At some point or the other, everybody would have come across the term ‘product placement’. This term is often used in context with movies and television.
In this modern environment, product placement is quickly becoming a way for brands to reach their target audience in a ‘subtle’ way.
Today, product placement is being done in movies and television shows beyond measure. For example, slipping in a laptop of a well-known brand into conversation between two characters where the logo can be spotted or the main protagonist shown wearing sneakers of a high-end brand. However, viewers are slowly becoming more and more aversive towards such placements. It is being done to such an extent that it is saturated.
According to Investopedia, Product Placement is ‘a form of advertising in which branded products and services are noticeable within a drama production with large audiences’.
It’s about time we change the ‘noticeable within a drama production’ part of the definition to a more personal experience. It’s high time the product is not just in a reel anymore, and is within the actual intended customer’s reach, and sometimes maybe even in the customer’s hand.
Whether it’s FedEx in Cast Away or Coke in the musical romantic drama, Taal, the product placement was pretty much a surrogate experience. The relevance was preserved while the communication only just gushed through the scenes. The target audience were hardly able to relate with the product through the associated actor and story line. The brand’s message too was a bit underplayed.
Similar tactics like these soon started to be overused. Relevance and integration of the product placement were given a backseat while mindless visibility continued the trend. Now, product placements are conveniently ignored by the audience.
To give a more personal experience, paper cup marketing came up. This trend preserves the relevance of the product and integrates it with a real-life situation instead of a story line. It takes the product closer to reality. If brands like FedEx and Coke use paper cup marketing as product placements, they will be able to interact with their target audience, up-close. Also, it increases the awareness and credibility of the brand. The audience too is able to relate to the product communication in an empowered way.
Branded paper cups places the products closer to the target audience, or literally in the audience’s hands. Seamless integration which is an essential component of product placement is preserved in this type of advertising. Recently, on an Indigo flight, passengers were served water in a cup with an ad by innovative water purifier company, Kent RO. The company planned the setup where everyone has a lot of time to notice, watch and analyse. In a way, the brand hit a sweet spot.
Thus, today, this type of paper cup marketing is replacing actual product placement as a marketing strategy. It’s moved to the very hands of the target audience where the story line is not just real, but is also personal and targeted to each one.
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