Branding in films is big business!
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Strangely though, as it turns out that, sometimes we remember the brands better than the characters in the movie. This is because of the smart and effective branding strategies applied in the movies off lately. This is not a new method; it is an old method with new strategies. It goes back as early as 1900s where a product was advertised or self-advertised through photographs then moving into magazines then Television Commercials and finally into the mainstream cinema.
This type of branding has different names to it—branding in movies, product or service placement, in-film placement or embedded marketing. According to Amanda Lotz, a media scholar, the brand placements are divided into two types, basic and advanced.
The Basic type incorporates the brand or logo in the movie but does not make the characters use it or refer to it. In the advanced type the brand is actually mentioned by the character in the film. Not all companies share the same level of excitement to showcase their brands in films. For example, Mercedes Benz maintains a certain level of classiness when it comes to portraying their brand; they do not allow Mercedes Benz to be shown near a slum. However, major companies, including Benz, have benefitted through in-film placement advertisement.
Do you know why soap operas are called so? Because these television programs are underwritten or endorsed by consumer goods companies such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble, which also manufactured soaps.
If you notice, brands were carefully infused in movies for several decades, some were projected subtly, and some prominently. Ford, Bentley, Aston Martin, BMW, Alfa Romeo, AMC, Audi, and Land Rovers have faithfully served as James Bond vehicles for several decades and have become somewhat synonymous to the character. Such is the impact of branding and advertising. Similarly there are so many brands becoming a trademark with the characters in films like Mini Coopers in Italian Job, Cheerios and Coca Cola in movies Evita and Superman 2, NASCAR was parodied in animation film Cars.
The Indian film industry (Bollywood) quickly followed suit and have implemented several branding strategies taking advertising to the next level. Maruthi Suzuki unveiled its bestselling Swift by directly launching it in the movie Bunty Aur Bubli in 2005. As a matter of fact, the in-film branding becomes such phenomenal that the brand becomes the crux of the film’s storyline, as in the 2013 film ‘Mere Dad Ki Maruti’.
The in-film branding and advertising has a lot benefits attached to it. It gets a wider reach, its cost effective, and has good exposure and brand visibility. The current market offers various options to advertise the brands in national and international film circuits.
Looks like branding and advertising has taken a new form, and its well on its way to cross another milestone in reaching to the wider audience. So, what do you think? Are you game for in-film placements?