Saturday, February 26, 2011

If I use product placement, would you hold it against me?

Since I barely watch TV anymore (see last blog “Electronic English Teacher”) I decided to get on Youtube and check out some of the music videos from songs I’ve been hearing on the radio recently.  Britney Spears is notorious for making outrageous music videos for her songs and I knew she just released a single so I went to check out the video.  Her newest song “Hold it Against Me” answers the age old question, “If I said I want your body now, would you hold it against me?”  I’m pretty sure guys use that pick-up line in honky tonk bars, but I digress.  The one thing that made me cringe during the video (among other things) was the extremely obvious product placement.  Sony was glaring in my face along with Britney Spears’s new fragrance.  It made me think, how affective is product placement and is it something PR professionals should think about?
Here is the Britney Spears video

Here in another video I found that is hilarious but also fully endorses Ciroc liquor 

Let me start off by saying that Britney Spears is probably not the greatest spokesperson for products.  With her track record of rebellious destructive behavior, it would be difficult for a company to confidently let someone like her endorse their product.  For the sake of argument, let’s say the products in the video were being endorsed by someone a little more wholesome, like Taylor Swift.  I still think that a music video isn’t long enough to have a product placement strategy be affective.  In my opinion, if a three minute song spends 1 minute zooming in on a brand, the brand has lost all of it’s mojo.  At least with movies, you have time to develop a character that audiences can relate to or admire.  More than anything, I’ve noticed its not so much the brands people tend to mimic, it’s the behavior.  So what does this mean for PR professionals?
Our job descriptions are always growing and it’s getting difficult to figure out where our responsibilities end.  I’m not an advertiser, so I see the use of product placement in a very different way.  I think a good way to achieve the effectiveness that a product placement attempts at reaching from a public relations perspective would be to incorporate social media.  I think the PR version of product placement is a Webisode or a Youtube channel directed toward a specific audience concerning a topic related to your brand.  Having a continuous story line related to a brand could draw people in while also giving your client the spotlight. 

Check out the video and tell me what you think.  Did you mind seeing the product placement in the music video?

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