Category Archives: Product Placement in the Media

Superman: Man of… Product Placement?

What are your thoughts on product placement in film and television? I’m talking about those scenes where our dashing hero jumps into a sleek sports car, but not before the camera dedicates a long moment to pan over the car model and ending on the company logo. Sometimes it’s as simple as a sitcom star taking a long drink from a soda can with the name pointed directly at viewers. Occasionally we notice them and let out a groan at how obvious and forced the product is, while other times it’s so subtly integrated that we accept it without further thought. Then there are cases so extreme that we must simply pause to gape at the sheer magnitude of it all.

With the release of Man of Steel, the newest Superman movie, we’ve been given such an occasion. Before the movie even hit theaters, it already counted with $160 million in product placement alone. Over 100 companies managed to get their brand associated with Superman. Did you like the glasses Clark Kent wears as he prepares to take on Metropolis and his new journalism job? Warby Parker provided them as one of two limited edition options that quickly sold out. If you ever wondered how Superman shaves (spoiler alert: we see a very scruffy Superman at the beginning of the film), Gillette sponsored a contest where users submitted videos with theories. They even got an entry from everyone’s favorite scientist, Bill Nye, to make a video. But the focus wasn’t just on products Superman uses, viewers were treated to a very clear shot of the  Nikon camera gear Lois Lane carries. Even the National Guard threw their hat into the promotional ring with commercials, theater spots, and recruiting posters.

As a Superman fan I definitely enjoyed the film, but readily admit that I cringed when a well choreographed fight scene barreled through an IHOP or panned by a Sears store. The question remains, can product placement be done correctly? I think so. I did enjoy the modern take on Kent’s glasses that Warby Parker designed, as the placement felt natural. And even as a die-hard Canon camera fan, I did get a kick out of seeing Lois Lane tote around her Nikon as she tried to get the latest scoop.If product placement is ever something you’d consider, strive to have the placement feel natural. Product placement works best if the audience doesn’t feel as if they are being force-fed an advertisement.

It’s important to be honest with yourself when it comes to placing your product or brand. Will the audience understand and is the placement appropriate? Last year The Lorax was released and the movie was harshly criticized for partnering with Mazda despite the film’s environmentally-friendly message. It’s the perfect example of the product not fitting the film. Even though I was slightly annoyed by Gillete partnering with Man of Steel, I understood it. The question of how Superman shaves has been a hotly debated topic among fans. Placements like these both sold a product and fit the storyline.

Movies like Man of Steel require a suspension of disbelief but it’s best to assume that the suspension does not extend to advertising. Viewers are savvy and have the power to turn your product placement into a sold-out commodity or a mocked embarrassment. Do your research and if your product doesn’t fit, it’s best to wait for a chance where it will.

Bake a cake in that promotional mug!

Chances are that you’ve received (or purchased) a promotional coffee mug in your lifetime. And while mugs are traditionally thought of as vessels for hot beverages like tea or coffee, there’s a bunch of other things you can do with your ceramic mugs including one of my favorites: bake a cake.

I don’t know about you, but I like single servings of things.  Put an entire cake in front of me and I’ll probably eat it all.  But bake a cake in a mug and boom: automatic portion control.

Mug Cake

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: SteffanyF!

(Can we talk about how excited I was to find a picture of a mug cake that’s actually in a promotional mug? It’s the little things.)

I was inspired to write this post by an article that I saw in Buzzfeed about snacks you can cook in a mug.  Then I went onto Pinterest just to see what mug cakes I could find and, unsurprisingly, there are boards upon boards dedicated to recipes of cakes you can make in mugs.

There are tons of decadent desserts but one that really stuck out to me was this 100 calorie 2 minute mug cake.  I have all the ingredients at home and you bet that I’m going home tonight and baking up (nuking up?) one of these tonight.  I’ll report back.

Lee
Marketing Coordinator

 

 

Starbucks Supports Made in the USA Promotional Products

Image source: American Mug and Stein

 

Last week I read an NPR article about how Starbucks is supporting an Ohio-based mug maker, American Mug and Stein instead of purchasing their mugs overseas.  It really made me happy to hear that a company of Starbucks’ stature is buying USA made promotional items and making a huge difference to a small town pottery business and the city of East Liverpool, Ohio.

American Mug and Stein was on the verge of shutting down, when unexpectedly they received their largest order to date from Starbucks.

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Promotional USB Hubs: Coming to a Bus-Shelter Ad Near You

Give up / be known.
Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Chris Costello

According to an article featured on adweek.com this morning, advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky is in the process of installing promotional USB hubs into Vitaminwater bus-shelter ads in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. The campaign aims to convey the message that just as you can rely on Vitaminwater’s beverages to provide a quick energy boost to your body, your electronic devices can now receive a similar jolt of energy from these conveniently located bus-shelter charging stations.

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Royal Wedding Promotional Gift Boxes Auctioned Off for Charity

promotional gift boxesPrince William and Kate Middleton – or, should I say, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – are happily married and back to their “normal” lives by now, nearly two weeks since the Royal Wedding; however, the craze over their marriage hasn’t ended, as is evinced by the auctioning off of twenty promotional gift boxes full of “rubbish” collected from the streets surrounding Buckingham Palace shortly after the nuptials occurred.

These promotional gift boxes are attractively branded Perspex constructions filled with commemorative items from candy wrappers to newspapers collected by individuals representing Altitude London, an entertainment venue that is currently auctioning off the boxes to raise money for charity. And as they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit Centrepoint, a charity for the homeless of which Prince William is patron.

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The Royal Wedding Just Got “Sweeter”…with Custom Candy

The royal wedding is today! Check our blog for daily updates featuring our favorite promotional products that celebrate the marriage of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton.

Now you can sport Kate Middleton’s 14 diamond encircled sapphire engagement ring, only yours is sweeter!

Bazooka Candy Brands has created a limited edition custom candy ring pop in honor of the ring that was once worn by Diana, Princess of Wales and now belongs to William’s bride Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge.

Although this custom candy ring pop is the lollipop we all know and love, unfortunately, it is not edible. Bazooka chose to encrust this sapphire colored lollipop with Swarovski crystals instead.

Royal wedding promotional products have become all the rage as the wedding between Will and Kate creeps closer. If you are planning on throwing a royal wedding viewing party or perhaps simply want some memorabilia, along with custom candy,  there are plenty of other food and beverage options.Ben Sutherland Continue reading

Tiger Blood Promotional Beverages and Other “Winning” Products

Even though Charlie Sheen was fired from the hit television show, “Two and a Half Men,” his celebrity status doesn’t seem to be suffering at all. In fact, his odd, yet memorable, comments and actions have become the inspiration for an Autotune song, websites galore, and even an animated special on Spike TV entitled, “Charlie Sheen’s Winningest Moments.” From logo apparel to a new line of promotional beverages, Charlie Sheen’s brand is making a splash in the retail sector.

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Good-bye Books…Hello Electronic Promotional Items

Today Borders Group announced it was filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  Borders president, Mike Edwards said the current environment of curtailed customer spending, the lack of competitive capital resources, and other business negotiations has caused the group to go under.

As electronic promotional items like e-readers, MP3 players, and other media gadgets become the preferred medium, companies like Borders are struggling.

However, in an article by Barron’s columnist Tiernan Ray, Ray wrote mega bookseller Barnes & Noble is expected to have a positive EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, deductions, and amortization) of $104 million in 2013.

One of the reasons why companies such as Barnes and Noble, have been able to stay competitive is by creating and selling their own electronic promotional items. Ray adds, Barnes and Noble is expected to sell 2.35 million Nook units this year. Continue reading

Starbucks Now Accepts…Smart-phones and Travel Mugs

Rob EnslinOn Wednesday, January 19th Starbucks began accepting mobile payments for products at about 6,800 U.S company-operated locations. Now, all that frequent “Starbucksers” need is their smart-phone and re-usable travel mugs!

Individuals with a Starbucks’ card (a re-loadable card that offers rewards to frequent buyers) can upload the Starbucks Card Mobile App on to their iPhone, iPod touch, or Blackberry. Once in the store, you simply open up the Starbucks Card Mobile App, select “touch to pay” and face the bar-code on the phone toward the 2-D scanner and…voila!

What was wrong with good old cash and Starbucks’ paper cups? After completing some rigorous testing, The company reported that the smart-phone app check out process was faster than using traditional cash or credit card. As for the cup, re-usable travel mugs save the earth! Continue reading

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