Lessons from Product Placement
Anybody watch the Super Bowl commercials? Anyone NOT watch them? Some were pretty entertaining, others were duds, and at least one backfired. Meanwhile, there was a football game in between all of them. It was one of the most entertaining games to watch, with moments for each side to get excited.
Have you become a customer of any of those advertisers? Some think the commercials interrupted the game, while others think the game interrupted the commercials. Either way, notice the disconnect. Compare that to product placement. When a product is directly associated with the central focus of an event, that's complete integration. Marketing studies have shown that much more mind share is gained when the brand becomes part of the event than when it is merely an outside sponsor. In one example, impressions of Coke and Ford were compared with regard to the American Idol show. Ford ran commercials, while Coke was seen in the show via logoed cups, furniture in its iconic bottle shape, and its familiar red on the walls. Viewers reported much greater recall of the Coke brand.
So how does this relate to marketing with promotional products? Well, in spite of being one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising, they are often simply given away “to get our name out there.” It is so much better to create actionable advertising. Start by choosing a product that is relevant to the event or activity where it will be distributed.
All this talk about branding is not just for big businesses. It works equally well for small businesses. Consider Joe's Pizza. OK, we made up that name, but stick with us. They approach the high school booster club and offer to pay for megaphones imprinted with the school logo as well as their own information. The boosters find the megaphone to be a popular fundraiser, and the stands are packed with fans using them to enhance their cheering. As they do, they can't miss the message, “Enjoy Joe’s Delicious Hot Pizza After the Game.” But Joe didn't miss a trick. His customers who have opted in to his SMS advertising get a text message as the game ends that a “Game Winning Celebration Special will be held until 10pm.”
That's integrated marketing. Any one piece of it might have increased sales. But considering them together makes all the difference. And everybody wins.