According to the latest figures from the Motion Picture Association of America, film distributors are reigning in their marketing spending, an ill-timed move, considering that brand advertisers are shifting their budgets to TV and the Internet. Indeed, product placements and promotional tie-ins are suffering as a result, which means movie studios can no longer take $100 million product integrations for granted when producing their films.
Are product placements first to go in an economic slowdown? Recent trends indicate as much, as films like "I Am Legend," "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and "Enchanted" boasted no significant outside support, other than online sweepstakes.
The growing interest in original online content is partly to blame. Marketers simply have more and cheaper options than they used to. Some companies, like beer maker Heineken, for example, are putting up money for artists to create original music videos and films that feature their brand. As a result, Heineken owns those films and videos outright.