What is Product Placement

Product placement is marketing or advertising that involves putting a specific product (a brand) in a scene. What does this mean? Well, basically if a character in a television show, movie, music video or social media post drinks an energy soda from a can or bottle. Product placement would be taking place if that drink were a known brand, such as Red Bull or Monster.

Most experts would agree that most product placements usually occur if the company who makes the product did not pay for it to be there. Is this bad? Well, it’s good exposure but typically the brand in the scene has little to no control over how it is used or the context surrounding it. So, the beverage may not come across under the exact brand guidelines it may be intended by the ad agency. While this doesn’t mean it will be shown in a bad light, you may not hit each of the perfect ways you want it to be marketed as.

What is Product Integration

Product integration (also called brand integration) is similar to product placement, except it involves the actual integration of the product or brand into the script of the television show, movie, music video, blog, social media post, etc.. This means a product integration could include the a role in the storyline.

In the case of the energy drink, maybe the main character spends time looking for it or is able to do something in the show because of it. Product integration usually operates on a paid model, where the product or brand gains exposure and popularity through use by the characters in the content creation and the production company is compensated accordingly for including the product within its script.

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So once again, what’s the difference?

Product placement in when a known, named product is used as a prop, while product integration consists of incorporating a product into a character’s dialogue or actions. For example, the New York Times states that product placement is “simply putting a branded box of cereal on the kitchen table in a show,” but “product integration is having the characters talk about the crunchy deliciousness of the cereal or provoking them to go out and tell their neighbors to buy that cereal.”

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