I am not going to go through the entire list, even though it did have me laughing at some funny scenes from Wayne’s World and Talladega Nights, but I do want to discuss whether product placement still has value. Do brands benefit from having their products in shows and movies? Does product placement have an effect on consumer’s spending habits? There must be some type of return or companies wouldn’t continue to shell out large sums of money to get their products in these shows or movies and even video games now, I am just having trouble seeing it. Are consumers even paying attention to these products when they show up, do they care about what type of car the characters are driving or what type of beer they order in a scene? It seems that, as an audience, we are so used to product placement that we don’t pay any attention to it. Not to mention the second screen element of smart phones and tablets being used while watching. There isn’t a novelty to seeing products anymore; we expect that to happen. It actually stands out more when they use fake products. So if there is nothing special about seeing the products being uses, why do companies continue to pay big money for their product to be there, sometimes for a split second?
The answer must be… they still see a return. Obviously I do not have access to all the data companies are looking at, but they must have figures that show an ROI when they have products in movies or shows. One of the most notable product placements is Reese’s Pieces being used in ET. Reese’s saw an increase in sales of 65% after their product was in the movie. This doesn’t always happen, but even if companies get just a portion of that percent it could pay for itself; and you just might get lucky like Reese’s did and get a huge return from it.
I don’t see product placement going away any time soon and we may not pay attention to it like we used to, but as long as companies see a benefit and believe it has value, you will continue to see name brand products showing up in television shows and movies.
Bonus: For more on this I have to recommend The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, a 2011 documentary film about product placement, marketing and advertising in movies and TV shows, directed by Morgan Spurlock.
Also, one of my favorite product placement scenes: Wayne’s World
Gourmet cupcake chain, Crumbs, recently made news because it is closing several of its stores due to poor and declining sales. Crumbs is now in the middle of a complete brand shift and moving their products into grocery stores. It is yet to be seen if this move will save the company but one thing is for sure, more Crumbs stores are going to close. This brings me to a question, is it really worth it to hitch your business to a fad or trend?
As we are seeing with Crumbs, businesses built on fads will eventually come to an end. This isn’t the first time this as happened either, there was Krispy Kreme with their hot donuts, Brazilian steakhouses with their swords full of meat and who could forget Crocs and their ugly (as far as I am concerned) shoes.
I don’t blame these companies; fads are a great way to make a quick buck if you can capitalize on them, but be careful building a business off of trends. If you do at least have an exit tragedy ready to go because it will end and when it does you don’t want to be scrambling to figure things out as the ship goes down. Crumbs may make it through this, but they should have seen it coming and had this business shift planned a long time go.
Amazon.com recently launched a streaming service called Prime Music… You may have missed it, I know I almost did (and I am an Amazon Prime member). With the recent increase in Amazon Prime membership from $79 to $99 I am always looking for added benefit to my membership, but is a streaming music service the best direction for Amazon to go in an effort to retain current customers and attract new ones. It just might be too little, too late for Prime Music.
I get it, Amazon wants to create value for their membership and wants to grow their brand and brand loyalty, but is this the right way to do so. They are joining an already packed field with competitors such as Spotify, Pandora, iTunes and Beats Music. Many of these competitors are major players with a strong hold on the streaming music industry.
So why introduce a new product line, a streaming music service? Well for one Amazon has been involved with music for the last 16 years in one way or another, starting with the sale of CDs which was their second category offering ever after books. Also, streaming is where the music industry seems to be going and amazon wants to be a part of that. They are also a very large and successful company who can afford to take a chance with a new product launch. A company as large as Amazon has the resources to take a hit with a new product and wait it out till it becomes successful. I think Amazons biggest challenge is going to be its music offerings. They only have a library of one million songs, which might seem like a lot, until you put that next to Spotify’s 20 million. Also the lack of new mainstramazon-prime-music-logoeam hits is a draw back. Other streaming services have all the current tunes and while Prime Music has the hit artists, it isn’t always their latest stuff. Not to mention that Amazon has yet to reach a deal with Universal Music, the world’s largest music label.
An intriguing new product choice for Amazon and knowing them they will continue to tinker with it and make improvements to it, but they may just be a little late to the streaming industry to make a real impact. As a Prime member I will continue to check back and use the streaming service from time to time and am interested to see how successful it can be; for now though it isn’t adding a whole lot of value to my $99.