Brand placement has begun to replace traditional advertising. Brands are now trying to leave a permanent footprint in consumers’ minds by being integrated with content. What are the most successful brand placements seen in contents so far? Let’s take a look:
Back to the Future
The Back to the Future trilogy is a comedy / sci-fi franchise directed by Robert Zemeckis. Since the main theme of the movie is time travel, we see different brands in different periods of time. Famous brands such as Nike and Pepsi have executed brand placement in this franchise.
Marty, the protagonist of the movies, encounters Pepsi Perfect and special Nike shoes when he travels to 2015. In 2008, Nike produced one thousand of these special shoe models and released them on the market. Zemeckis’s initial preference for brand placement was Coca Cola; yet since Coca Cola has used the same bottle throughout 20th century they had to switch to Pepsi.
Apple’s brand placement in Modern Family, a widely popular comedy series, has been remarkable. One episode revolved around an iPad just three days before the release of a new iPad product. In that episode, Phil Dunphy’s family wants to purchase an iPad for him as a birthday present as it coincides with the release of the new product. Upon receiving the gift, he says “ It’s like God and Steve Jobs got together and said ‘We love you, Phil.’” The product was thus integrated into the plot, which resulted in one of the most successful examples of brand placement in 2010.
Ray-Ban and Tom Cruise had already worked together in the movie Risky Business. In Top Gun, Tom Cruise and his friends in the navy wear Ray-Ban’s Aviator sunglasses. As a result of this brand placement, Aviator sunglasses saw a 40% increase in sales in seven months following the release of the movie.
The Reese’s Pieces brand placement in E.T. holds a very important place in the industry. Elliot, a nine-year-old boy, holds the candies out to get E.T. to come out of the bushes. Reese’s Pieces sales have increased 65% in just two weeks following the release of the movie. This figure clearly demonstrates how much commercial influence brand placement can wield.
In Cast Away, Tom Hanks portrays a FedEx worker who is stranded on an island in the South Pacific after his plane crashes. As a result of this brand placement, FedEx was both talked about and used by the characters in the movie. Gayle Christensen, the Managing Director of Global Marketing, said that their brand recognition had already been significant in the US but they greatly benefited from this brand placement in Asia and Europe.
Sex and the City
Manuel Manolo Blahnik Rodriguez is a 69-year-old fashion designer from Spain who owns a namesake shoe brand. Carrie, one of the four main characters in the show, finds a pair of black shoes and says “Oh my God! Do you know what these are? Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes! I thought these were an urban shoe myth!” in an episode in Season 4. This brand placement, which is used continually in the series, helped the brand gain great international recognition.
Bullitt (1968) is a well-known movie for its car chase sequences. In 2001, Ford Mustang GT produced a special model called Bullitt, which sold a total of 5,582 cars. In 2007, a new version was released again. The engineers paid special attention to the sound of the engine as they wanted to replicate the sound heard in the movie. This example again shows how important brand placement can be when it comes to marketing.
Mad Men, especially its first season, is one of the most important work to watch in order to understand what brand placement is. The main character of the TV show, Don Draper, makes a presentation to Kodak representatives on a new product they want to launch. Kodak’s execution of the brand placement is brilliant as the brand is not only mentioned but is physically used, shown on screen, has a connection to the main character and is deployed metaphorically.
The reason why Wilson’s brand placement in this movie is one of the best is that the brand turns into a character as the movie goes on. Chuck, the stranded man played by Tom Hanks, opens one of the boxes that fell from his crashed plane and finds a Wilson brand volleyball. He names the ball Wilson, and it becomes his only friend as he talks to him to not feel lonely. You can still purchase the movie-specific version of this volleyball online. This is a great example of how permanent brand placement can become.
The Volvo brand placement in this movie helped what the content aimed to achieve. For this reason, it organically became a trending topic on social media and proved how successful it was. Volvo, in addition to having executed one of the best brand placement projects that will have made its mark for years to come, it will also survive as an integral part of an artwork.