Is it time for your product to stop playing supporting roles and steal the show?
Product placement in TV shows and movies is nothing new, but the latest marketing trend-product integration-goes beyond displaying a can of Miller Lite in the background of a scene. Now products are actually part of the script. Consider the movie Cast Away, where the main character's job as a FedEx exec is essential to the plot (as are a logo-bearing FedEx plane and envelopes). On TV, The Drew Carey Show transported Drew and company inside the video game SimCity, and the Survivor II cast competed for a box of goodies marked with the Target bull's-eye.
"Marketers are running out of ways to sell their products," says Ritchie Lucas, president of CreatAbility, a Miami-based PR and marketing firm. "First we had celebrity endorsements, then product placement, and now marketers are realizing that the payoff isn't in the consumer just seeing it-the payoff is seeing someone actually using it. You have opportunities to be associated with movies that get heavy promotion and stars like Tom Hanks. But you're also able to be an integral part of the story."
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