What it all boils down to is this; branding. When a product is headed to market, the very first step on the long journey is brand identity. Who is the market for the product? What are that market’s preferences? Is it a broad market or an exclusive one? How, when you read Kohl’s or Nordstroms in an ad do you immediately know the quality and price points of the items on sale at those locations? Branding.

One of the keys to great branding is having aspects of your branding easily identified by the laymen’s eye without even having to use a name. If you see a small robin’s egg blue box with a ring in it, do you need to see the word Tiffany?  If some middle-aged guy is walking through a big box store wearing an orange apron, your mind fills in the blanks and takes you to Home Depot. And on and on.

While color is almost always a component of a logo and general branding, shapes also play a big part. A logo doesn’t have to contain any writing at all to be completely (or may even more) effective.  Shell Oil’s yellow scallop graphic, the Mercedes Benz three-armed wheel – or just about any other corporate symbol found on the front and back of a car – and of course, the ingenious Nike Swish.

When brands ask us how to get product placement, we answer the question with a question of our own; how easily recognizable will it be on the screen?  Sure, a capable agency can place just about anything somewhere, but there are some products you can place almost anywhere.  In a world of advertising that is narrowing in one area (traditional TV commercials and newspaper ads) but expanding in many others (social networking, streaming video integrations and sponsorships and multi-screen) it takes more than just a good product with a good pitch, it takes adaptability.  A brand symbol or logo that is easily recognizable can transcend the intricacies of the marketing universe and shine through wherever it lands.  Think about it, you could identify a tiny portion of a Budweiser logo, the Apple Mac or, arguably the greatest contribution to iconic symbolism ever, the Superman S.

So, when a brand calls HERO asking how to get product placement in movies and TV shows, the first thing we do is research the brand’s assets. Then we answer honestly. When a brand, like new HERO client Razer gaming hardware brings superior branding to the table (the Razer snake logo nails the Nike Swish for the gamer), we know we can hit the ground running. *

The more assets like packaging, advertising art and video, the products themselves and brand identity trademarks like a unique logo we have, the more places we can place them and the more likely the chance that the camera will expose them to the viewer.

* Yes, the entire blog was a thinly disguised celebration of the addition of Razer to the HERO roster 🙂