Mobile Product Placement


Mobile ArtI have been thinking about how product placement might play itself out in a mobile video environment. Screen size is the obvious limitation and I’m not convinced that short-from video will be the primary form of accepted video. I have mentioned in the past some of the amazing things that Japan has done on the mobile phone and the potential future that mobile discovery holds (which is another form of “product placement”).

I was trying to think of ways that businesses may be able to utilize product placement on the mobile phone and this is what I came up with.

  • Verbally address the product being supported since you cannot rely on someone seeing the product alone. Now we all know how cheesy this can sound (like Laura Linney in The Truman Show) and there is definitely a right way to do it.
  • More creative filming. I can’t remember which Charlie’s Angels movie it was (as I never saw any of them) but I did catch some footage of one of the Angels on a motorcycle and they turn the motorcycle around to face their adversary right in front of a huge Pepsi sign (or was it Coke). It may have been both, with the adversary in front of the competing soft drink. This didn’t feel very creative to me. I’m thinking of something more subtle like the logo of a company on the bottom of a snowboard as a trick is done in the half-pipe.
  • Interview the actors to find out what products they currently like and make this apart of the video extrase. In this day and age of transparency, what celebrities really like carries much more weight than what they sell.
  • Use the product as the “tool”. The Bourne Ultimatum featured Audis and Volkswagens being destruction resistant as the cast hurtled themselves through scenes. This is a great way to show the product and you would still need to be creative with cinematography to highlight the brand.
  • Use the product as an anchor for the story. Remember Elaine’s love for the IUD in that Seinfeld episode. This could potentially be thought of as destination advertising such as BMW films.
  • Voting or rating a product featured from your cell while watching a video (on your cell). This type of interaction is growing in popularity and will only become more prevalent.
  • Do not re-purpose content intended for a larger format. Simply does not work.

To wrap this up I thought it would be good to see what film director David Lynch thinks about product placement and watching films on a cell phone. (If you’re easily offended, do me and you a favor; don’t watch either video and rest assured that Mr. Lynch frowns on these sorts of things in general.)


By Michael Myers