Commentary

The Perfect Branded Entertainment Placement (Hint: It 's Not On Television)

Striking television writers may have a lot to grouse about, but if they took some notes from the creative way one Hollywood production has handled product placement, the picket lines might not be that long - if at all.

Last week, "The Bucket List" topped Hollywood's box office sales, pulling in 19.5 million moviegoers, which according to Variety, marked the best opening weekend ever for the film's director, Rob Reiner. Credit marquee names of Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, but for those media gurus who are involved with branded entertainment the true star of the movie was Chock full o' Nuts coffee. Now how did that happen?

In a world where traditional product placement has taken a backseat to branded entertainment, screenplay writer Justin Zackham and the production team of "The Bucket List" negotiated for clearance with Aim Production's President Patti Ganguzza, who handles Chock full o' Nuts for traditional product placement. The outcome is a brand manager's dream, the likes of classic "Seinfeld" episodes where the product is the name of the episode a la "Junior Mints" and "Pez."

Without giving away any of the plot, Chock full o' Nuts was perfectly written into the script. The hot button words "seamless" and "organic" were solidified as the brand was well established with continuity and a big resolution that will register a close to perfect recall recognition by anyone who sees the movie.

Probably the most important point in this placement is the takeaway feeling to the Chock brand. I remembered Chock as a kid and assimilated a tearful ending with a feel-good perception with the brand as I left the theater.


Frank Zazza is CEO of iTVX and considered a pioneer of the product placement industry.

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