brands hip hop artists

Product placement on TV

I've already blogged about product placement in movies and novels, as well as songs. According to the International Journal of Advertising  ((International Journal of Advertising, 2008, 27 (4), pp. 495-509)), “Although brand appearances in popular culture may be motivated by creative considerations, such as the desire to lend verisimilitude to a drama or a novel, when such references result from commercial considerations (i.e. brand owners are charged for brand’s appearance) the practice is considered brand placement.”

As far as TV goes, brand placement has been a more rare occasion there. After all, TV has always had an opportunity of interrupting any program by a series of ads.  However, ad spend has decreased over the years, with advertisers increasingly aware of the fact that TV viewers simply "switch off" during ad breaks, which essentially means money wasted on ad production and placement.

Product placement in TV shows and soaps is a more gentle, and yet at the same time more invasive form of brand promotions. It's gentle because it doesn't interrupt anything -- you can go on watching your soap. And yet, it's more invasive because it's much more difficult for a viewer to change channels simply because someone is flashing a can of Coke on the screen. So, you just go on watching, and getting your brain stuffed with program content, along with brand names that go along with it.  In the UK, for example, TV channels have had to make a big effort to avoid featuring branded goods up till now.

"In dramas a canned drink is always held in such a way that the logo is obscured by the actor's hand; products appearing in shot during "reality" shows often have their labels obscured in post-production by patches of blur, " says Tim Hayward on Guardian's Word of Mouth blog.

At the end of February this year, Hayward writes, it will be possible  to place branded goods on UK's TV and radio channels. Will this help TV to generate enough cash to improve the quality of programs? And if yes, will it be done in a way that will not annoy TV consumers too much?

Brands in songs

I've written about product placement in movies and novels, and today I am going to touch upon another interesting medium -- songs. Two marketing professors from US universities, Federico de Gregorio and Yongjun Sung, analyzed almost 4 000 songs that appeared in top 10 music charts from 1955 to 2002. (( Giving a shout out to Seagram's Gin: extent of and attitudes towards brands in popular songs. F. de Gregorio and Y. Sung, Journal of Brand Management (2009) 17, 218–235 ))

Photo by Cameron Cassan on Flickr

Their empirical study has concluded the following:

  • there has been a significant growth in brand mentions in songs over decades
  • a particularly big spike in brand mentions began around 1995
  • alcohol, automotive and fashion brands are most common in songs
  • consumers perceive brand mentions in songs less favorably than in movies, yet they are not overall very negative
  • the most appropriate genres of music for brand placement are hip-hop and rap.

Brand mentions are not a totally  new phenomenon. Listen to this song, Budweiser's a friend of mine, that came out back in 1905:

Most of brand mentions in songs happen organically, with nobody paying for their appearance. However, there are some agencies that specialize in brand placement in songs, targeting almost exclusively hip hop and rap artists.

It's clear that brands are becoming part of popular culture, and their increasing appearance in songs is a good proof of this interesting phenomenon.

What songs with brand mentions do you know?