Product Placement In Films: Is This Trend Really Effective?

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 2861 , Published on 27 September 2012

Product Placement, also known as Embedded Marketing is a form of advertising where branded goods and services are projected usually through movies, television shows, video games and music videos. Although a form of advertising, product placement showcases products through mediums that are devoid of advertisements.

In the recent times, usage of products into the actual plot of a movie or television show, also known as brand integration is on the rise. In-film placement and brand association with movies is becoming a big business in Bollywood, with brand managers realizing that movies are now a great way of reaching out to an audience that is captive for a few hours. The trend first started in Hollywood in the early nineteenth century with the movie Wings, the first movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, which featured a product placement for Hershey’s chocolate. Tomorrow never dies, the eighteenth spy film in the Bond series, decided to ‘Bond with the Best’ and showcased some of the world’s leading brands like BMW.

The table below lists some examples of product placement in the recent Hollywood movies.



The Smurfs

Sony, M&M’s

Due Date

Apple, Blackberry

Hall Pass

Toyota, Honda


Figure 1: Apple Mac Book in Due Date (2010)


Figure 2: Sony Vaio laptop in The Smurfs (2011)

After gaining inspiration from Hollywood, the product placement trend soon started creeping into Bollywood. Raj Kapoor was among the first few producers to incorporate the concept of brand association in Bollywood movies with his 1970 hit Bobby which launched the Rajdoot GTS Motorcycle. On observing the impact on the Indian audiences, other leading brands also followed suit.

The table below lists some examples of product placement in the recent Bollywood movies.




Audi, Sony Vaio


L’Oreal, Dior

Koi Mil Gaya



Figure 3: Sony Vaio laptop in Bodyguard (2011)

Pervasive product placement in films is a new concept in the world of Indian advertising that is now gaining momentum: 360-degree marketing. With Bollywood as a popular source of ‘entertainment, entertainment, entertainment’ for the Indian community, brand association with Bollywood movies is an excellent way to position a product in the minds of the Indian consumer. An analysis of product placement in films needs to be done in order to ensure ‘High Performance is Delivered’ for the brand. Subtle and seamless integration of the brand with the film’s script is a necessity during analysis of product placement in movies, and script writers have been working in a collaborative manner with brand managers to ensure that this happens. This analysis has been done and continues to be done using the four pearls of product placement mentioned earlier.

  • Product - Which product(s) should be placed in the movie
  • Place - Where or in which scene(s) of the movie should they be placed
  • Price - At what price should brand association with the movie be done
  • Promotion - How should the brand be placed in the movie

Having a star using or endorsing their product in films, is one of the key benefits to an organisation. This form of product placement incorporated through celebrity marketing is a cost-effective way of advertising and positioning the brand in the minds of the target audience not only during the release of the movie in cinema theatres, but also after its release on television.

This article has been authored by Namrata Padhi from  Prin L.N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research, Mumbai



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