember product placement in scripted shows more than in reality programs. This surprised me because reality TV has always been the leading venue, with products actually tied to the themes and storylines.

Here’s a list from of the prime time shows with the most product placement in the past year (with number of occurrences and most prominent products):

An Apple in the House

10. The Amazing Race (161 - Travelocity, Snapple, Ford)

  9.  America’s Next Top Model (171 - CoverGirl)

  8.  Friday Night Lights (201 – DirecTV, Gatorade, Costco, Sam Adams, Under Armor, Ford, Applebee’s)
   7.  America’s Got Talent (220 – Orville Redenbacher, AT&T, Smurfs, Blackberry, MySpace, Twitter)

  6.  Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (224 – Sears, Pella, Kenmore, Ford, Tyson Foods)

  5.  The X Factor (312 – Pepsi, Chevrolet)
Scene from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
  4.  Dancing With the Stars (390 – Promos of Disney movies and Broadway shows)
  3.  Celebrity Apprentice (391 – Camping World, Australian Gold, ACN’s videophone, 7-UP Retro)

  2.  The Biggest Loser (533 – Subway, 24 Hour Fitness, Ziploc, Progresso, Extra sugar-free gum)
  1.  American Idol (577 – Coke, AT&T, Ford)

Yeah, I know. Now we’re too busy counting product displays to enjoy the show…

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