We have all heard of product placement on TV; the ever present Ford trucks in 24 and the interwoven Toyota Yaris in the animated Smallville Legends on the WB hit are a fact of life in our TiVo world.
Should we place blame on the early Bond films for having spawned this marketing channel? The 1974 film The Man with the Golden Gun featured extensive use of AMC cars. Or do we now forgive them, having tarnished their own brand with such overabundance of products in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies that we truly felt like we were watching a commercial? Heineken, Smirnoff, BMW, Visa, and Ericsson spent $98M worldwide in ads and promotions tied to the film.
Sure we hate it as consumers but the benefits to be had from that placement that pays off are significant enough to make your career. Though Bond films are overexposed, BMW Z3 sales skyrocketed after Pierce took one for a ride and Pixar’s Toy Story brought toy maker Slinky back from the brink when they prompted a 4000% increase in Etch-a-Sketch sales. I’m not surprised that TiVo led to an 84% increase in product placement as advertisers sought ways to get around its miraculous ad skipping technology.
What is a surprise is the little commercial that could; without which, one might mistakenly think that product placement only applied to shows.
Scuttlebutt has it phones were ringing off the hook from San Francisco to South Africa following Apple’s “Calamari” commercial in which Pacific Catch was briefly featured as the seafood restaurant closest to the phone’s user. Sure enough, in the days following the spot, traffic to PacificCatch.com was off the charts as the site actually registered some relevant reach.
Have you heard the one about Apple and their iPhone?
Funny thing was, calamari wasn’t on the menu raising serious questions about the accuracy of the iPhone’s search experience 😉 Sure the search was for “seafood” but any search engine worth its salt should be able to interpret its users’ intentions. They all do that don’t they??
One never to look a gift horse in the mouth (Pacific Catch didn’t pay for the placement but found themselves the beneficiaries of a fan at Apple), the folks at Pacific Catch were quick enough to react to a good thing and we are left with another legend for the marketing hall of fame: The “commercial” success of someone else.