A movie became the major entertaining tool in the contemporary human life. As the movie industry has been growing drastically, movie production companies came to need more financial resources for both production and promotion. At the same time, capital wants to get profit through investment in a movie industry. But, consumers are familiar with a flood of advertisement. So, advertisement-techniques were required necessity to be diversity beyond preexistence sphere, newspaper and broadcasting. In that, the movie industry and capital were combined for fulfilling needs of each, which means a movie doesn’t exist as only an entertaining tool.
In this situation, some of movie scenes ask was made. Relation between The Cast Away (American movie, 2000) and FedEx (a home-delivery company) was one of that. And we could have a curiosity on Sean Penn of I am Sam (2001) working at Starbucks not at McDonald’s in the movie. To answer those, it is required to understand Product Placement (PPL) marketing strategy. In Culture wide, definition and application of PPL will be presented at first, and then the side effects caused by PPL and the solutions for it will be discussed, especially based on the movies.
If a sponsor (advertiser) pays contracted money to a movie company for exposing its product or service, that activity is called PPL. Now that the existing media such as TV commercials and printed advertisements don’t often appeal to consumers any more, PPL has been an attractive promotion tool for advertisers.
Bourbon whisky in the movie, “Mildred Pierce” that was produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment was the beginning of PPL. After this, PPL have one’s day with E.T(1982) made by Steven Allan Spielberg. In movie, E.T ate a chocolate and after three month, Influence of PPL in E.T increased 66% in sale of m&m.
For the most part, sponsor’s products are exposed in a movie by being used or passed by actors. In I am Sam, Starbucks is exposed by that way from the beginning of the movie. The main character Sam, who is mentally handicapped, puts tens of Starbucks cups and sugar packs in order, wearing a Starbucks apron. So, Starbucks logos are exposed a lot of times in early 5 minutes of the movie.
And Sam says to his customers “One Frappuccino!” or “Macchiato, good choice,” kindly informing audiences of Starbucks’ popular products. One of the audiences who didn’t know Frappuccino before he watches the movie will be able to order it when he visits a Starbucks store sometime.
In short, the most basic way to implement PPL marketing is literally placing products as small pieces of a movie or exposing logos of a sponsor throughout a film. However, the excessive use of this method is likely to cause the side effects as following.
The most important point when implementing PPL is that products have to be shown without audiences’ recognition. If audiences perceived the scene was intended for PPL, it would become the same as aTV commercial, which means recognition of audience could decrease the effectiveness of PPL advertisement. Moreover, that could make audiences (potential customers) fairly unpleasant. The Korea Times reported as following through an interview with a media expert:
Yang says that although some consider PPL as part of a win-win strategy for both the broadcasting company and sponsors, it has many negative effects.
“As sponsors pressure producers into featuring their logos in dramas, which are unrelated to the script, drama writers' freedom of expression is infringed upon as well.” The Korea Times (http://times.hankooki.com), July 18, 2005.
There’s no doubt that Starbucks wouldn’t waste its money even though it already noticed consumers are tired of watching advertisement in the movie. Nevertheless, why did Starbucks spend its money in sponsoring I am Sam in spite of that demerit? There must be solutions to overcome negative effects of excessive product exposure.
Nobody goes to the theater to watch advertisement. That implies a PPL sponsor has to deliver his message without plain product exposure. PPL advertisement, therefore, should be implied by a movie.
I am Sam can be the best example to show how a movie and sponsor’s messages can be combined thoroughly. Throughout the movie, Starbucks is combined with and absorbed in the storyline of the movie from the scratch. In other words, Starbucks is set up for the background of the movie and plays a substantial role in the plot, which is proved by following example scenes.
Scene #1: Rucy was born between a mentally handicapped father and a homeless mother, but the mother has gone away after Rucy was born in a hospital. So, Sam brought her to his workplace to take care and made some mistakes due to babysitting, but nobody in a Starbucks store complains that. Later, a government agent took Rucy from Sam because he judged Sam wasn’t capable of looking after her. Sam was so shocked and confused that he couldn’t concentrate on work, messed up customer’s order and even spilt coffee on a customer. The manager of the store, however, said he was considering Sam’s promotion to a coffee-making job, far from complaining or firing him. Furthermore, he appeared in court to testify for Sam.
Through these scenes, audiences cannot help thinking that Starbuck is the best workplace where any type of prejudice or discrimination against the handicapped is unpardonable, and that every manager and crew of Starbucks is extremely kind and sympathetic.
This kind of PPL This method is thought that it isn’t product placement any longer and it should be called another term such as image implication or implicit PPL and so forth. is more advanced technique compared to the above-mentioned exposure method, for the movie is transmitting sponsor’s messages regarding its great image and atmosphere without audiences’ recognition. Not only literally placing products or logos in a movie, was Starbucks melted in a storyline as a substantial background, building up greatly impressive image of the company. It is not just coincidence why Starbucks chose the touching and moving story such as I am Sam as a PPL partner.
Scene #2: After Sam was separated from his daughter, he visited a talented lawyer, Mrs. Harrison to get legal aid. She denied advocating him at first, but she decided to serve him as his pro-bono lawyer. One day, she was on her way to the Starbucks store to see Sam. But when she got off her car, she found four Starbucks stores located at each side of the same intersection. And the camera is pointing each store’s signboard. What does this scene mean? That surely seems to be neither the necessary scene to develop a story nor the meaningless scene just exposing Starbucks logos again. This scene is possibly connected with the store location strategy of Starbucks. What follows is the translated interview with the manager of Starbucks Korea.
“What we realized through a customer analysis is that our main target is youngsters who are twenty to thirty years of age and that we should figure out where the young get together or where their cultural center is. So we adopted selection and concentration strategy to build up the brand power by opening stores densely at the place where there are many floating population. That’s why Starbucks stores stand close together in a specific area.”
Now it is certainly understandable why the movie showed four stores located at the same intersection. That scene is telling the store location strategy of Starbucks implicitly. After watching this scene, much fewer people would feel strange when finding densely-located Starbucks stores in the middle of a big city.
As discussed through this paper, PPL has been an attractive advertising tool that many companies took advantage of. At the same time, however, it is blamed for another type of stress to people who are seeking for joyful recreation or mental relief through a movie. Accordingly, movie makers and advertisers who want execute PPL marketing should take followings into consideration.
First, sponsors should take a prudent attitude in choosing the movie which will be sponsored. Starbucks chose a beautiful and touching movie as its partner, for it can create kind and sympathetic corporate image. Secondly, two parties need to control frequency of product exposure to prevent audiences from regarding a movie as unpleasant advertisement and not in order to degrade the quality of a movie. I am Sam was criticized for that point, which was one of the reasons why the movie failed to get a satisfying box-office record in America.
If a movie fulfilled those two conditions, product placement marketing could be a win-win strategy for movie makers, sponsors and consumers.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >