As dedicated product placement professionals, the entire staff of HERO remains on alert even when we’re watching TV shows and films for pleasure. Beyond DVR-ing approximately twelve hours of TV programming a day and attending screening of films the moment they are available, we are ever vigilant. Not only are we keeping an eye out for our clients in the projects into which they’ve been integrated, but we’re keeping eyes on everything. The reason for this is two fold: first, we want to know what entertainment properties are featuring brands, and two, we can’t help it! We’re deeply conditioned to look for product placements.

It’s true, the entire staff of HERO has developed what we call, Eagle Eye. This is the ability to recognize brands from even the slightest hint of logo color in the farthest background of a scene. Sometimes it’s the only peek of product we will get, so, even if the brand is not a client, we stop the recording and back it up to confirm.  It’s perfectly understandable; surely anyone in any profession has an elevated awareness of things that relate to their field.  If we were podiatrists, I imagine we’d be able to clock a bunion from fifty yards.

So, last night while watching an episode from the current season of House of Cards (no plot spoilers, promise), a brown reusable grocery bag revealed a flash of green logo.  For brand-watching junkies, the color and venue create a perfect clue.  According to Pantone, the self-described, “world-renowned authority on color and provider of color systems and leading technology for the selection and accurate communication of color across a variety,” green = environment, organic, money, refreshing.  Some brands associated with green are Whole Foods, Starbucks and Animal Planet. Easy call; it had to be Whole Foods.

Fortunately, the bags made a return appearance in the scene and it was confirmed that the flash of green was, indeed, a Whole Foods logo. Beyond eliciting a high-volume, “Yes!” from the color detective, it also provided a great example of a brand identifying the character, the awareness of which is one of the keys to successful product placement representation. We’ll delve into in more detail on that subject in the next blog (after we’ve all had a chance to catch up on House of Cards).