7 notable milestones of product placement in pop culture | Herald Community Newspapers

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Over the past century, product placement has become a mainstay of film and television. Just look at Nike’s partnership with 2021’s “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” According to a brand tracking agency, the brand received more than $94 million in ad value generated from the film, most of all movies in 2021.

While some brands maintain incredibly strict standards for how their products can be used in media, it’s undeniable that the digital age presents more opportunities for strong product placement than in previous eras. Streaming, for example, has made product placement more appealing because it’s a type of ad that can’t be muted or skipped without users paying a premium to skip the ad. But as this form of advertising continues to evolve, it’s worth examining the precedents that have brought product placement to this point.

Giving Assistant has compiled seven notable examples of product placement throughout media history, using a variety of sources. It should be noted that not all products featured in the media are listed here. It’s often difficult to discern whether product placement was a stylistic choice for designers or paid promotion. Therefore, paid product placement is not a requirement to be on this list.

These examples were chosen to show a wide variety of media, as well as iconic product placements. The order was determined based on the media’s original release date.

From movies to video games and everything in between, here are seven notable product placement milestones.

Around the World in 80 Days (1872)

The cover of the Hetzel edition of the novel Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI // Getty Images

– Media type: Book
– Products presented: Shipping companies

Product placement in pop culture dates back to the 1870s. In 1872, author Jules Verne published his now iconic novel “Around the World in 80 Days.” It became a smash hit and was later republished in newspapers and magazines as a serial. Once this started happening, companies lobbied to have their names added to the story. This placement was mainly pursued by shipping companies.

The Garage (1920)

Roscoe

LMPC // Getty Images

– Media type: Movie
– Featured Products: Red Crown Essence

Buster Keaton and Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s 1920 film “The Garage” isn’t just known for being a silent comedy starring two iconic Hollywood actors. It is also widely regarded as the first official product placement in a film.

In the film, the actors play mechanics and volunteer firefighters who face a series of disasters in a single day, from destroying a customer’s car to finding their own building on fire. The titular garage features advertisements for the actual gasoline company Red Crown Gasoline. Look closely and you’ll find advertisements for Red Crown Gasoline on the walls and equipment of the characters’ car shop.

ET the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Henry Thomas on the set of "HEY"

Universal images

– Media type: Movie
– Featured Products: Reese’s Pieces

Product placement in the United States reached new heights when Universal teamed up with Hershey’s to promote Steven Spielberg’s 1982 film “ET the Extra-Terrestrial.” In one of the film’s most iconic scenes, young Elliot (Henry Thomas) brings the titular alien home with a trace of one of the company’s products: Reese’s Pieces.

Although Spielberg originally hoped to feature M&M’s in the film, Universal turned to Hershey’s after Mars – the brand behind M&M’s – declined. Hershey eventually paid $1 million for an ET-related marketing campaign, from posters to ads. Prior to this early 1980s advertising partnership, Reese’s Pieces was facing declining sales. However, candy sales reportedly skyrocketed after the film’s release.

Wayne’s World (1992)

Mike Myers (L) and Dana Carvey in a Wayne

Lester Cohen // Getty Images

– Media type: Movie
– Products featured: Doritos, Pizza Hut, Mountain Dew, Pepsi and Reebok

“Wayne’s World” went from a recurring “Saturday Night Live” skit to an iconic touchstone of ’90s comedy. It’s also memorable as the first big movie to poke fun at product placement while showing it off. simultaneously.

In the film, Wayne (Mike Myers) and his friend Garth (Dana Carvey) fight to regain control of their public-access television show after it is bought by unscrupulous businessman Benjamin Kane ( Rob Lowe). Benjamin makes a series of changes to their show, including the introduction of sponsors. In one memorable scene, Wayne says, “It’s like people only do things to get paid,” while showing a box of Pizza Hut, a bag of Doritos and a can of Pepsi. While product placement is still a major part of film financing, “Wayne’s World” hasn’t let this practice off the hook.

30Rock (2006)

Actresses Tina Fey and Jane Krakowski (R) shoot for "30 Rock" at Rockefeller Center

Jeffrey Ufberg // Getty Images

– Media type: TV show
– Products featured: Snapple, Verizon, General Electric, Kraft, Snapple, Dr Pepper and many more

Tina Fey’s hit NBC sitcom “30 Rock” has taken the art of presenting and simultaneously poking fun at product placement to a new level over the course of seven seasons. In a 2007 episode, the writers of the show’s fictional comedy series lamented the practice of featuring merchandise on the show, before praising stage sponsor Snapple.

In a 2008 episode, Liz Lemon asks “Can we have our money now?” after spending an entire scene expressing his love of Verizon products. Other notable sponsors included Kraft and Dr Pepper. This long-standing, on-the-nose method of product placement has arguably been a game-changer in television advertising.

Final Fantasy XV (2016)

Gamers playing video game "Final Fantasy XV"

Chesnot // Getty Images

– Media type: video games
– Featured Products: Cup Noodles

Square Enix’s “Final Fantasy XV” went above and beyond expectations for video game product placement, incorporating sponsor Nissin’s Cup Noodles into multiple facets of the game. There are several dialogue scenarios mentioning Cup Noodles, entire missions related to Cup Noodles and even noodle-themed clothing available for characters. Players can even eat the in-game Cup Noodles to power up.

While Nissin Cup Noodles bill themselves as “the original instant ramen” in the United States, they’re even more popular in Japan, where “Final Fantasy XV” was created. There’s even an entire Japanese museum dedicated to the brand.

DJ Khaled – No Brainer (2019)

DJ Khaled on stage at the 2021 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater

Johnny Nunez // Getty Images

– Media type: Music
– Featured products: Belaire, Kandypens, Bumbu, Ciroc, Fashion Nova, D&G

When it comes to product placements in music videos, the 2019 music video for DJ Khaled’s “No Brainer” is arguably one of the most infamous recent examples. The video doesn’t just feature fellow celebrity musicians Justin Bieber, Quavo, and Chance the Rapper; he also highlights six marks throughout his 2 minute and 26 second run.

These brands run the gamut from vape maker KandyPens to alcoholic beverage Bumbu rum to women’s online retailer Fashion Nova. While the number of product placements in ‘No Brainer’ is significant, it’s not a first for Khaled – he also includes plenty of product placements in other videos, like ‘I Did It’ and ‘Let It Go” of 2021.

This story originally appeared on Giving Assistant and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.


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