Best practices

Marketing Strategy: Best practices for product placement

Learn the best practices for product placement in your marketing strategy.

The world of marketing is constantly evolving, with new trends emerging and established practices evolving to meet changing consumer needs and preferences. One approach that has become increasingly popular in recent years is product placement, which involves incorporating brands and products into various forms of entertainment media such as movies, TV shows, and video games. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of product placement and share some best practices for incorporating this marketing strategy into your brand’s outreach efforts.

Understanding Product Placement

Before diving into the specifics of effective product placement, it’s important to understand what exactly this marketing approach entails, and why it’s such a valuable asset to marketers seeking to promote their products and services to a wider audience.

Product placement is a form of advertising that involves the use of branded products and services in popular entertainment media as a means of building audience relationships and boosting brand visibility. By having products and services featured in TV shows, movies, or video games, marketers can reach a wider audience effectively and in a way that is engaging and memorable. This form of advertising is particularly powerful since traditional ads can often be intrusive, creating a negative impression on viewers or listeners. Product placement, on the other hand, is integrated seamlessly into the viewing experience, which ensures your brand is showcased without alienating potential customers.

Definition and Importance of Product Placement

Product placement has become increasingly important in recent years due to the rise of streaming services and the decline of traditional television advertising. As more and more consumers turn to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, traditional advertising methods are becoming less effective. Product placement provides a more subtle and effective way to reach these audiences.

Product placement is also important because it allows marketers to target specific audiences. For example, a luxury car brand might choose to feature their cars in a high-end drama series to appeal to affluent viewers. By targeting specific audiences, marketers can ensure that their products are being seen by the right people.

Evolution of Product Placement in Marketing

Product placement is not a new practice, and the concept has been around for many years, but it has evolved significantly in recent times due to advances in technology and the way in which consumers consume media. In the past, product placement was limited to television shows and movies, but now it can be found in video games, music videos, and even social media.

One of the biggest changes in product placement has been the rise of influencer marketing. Influencers are social media users who have a large following and can influence the purchasing decisions of their followers. Brands will often pay influencers to feature their products in their posts, which can be a highly effective form of product placement.

Another trend in product placement is the use of virtual and augmented reality. Brands are now using these technologies to create immersive experiences that showcase their products in a more engaging way. For example, a fashion brand might create a virtual reality experience that allows customers to try on clothes without leaving their homes.

Overall, product placement has come a long way since its inception, and it will continue to evolve as technology advances and consumer behavior changes. As marketers seek new and innovative ways to reach their target audiences, product placement will remain a valuable tool in their arsenal.

Types of Product Placement

Product placement is a multifaceted strategy, and there are several types of product placements that marketers can use to engage their audiences in unique and exciting ways.

Passive Product Placement

Passive product placements are the most common type, and involve the brand being featured in the background of a scene. For example, a cup of coffee with the Starbucks logo in the background in a TV show scene. This type of product placement is subtle and doesn't interrupt the flow of the content. It's a great way for brands to get exposure without being too overt.

Passive product placement can also be seen in movies and TV shows where characters are using certain products, such as a specific brand of phone or car. This type of placement can create a sense of familiarity and relatability for the audience, as they see the products being used in a natural setting.

Active Product Placement

Active product placement involves the brand being a more significant part of the storyline. Think of the featured products in James Bond movies, for instance. In these cases, the product is not just in the background, but is actively used by the characters and is often integral to the plot.

Active product placement can also be seen in TV shows where characters are seen using a specific product repeatedly. This type of placement can create a sense of loyalty and trust in the brand, as the audience sees the product being used and enjoyed by their favorite characters.

Virtual Product Placement

Virtual product placement is the process of adding a branded product to content in postproduction. It allows brands to be integrated into movies, TV shows, and video games long after production has finished, providing greater flexibility in terms of when and where the branded content appears.

Virtual product placement is becoming increasingly popular as brands look for new ways to reach their audiences. It's a great way to get exposure in content that has already been created, without having to go through the process of creating new content from scratch.

Overall, product placement is an effective way for brands to get exposure and engage with their audiences. Whether it's passive or active, virtual or in-person, product placement can create a sense of familiarity and trust with the audience, leading to increased brand loyalty and sales.

Identifying the Right Opportunities

When it comes to product placement, choosing the right opportunities is key. Product placement is a marketing strategy that involves featuring a product or service within a media production, such as a movie, TV show, or video game. The goal of product placement is to increase brand awareness and connect with potential customers in a non-intrusive way.

However, not all product placements are created equal. To make the most of this marketing strategy, brands must carefully select the opportunities that align with their target audience's interests and needs.

Choosing the Right Platform

It is essential to ensure the platform, be it TV shows, movies, or video games, aligns with your target audience's interests and needs. For instance, promoting camping gear in a horror movie that involves camping can be an effective strategy. Brands must do the necessary research and compare viewership numbers by demographic to determine the right platform.

Moreover, it is essential to consider the platform's tone and style. For instance, a luxury car brand may not want to feature their product in a low-budget indie film. Instead, they may opt for a high-end TV show or movie that aligns with their brand image.

Aligning with the Target Audience

The goal of product placement is not just to get your brand on the screen; it's to connect with the right audience. Even when you have identified the right platform, consider the audience members' interests and preferences. Once you do this, you can tailor your product placement to resonate with these audiences.

For example, if your target audience is young adults who are interested in fitness and wellness, you may want to feature your product in a TV show or movie that portrays healthy living. This way, your product placement will be more likely to catch their attention and resonate with them.

Collaborating with Influencers and Content Creators

Content creators and influencers are invaluable assets to product placement campaigns. Brands can collaborate with content creators and social media influencers to increase the visibility of their products and services.

For instance, a makeup brand may collaborate with a beauty YouTuber to feature their products in a makeup tutorial video. This way, the brand can reach a wider audience and connect with potential customers who are interested in makeup and beauty.

Moreover, collaborating with influencers and content creators can help brands create more authentic and engaging product placements. Influencers and content creators have a loyal following and can provide a genuine endorsement of the product or service, making the product placement more effective.

In conclusion, product placement can be a powerful marketing strategy when done right. By choosing the right platform, aligning with the target audience, and collaborating with influencers and content creators, brands can create effective product placements that resonate with potential customers and increase brand awareness.

Creating Effective Product Placements

Product placement is a powerful marketing tool that involves integrating a brand's products or services into a TV show, movie, or other media in a way that feels organic and natural. When done correctly, product placements can increase brand recognition, boost sales, and create a positive association between the brand and the content.

Integrating Products Seamlessly

One of the most important aspects of effective product placement is ensuring that it is seamless. This means involving your brand's products or services in a way that does not disturb the viewing experience. For example, if you are placing a product in a TV show, ensure that it features harmoniously with the shot and scene, and is not forced into the viewer's attention. This can be achieved by using products that are relevant to the scene or plot, or by using subtle placements that do not draw too much attention.

For example, in the popular TV show "Stranger Things," the character Eleven is frequently seen drinking Coca-Cola. This product placement is seamless because it fits with the 1980s setting of the show and the character's love of sugary drinks. It does not feel forced or out of place, but instead adds to the authenticity of the show.

Balancing Subtlety and Prominence

A key consideration when it comes to product placement is balancing subtlety and prominence. Brands must ensure that their featured products stand out enough while not competing for the audience's attention. A good example of subtlety is a brand's logo in a TV show's background, which is visible but not the focal point. On the other hand, a more prominent placement might involve a character using a product in a way that is central to the plot or storyline.

For example, in the James Bond movie "Skyfall," the character Q hands Bond a Sony Xperia T smartphone, which he uses throughout the film. This product placement is prominent because it is central to the plot and Bond's use of the phone is a key part of the action. However, it is also subtle because the phone is not overly emphasized, and it fits with Bond's character and the overall tone of the film.

Ensuring Brand Consistency

Finally, when it comes to product placement, it is important to ensure that the placement is aligned with your brand's identity and values. Every product placement opportunity should align with your brand identity and reinforce the values that your brand stands for. For example, if your brand is focused on sustainability and environmentalism, it would not make sense to place your products in a TV show or movie that does not align with those values.

One brand that does an excellent job of ensuring brand consistency in their product placements is Apple. Apple products are frequently featured in TV shows and movies, but they are always used in a way that aligns with Apple's sleek, modern, and innovative brand identity. This consistency helps to reinforce Apple's brand values and create a strong association between the brand and the content.

In conclusion, effective product placement is about integrating your brand's products or services into media in a way that feels natural and organic. By ensuring that your placements are seamless, balanced, and consistent with your brand identity, you can create powerful marketing opportunities that resonate with your audience and drive sales.


Product placement can be a highly effective marketing strategy when done correctly. For brands looking to expand their marketing outreach, the key is to find the right opportunities, partner with the right content creators, and create seamless and memorable placements that support your brand identity and resonate with your target audience.