With the recent Peloton product placement debacle in "Sex in the City"'s “And Just Like That," I decided to share my experience and provide some guidelines and thought processes on how product placements should be executed in the future.
The fact is, “product placement” is a science only to be implemented by professionals with years of experience.
It is a strong medium that alters reality with creative perception. If you don’t believe me, ask thousands of fans who are still anguishing over “Mr. Big’s” death after working out on a Peloton.
There are three immutable product placement guidelines:
Always ask production for a script. No script – No product.
Make sure your product or service is used, aligned, or portrayed in a manner acceptable to the brand’s objectives. Hopefully, they mirror the brand’s advertising campaigns.
Most important, these guidelines apply whether the placement is “free or paid for.”
An example that could have been a disaster, yet with an insightful modification on my part, turned out to be one of the most successful product placements of all time.
It was on "Seinfeld," “The Junior Mint Episode.” In the last scene, the patient is in bed as Kramer offers the doctor a Junior Mint…
Doctor: “Oh no thanks … those candies can kill you.”
Changed to: “Oh thank you … Junior Mints can be so refreshing.”
Junior Mints sales surged with 90% recall and no commercials.
At the end of this fiasco, Peloton’s damage control seems to have the situation rectified. It was accomplished by quickly producing a commercial featuring a healthy Chis Noth and Jess King happily reuniting, reminding distressed fans all over the world that Mr. Big is still alive.
After all, Chris Noth is my friend. We gather together regularly with a group of Italian buddies. Don’t want that creative perception to ever become a reality.
Good health and happy holidays to all.
Having worked closely with Frank Zazza, The Godfather of Product Placement, these are truly rules to live by.
Frank has seen it all - and now he's seeing it again! Product Placement is here to stay . .
Editor Joe Mandese here posting this comment for Kadenwood Co-Founder Erick Dickens who had a technical difficulty:
"Great article Frank. Product placement is a powerful tool when properly managed. Too many times brands approach these opportunities with passive participation rather than treating them as a separate, focused initiative. You helped me and my team avoid these kind of pitfalls on both feature film and TV placements during my time as a marketer at Kraft, Henkel and LifeLock. The Peloton team deserves credit for responding to this particular situation quickly."