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The Economy of Brand Placement

One of the most intriguing aspects of brand entertainment industry is the budget allocated to brand placement, or in other words the economy of it. We’ve compiled the list below that shows how much brands spent on the movies that they were integrated into. We’d also like you to know that the amount of money American brands spend on brand placement in movies, TV shows, TV series, games or books is kept secret. If you wonder why, we could explain it to you over a cup of coffee 🙂 It’s a confidential and not easily summarizable matter. Maybe we’ll write about it one day.

If you’d like to fully grasp what brand placement is before you continue reading, you can check out our blog post titled “What is Brand Placement (Product Placement)?”

And now onto the fees that were spent by brands on brand placement…

1.  Casino Royale

Ford paid 14 million dollars so that James Bond can drive a Ford Mondeo in Casino Royale. You read it right, 14 million dollars! That Ford is seen for only 180 seconds in the movie, and that’s including the tiny bits and pieces visible on the screen. In other words, that brand placement cost 78 thousand dollars per second.

Furthermore, the movie was to be shot early in 2006, more than one year before the car was going to go on the market. So a prototype of the Mondeo was built and sent to the Bahames in a secretive manner. Since it is a hand-crafted model it could as well be the most special Ford Mondeo in the world. People interested in classical automobiles should definitely go after it.

The movie had a budget of 150 million dollars. Basically Ford spent 1/10th of the movie’s budget to be in 1/40th of the movie. If you thought Ford was the only brand to have brand placement in this movie, well, you’re wrong. FedEx, Omega Watches, Sony, Virgin Airlines, Persol, Nike and many more… There are whispers that more than half of the movie’s budget was paid for by such collaborations with brands 🙂

2. Skyfall

We have another Bond movie here. As you know, brands line up to have a shot at integrating themselves into a Bond movie. Dutch beer brand Heineken paid 45 million dollars for Bond not to drink his classic vodka martini in Skyfall. That’s almost one-third of the movie’s entire budget 🙂 One could think that the transition from martini to beer would alienate the audiences but no one was up in arms about it, and moreover, the correct integration strategy has created wonders. Heineken thought that having a relationship with James Bond was a great opportunity and the message it conveyed to its consumers was much more organic, fast and easy that starting a campaign from scratch.

The global brand placement executed by Heineken in this movie led to a total return of 100 million dollars on investment. The movie’s total budget? Between 150-200 million dollars. 🙂

Of course many other brands were in the movie including but not limited to Cola Zero, Avon, Omega, Proctor&Gamble, OPI, Sony, Aston Martin, Tom Ford… You can imagine the return on investment for these brands and how much the movie helped them rise up in brand value rankings.

3. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Harley-Davidson paid 10 million dollars for Avengers: Age of Ultron to use their new Livewire motorcycle. The budget of the movie was 250 million dollars.

Other brands that had brand placement in the movie were Audi, Under Armour, Gillette, Adidas, Beats, Quicksilver, Levi’s, John Deere, Air Korea, Hummel.. Skype did a collaboration with the movie off screen. The fees earned by the movie from these brands, including licensing services, came to ~100 million dollars.

4. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Samsung also paid 5 million dollars to have its brand placed in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Samsung cares about brand visibility a lot and wants the entirety of its logo directly shown on screen in its brand placement campaigns. In the movie, Hulk and Iron Man fight in front of a store that has the Samsung logo. Furthermore, all the devices used by Tony Stark in the movie as part of the plot, including the videophone were supplied by Samsung. That also includes the Samsung Galaxy tablet held by Scarlett Johansson, aka Black Widow. 

The cost of all that technological investment in the movie to Samsung is not public information (but should be around millions of dollars according to our estimates) yet we know how much they paid as the brand placement fee and how much it added to Samsung’s brand value. It surely was a profitable transaction.

5. E.T.

For Steven Spielberg’s E.T. (1982), Hershey, which also owns M&M, made a deal with the movie so that its Reese’s Pieces candy would be described as the favorite food of that lovable alien. Instead of going the brand placement route, the brand used E.T. in its ad campaign for a fee of 1 million dollars (2.5-3 million dollars today adjusted for inflation). Hershey’s profits increased by 65% after the movie was released. Hershey is now a global brand in a very profitable manner, and everybody knows Reese’s Pieces. The movie’s budget was around 10 million dollars in today’s money.

6. House of Cards

Now it’s time for a TV series. Chinese smartphone producer OnePlus paid Netflix’s House of Cards three hundred thousand dollars for a brand placement in the show’s 4th season. OnePlus went public with this information and changed the rules of the game as brands never declared how much they paid for brand placement fees before. Brands are still hesitant today about going public with that information, but there’s a method to figuring those fees out. Ask us for more on that 🙂

7. Goldeneye

BMW spent 3 million dollars so that they could replace Bond’s famous Aston Martin with their new Z3 model in Goldeneye in 1995. And BMW’s sales numbers increased by 240 million dollars. That’s not a joke! The budget of the entire movie was around 60 million dollars. Other brand placements in the movie were done by Perrier, IBM, Omega, British Airways, Parker Pens, Jack Daniel’s, Smirnoff, Yves Saint Laurent…

8. Days of Thunder

Exxon paid 300 thousand dollars to have its brand placed in Days of Thunder in 1990. For those who can’t remember the movie, it starred Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Robert Duvall. The budget of the movie was about 60 million dollars. Other brands that executed brand placement were Mello Yello, Winston, Goodyear, Chevrolet, Havoline, Heinz, CocaCola, Budweiser Beer, Folgers Coffee Machine…

9. Three Men and a Baby

Pampers paid 50 thousand dollars as a brand placement fee to appear in the comedy movie Three Men and a Baby (1987). The movie’s budget was around 11 million dollars. Other brands in the movie were Sophie the Giraffe and Cheetos… The movie made about 200 million dollars in the box office, and the brands that appeared in it became the most preferred kids’ brands of the time.

10. Jerry Maguire

And lastly Reebok spent 1.5 million dollars on products, promotions and other expenses to be depicted in a positive manner in the movie Jerry Maguire (1996). The movie’s budget was about 50 million dollars. Other brand placements in the movie were executed by Visa Card, Coca Cola, Budweiser, Sony, Acura, ABC, Wilson, Toshiba, Ray-Ban, Kellogg’s, Jack Daniel’s..

To conclude, the economy of brand placement is hard to ignore and brands that have become or are becoming global figures have definitely made use of it for years…

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