Product Placement in TV shows

TV shows in 2022 mean something very different than they did in any other era in the history of entertainment. That is good news for anyone trying to get a product (brand) on a TV show (or whatever screen) you are watching a show on.

For the most part, the central control of TV show creation, production, distribution and broadcast has become incredibly dispersed. Now, the ability to reach the number of eyeballs (once relegated solely to the mainstream media) has plopped into the hands of, well, pretty much anyone. What does that mean? It means watching TV shows no longer conjures up the theme songs to Friends, Modern Family or even The Sopranos. Even recent history is ancient history. But still, the goal is the same. How do you get a product on a screen that gets eyeballs by the boatload.

Product Market Fit

The amount of brands trying to get seen on a screen has increased the hoops marketing and advertising executives have to jump through to get the role they want to play. The first of these steps is to drill down deep into your brand to find out exactly what it is all about. Why? Well the stakes are so high you don’t want to miss how you showcase your product. Having it used incorrectly, to the wrong people, by the wrong people could result in a total waste of time making the deal and the time your product spends on the screen. So, now marketing departments and advertising agencies spend ages figuring out exactly the personality of the product, how it is best expressed, and who will be the key audience to jump onto and buy it. If this is your job, start looking at your product before looking for opportunities. For example, if you make workout gear for women, you’re not going to want to get on the body of just any fitness expert with a show. You need to understand your brand and their brand very carefully. Make sure they are a fit together. This process isn’t fast or easy, but it is important. The good news is, most of you have either spent a lot of time with your brand or even created it, so it could be second nature to know all the ins and outs.

Money, Budget, Media Buy…

All these add up to the next step which is have a clear understanding of what you want to spend on your brand integration. The way to work your deal will vary, but the cost shouldn’t. You do not want to get into something then get bled to death on your budget til it no longer makes sense. Most shows can work their deals in various ways. The programs on major networks got so popular at one point, that the networks themselves got into the mix by forcing the brands to buy airtime (commercial breaks) on the channel or other stations owned by the holding company in addition to the cost of being on the show. For instance, if you were this athletic wear and wanted to be on a show on Fox Sports, you would also have to buy TV commercials on one of the hundreds of FOX shows. This also includes all of FOX networks, which of course now, are owned by Disney. So, be careful. In some cases, it’s not like you can just fork over a few grand and have one of the Real Housewives rock your lingerie on a show. But that’s a very, very rare case.

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Most Brand Integrations are for Sale.

And, as we spoke about earlier, there are A LOT of them. Not just a lot, actually… it’s virtually unlimited. There are so many pieces of content, being shown in so many ways, that you can easily fit something into your budget. Just decide how much you want to spend, and stick to it. The prices will go up and down depending on how your product is shown, used, or mentioned. It can take on any role ranging from background to the subject of a show. Make sure this is clear before you plop down your initial payment. If location is key for real estate, timing is key for product placement in shows.

Integration Deadlines

Production on a show can have a huge runway. Episodes that are massive productions, on location, based on weather or time-of-year will have a huge effect on if and when you can get in. You want to start planning to get in on a Christmas episode? Better start asking in March or April.

As mentioned earlier, we placed workout gear on a fitness model and the shows were meant to take place in a tropical destination… so, we could shoot anytime. Since the weather is nice 90% of the time of year in island resorts, there was no wait time to get it placed, shot and aired. That is all fine and dandy if your product is ready.

Product Readiness

If you have a car or pieces of electronics that won’t be available until a certain date, you and the production need to coordinate schedules. Production and marketing schedules need to align. The good news is, something is always available. By far, the hardest part of any brand integration, is making contact with whoever will open the door to your placement. We’ll start with the hardest and work our way down to the easiest.

Naunced to Simple

Any show that has a production separate from the network is going to take some effort. Not impossible, just some effort. Noted before, shows that are created by a network can be negotiated with a media buy or through the staff on the lot that handles the show. This includes shows on Apple TV, NBC, Amazon Prime and the likes. But, there are a lot of shows that are created separately prior to network acquisition. Many shows on Netflix are not made by them. Most of the shows on smaller networks like Bravo have a lot of hands in them. The Real Housewives may seem like a slam dunk because they seem to feature a ton of destinations and booze brands, but you can’t just go to Bravo or MGM… you need to find the production company that makes the show AND THEN make a deal with the network running it. It will take hustle and of course money talks, but you can get into them. Bigger name brands get called back faster.

Conncections is a Huge Help.

Getting lucky is always good. Next up, are the shows created by the places they run on. Since this is big business now, most larger networks, streaming services and channels have people on staff who are dedicated to this type of thing. Year ago, you would be out of luck. But now, you’ll find someone. But again, it all comes down to getting in. And of course, if they are looking for an integration with what you are selling. A show could be open to integrations, but if you’re making a product that doesn’t jive with their subject matter you may as well move on. It’s a fickle business and productions are the ones in the driver’s seat now.

Independent Productions

Finally, there’s the independent productions. The literal millions of shows that are created that desperately need to offset production costs. Some of the time, these shows can be found via IMDB, Google, Facebook, IG or LinkedIn. Just keep going after them. Once you do make contact, the whole process noted above starts. You’ll talk about what your product is, your budget, and timeline. Have it all organized and ready and you’ll be taken more seriously.

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HOLLYFY can help with every single part of this process or let you open all the doors yourself using our automated platform. You’ll know who wants your product, when and how much. It’s all served up for you much in the same way rooms for rent are on AirBnB. So, now you know how to do it and you have a friend (HOLLYFY) who can be by your side. So let’s get in a show. Go for it. GO HOLLYFY.

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