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Product placement comes with a cost. Does product MISplacement?

In Just Thinkin', The Marketing Microscope on November 29, 2012 at 1:29 am

I came across an interesting item today- a  column by Priska Neely  from the NPR website. It  addresses the issue of product placement, but includes the “down side” you don’t often see.

It is no longer a surprise to anyone that companies pay big bucks to get visual exposure for their brands in popular movies and television shows. One of the most often-cited examples is American Idol;  it started with simple Coke cups on the table in front of each judge, but has progressed to the point where the show sometimes appears to be taking place inside one big, glitzy Coke machine.

It’s certainly an interesting topic. Quick quiz – can you remember the type of candy Kramer was eating when he dropped a piece from the observation balcony over an operating room and it wound up inside the patient? (First correct response wins a package of that candy from me!)  What brand of vehicle did Jack Bauer drive during all those seasons of “24” ?  (First correct response on THAT one will have to settle for a hearty “attaboy.”)

The reasoning is obvious; what brand wouldn’t want to be the “hero”  or at least bask in the glow of a cool scenario. But what about those scenes in which the pictured products are less than heroic? As the article points out, producers are largely free to use any branded products they wish without getting any special permission from the company.  Do you want YOUR brand to be the alcohol of choice for a drinking airline pilot?  How about a closeup of your chainsaw brand in the next slasher movie?

I find the whole topic fascinating; I have been in advertising long enough Read the rest of this entry »

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Arby’s anti-Subway theme pretty thin, no matter where you slice it.

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm

I know, it’s quirky. It’s so…so… Crispin.  A “legendary” (so they tell us) former New York police detective blows the whistle on Subway’s “Eat Fresh” campaign, the big reveal being that Subway’s meats are not sliced on premises, but at “some factory in the middle of nowhere.”  Here’s what I wonder:  does anyone care?

If I were Arby’s, I don’t think I’d spend the first 23 seconds of my 30-second spot talking about (and showing) Subway, without even mentioning my own stores. Dramatic it’s not. I don’t find the fact that one place has its hunks of meat shipped to the store before slicing, while the other slices those hunks before sending, is very compelling. Frozen vs. cows grazing in the back would be significant. But exactly when and where the knife slides through it isn’t.

Besides, at Subway, I can watch as a steady stream of fresh – yes, FRESH – ingredients like lettuce, tomato, pickles, and many more are added to my sandwich. The fact that my ham, bologna, roast beef, or whatever is already sliced doesn’t translate, for me, into it being less fresh.

I’ll grant that Arby’s is good food. (Though thankfully, it is apparently no longer “good mood food.”) And if I want a hot roast beef sandwich, I’ll probably go there.  But if I want the kind of variety and “custom” experience Subway offers, Arby’s just isn’t going to cut it. No matter where they cut it.