Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Product Over-Placement

I know that by now you’re familiar with the Lady Gaga video featuring a jar of Miracle Whip. The video is replete with brands, some of which paid for their placement in the video and others who did not. In the case of Miracle Whip, they paid, because the brand is entering into a campaign to reposition the product to reach a younger audience, and Lady Gaga certainly reaches a younger audience.

The recently launched iPad, too, has found its way into television programs, like Modern Family. A Wall Street Journal article reports research by Nielsen indicating that Apple products have found placement “722 times on TV programs last year.” The article goes on to report that Apple never pays for product placement.

The New York Times reports in a similar vein that movie producers are moving in the direction of using more and more product placements. Not that they didn’t use them before, but now scripts are being written with products in mind. Although, product placement isn’t going to go away, from a larger perspective the over-commercialization of the culture is in my opinion not a particularly good thing. Can materialism go to too far? I guess I’m of a mind that we get the culture we deserve, so if consumers are willing to tolerate product placement, then we can expect more of it.  That is what the animated film Logorama that I wrote about a few weeks ago was trying to point out. In the case of product placement, freebees or paid, should the marketer participate in this system, which is somewhat symbiotic? In other words, is there a place for restraint and perhaps social responsibility? But writing scripts with products in mind and the over-placement of products in various media, to my way of thinking, may be overkill. Anyone want to start a movement?

17 comments:

nat32590 said...

I found this Lady Gaga video to be especially interesting! I think that the topic of product placement is very debatable, and I cannot say whether I think it's a good or bad thing. There are definitely positive and negative aspects to placing brand products within movies, television shows, and music videos. This was actually the first time I had ever seen a music video with product placement in it.

You can find many different brands in the video such as Miracle Whip, Wonder Bread, Diet Coke, and more. The online dating service PlentyofFish is subtly added, as well as the Virgin Mobile cell phone. In regards to the video, I really felt as though there was product "over-placement." This is because once I realized the first couple products, I found myself just waiting for the others and looking for them, instead of even paying attention to Lady Gaga and Beyonce; forgetting entirely that this was even a music video I was watching.

Over-placement seems to be an issue because it can take away from the greater picture. We are completely surrounded by advertisements whether we realize it or not. I've never thought about product placement within music videos so this was very new to me, and I'm not sure that I like the idea!

nbriverso said...

I think that product placement can be an effective way for advertisers and marketers to introduce products to consumers and have them form positive associations with their products. However, I think more important than placing a product in a movie or music video is making sure the product blends in seamlessly and fits the situation well. In the case of the Lady Gaga music video, I don’t think Miracle Whip succeeded in doing this. I know they are trying to appeal to a younger demographic, but I personally didn’t even notice the brand of the mayonnaise used, and even if I had, I don’t think I would be any more inclined to purchase Miracle Whip. I agree that a lot of the product placement lately is overkill in the sense that it is very obvious and I can’t watch a movie nowadays without thinking that some character is using a certain phone or wearing a certain brand because someone paid for those products to be there. I think there is definitely a need for restraint when these products start to overshadow the actual movie itself. Thus, I think that with today’s generation, the effectiveness of product placement might not last very much longer, as we all become aware of and jaded with it.

cmontanio said...

I don't think that product placements are obtrusive, as long as they're "seamless" and there's a legitimate reason for them. For example, the use of cars like the MINI in "The Italian Job" and BMWs in James Bond movies is appropriate because high-performance cars play major roles in movies like those and it is understandable that a car company would want to be associated with the speed and thrill of high-profile action movies and suave stars. Product placements that are just completely random do overcommercialize the movie or TV show, like the appearance of Reese's Pieces in "ET." On the other hand, some movies and shows work hard to prevent product placement. Many commercials and shows blur out the icon on laptops so that it is not an ad for Mac or Dell. Also, Rachael Ray's staff goes so far as to design fake brands and fake labels to cover the ingredients she uses for her recipes. I think that there needs to be middle groud for product placements, not too obvious but not avoided at all costs.

cmmontemurro said...

Whenever there is an abundance of product placement in a movie or music video, I tend to feel like I am being used or brainwashed. In class, we talked about seamless product placement and how it is only effective if the audience does not know they are being "sold to." This video by Lady Gaga seems to be the exact opposite of seamless advertising. When I feel like I am being sold to, I get the sense that advertisers think I am cheap or easily manipulated.

Watching this video, I was reminded of the 2001 movie "Josie and the Pussycats." This movie is perhaps the most shameful piece of overly abundant product placement I have ever seen. Interestingly, I have found that after re-watching the movie I notice just how many product labels are found in the movie. Similarly, after watching the Lady Gaga video several times, I caught some labels that I missed the first time.

jamurray1 said...

Where to even begin. Besides being one of the strangest videos I have ever seen, I must admit that this was a very creative and clever music video on Gaga and Beyonce's parts. Usually I dont see product placement in music videos besides the clothing brands the celebrities are wearing or the cars they are driving, IF you can even tell that. By collaborating two HUGE megastars, they were guaranteed a large, wide spread audience that was bound to take notice. I must say that the products they chose to use, Miracle Whip and Diet Coke for example, were a little out of the ordinary and slightly out of place within the music video. The way they chose to illuminate them was kind of blatant and shoudl have been more inconspicuous in my opinion. Nevertheless, it gave the products immense exposure and I wouldnt be surprised if the manufacturers saw an influx of selling those products after this vedo was released.

Dana Verona said...

I found this video to be extremely odd. I found myself constantly making weird faces after every scene. I have always found Lady Gaga to be strange and didn't expect anything less from her! However, I thought it was interesting how different brands were incorporated into the video. I really like how Coke was displayed in her hair as if they were curlers. It was a very creative idea on their part. We live in a world today that is bombarded with advertisements. We are prone to seeing labels and brands in almost everything. During the video I was more interested in looking where the next brand was going to be. I felt like I was doing an "I Spy". Personally I enjoy the site of brands and labels. I like to have logos on my clothes and the things I carry. Lady Gaga definitely set a new tone for music videos in the music business. I have never seen any other artist do something as creative as this. I wonder how much money she got from all the companies for incorporating their products.

Victoria Rainone said...

I recently sat down and watched the entire music video for 'Telephone' by Lady GaGa and Beyonce. I must say, my full attention was given to the performance for the entire 9 minutes and 30 seconds. Not only was I trying to keep track of all of the brands that were shown in the video, but I was amazed by the creativity used to present the numerous amounts of brands. Although by some this video can be seen as exceeding some limits, I personally think it was very clever. Lady GaGa and Beyonce are two huge celebrities right now and having them promote a product such as Miracle Whip and Virgin Mobile is great publicity and advertising for those companies. The brands aren't just sitting in the music video, they are intertwined with the activity of the stars singing and dancing.

Alexander said...

Materialism can go to far, seeing videos like Lady Gaga's it is clear that it already has. I first want to admit that I understood very little of this video but would rather like to question the pervasiveness product placement is now achieving. It seems like as consumers we are barely able to keep our head above water, as bigger and stronger waves of advertising flood every aspect of our culture. Industries like entertainment and art are being diluted by the products we stuff into them. I do have faith in the idea of social responsibility in say the film industry, although what worries me is that we (the socially responsible) are not the ones in charge. While I do support the creative artistic process of making movies the reality is that those who support the culture behind these movies are not paying the bills. What remains true is that as long as the corporations are in control we will have to tolerate the product placement just to have any culture at all. It is clear that this will not stop until every movie is a commercial and every actor is a billboard.

Dannell Anthony said...

Product placement is escalating out of control. Movies and television have not been the same since the introduction of product placement in the 1980’s. Having product placement appearing in music videos is just another media outlet in which companies are abusing to gain control of Millennials and Generation Z’ers. The amount of advertising is overwhelming in our culture. However, the use of product placement is rather understandable since the launch of TiVo and On Demand. Like the ease of clicking the fast forward button on your remote, advertising companies are quickly strengthening their grip of product placement within music videos. The Lada Gaga and Beyonce “Telephone” video further shows the manner in which products have integrated within popular music videos. Most artists and producers turn to product placement and a means to fund video production. If all artists and producers continue to play upon this trend within the music industry and literally write products into their scripts, videos will no longer serve as pieces of artwork, and artistic expression, but rather three-minute long glorified advertisements.

Victoria Anne said...

After watching this long music video, I was amazed how clever it was. When I watched it for the first time, I noticed a lot of different brand names. But after watching it a second time, I noticed so many more brand names. Some notable brands were miracle whip and virgin mobile.

Although at times during the video I felt that the brand placement didn't really flow with the activity of the video, it was still a clever move by the producers. Lady GaGa and Beyonce are two of the hottest celebrities right now. By having them use these major brands in their video, they are increasing awareness. Just as fans love to follow the day to day lives of Lady GaGa or Beyonce, they may now also follow companies like Wonder Bread or Diet Coke.

Advertisers are having a hard time getting their products and their companies to really stick into people's heads. This tactic gave them an opportunity to associate there brand with fame and and music. Rather than a commercial that people might skip over, it is a music video that many people will choose to watch.

Samantha Pessognelli said...

The idea of product placement seems to have it's positives and negatives. I could see how it could get annoying if it was overly used and you could tell it was only for an advertisement. Though I think that this idea will get pushed to great boundaries.

I feel like the brands enhance the whole image with their 'labels' and what is GAGA. Also there are a lot of people that like her style or music and may follow her on twitter. Therefore it will be widely seen but only certain products will actually make sales. The Polaroid advertisement may have sales but not the wonder-bread or miracle whip. ..But it's worth a try!

In this case it's used in the story line and therefore at a financial standpoint, I think it would be smart to use products in the video.

Samantha Pessognelli said...

The idea of product placement seems to have it's positives and negatives. I could see how it could get annoying if it was overly used and you could tell it was only for an advertisement. Though I think that this idea will get pushed to great boundaries.

I feel like the brands enhance the whole image with their 'labels' and what is GAGA. Also there are a lot of people that like her style or music and may follow her on twitter. Therefore it will be widely seen but only certain products will actually make sales. The Polaroid advertisement may have sales but not the wonder-bread or miracle whip. ..But it's worth a try!

In this case it's used in the story line and therefore at a financial standpoint, I think it would be smart to use products in the video.

Jojoseph said...

This music video has a overwhelming amount of product placement. The one I noticed the most was the soda cans in Lady Gaga's hair, I thought that was very interesting. It was so interesting to see her hair rolled in those soda cans. Over-placement seems to be an issue because it gets overwhelming and it's too much to look at. I wonder how many people paid attention to the clutter of all those products and not just all the interesting things Lady Gaga was doing.

Meg OKeefe said...

Despite the feeling of confusion that overwhelms me throughout this video, I feel that product placement is definitely overkill. From the outstanding number of times "Virgin Mobile" pops up in the screen to the snap of a photo in which "Polaroid" clearly comes into view, it is obvious that this video is merely one large, musical advertisement. Whether paid for or free be, the product placement in this video is inevitably terrible.

I think if the placement had been more seamless, such as many of the cars used in action films, I would have been more apt to go along with the product placement. The use of products in this video is almost as bad as the use of FedEx in the movie Castaway in which Tom Hanks stars. It is utterly blunt and therefore takes away from the placement itself in my opinion.

Although I am sure I did not catch every product that was placed in the video, the ones that I did catch were enough to turn me off to this type of advertising. Perhaps if they were the slightest bit more subtle, the message would have been better received.

kmhorvath said...

This Lady Gaga music video was wild! I thought that this music video seemed less like a music video and more like an overstuffed advertisement. I think that the way that the products were incorporated were very interesting and I haven't seen a music video like this. Product placement in tv shows or movies can be seamless but this music video took on an entirely different take by making it so over the top.

Judy Lite said...

I had not seen this music video until discussing it in class. Immediately after speaking about it I watched it for myself. I thought the product placement throughout the whole thing was very confusing. The brands featured seem to all be varying products, all random and not necessarily recognizable at first glance. In my opinion, I am not sure there was a reasoning behind every product chosen, but instead I think it was Lady Gaga doing what she does best. Causing attention and making the people talk.

I think in general product placement can be very effective. For this music video I think it definitely succeeded in bringing attention to some not so well known products. Whether it was the brand of laptop or dating website, I was one of the many who looked it up to see what it was, and if it was real.

memckeron1 said...

I hadn't watched this music video until recently, mostly because it's almost ten minutes long. However, after watching the full video, I was left with a mixture of feelings.

First of all,I found it to be very weird, which isn't necessarily a surprise considering it's coming from Lady Gaga and Beyonce.

In addition, it made me think about product placement without even noticing it. I found myself thinking about drinking Diet Coke and eating some Wonder Bread after the 9 minute, 30 second video. The amount of product placement displayed in this video was borderline overbearing, however if used correctly, I think product placement can be beneficial. We may be seeing product placement in music videos more often, as commercials are being seen less because of TiVo and new tactics to reach the public must be made.