Unintentional Product Placement and Brilliant Marketing

Trent from Simple Dollar recently wrote an interesting post about product placement. If you’re not familiar with the concept, just watch the video Trent refers to and you’ll get the idea. Product placement is everywhere if you know what to look for.

Some of you may remember the movie The Truman Show. It’s one of my favorites because it was filmed in Seaside—a Florida town created some 20 years ago using New Urbanist principles (there I go being architect-y again).

At one point in the movie, Truman (Jim Carrey) becomes suspicious of his wife because she keeps flashing products for the camera and talking about how great they are. It’s a parody on the idea of product placement, but the rate at which it’s being put into movies and TV shows these days almost makes that parody seem like the new reality.

My wife and I are pretty good at spotting the more obvious references—an extra-long shot of the Apple laptop, or a close-up of a car and its features. But I’m sure a few others subconsciously make their way into the purchasing center in our brain.

Onto my point for today. Companies are becoming increasingly more clever about how to create product placements beyond mass media.

Just the other day, I posted about how to stop buying the latest gadgets. How many of you noticed the picture that went with the post? Take a look again:

Yes, that is a JVC logo at the bottom. This awesome photo of a flat-screen TV is one of the best I was able to find in Flickr’s Creative Commons (that’s where I get most of my photos). And it happens to be by what I can only assume is JVC’s marketing arm.

This is brilliant—if their plan goes…well, according to plan…thousands of people will use this photo in their blog posts, articles, websites, and more! All will credit JVC for use of the photo, but that’s almost irrelevant. The logo in the photo is enough to get people thinking and searching for other JVC products. I know I did!

Where else have you seen interesting use of product placement?

Photo by JVCAmerica

2 thoughts on “Unintentional Product Placement and Brilliant Marketing

  1. Great observation (if they were really that smart to plan that – good for them!). I’ve noticed some really annoying product placements in virtually EVERY show and movie now – a mention of “don’t forget to take xxx drug”, EVERY person using a computer is always an Apple now (nice glowing apple on the top), even blatant Blackberry mentions, etc. It’s obnoxious, we know it’s paid (there’s an agency that focuses on this as a middleman) and it’s obvious to me. I guess it’s the price we pay in an age of everyone chasing a dime. What’ll it be like in another 10 years??

    1. I hadn’t noticed the drug ones yet! My wife and I usually have a good laugh every time we see one of these, but I’m sure a few slip into our subconscious. 🙂

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