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Watch any big name music video today and it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ll see a few product shots incorporated into the storyline and with good reason. Now more than ever  brands are becoming more and more integrated in the entertainment industry with the emerging brand product placement industry. Nowhere is this relationship more prevalent than in music videos. For the artist, a brand product placement can help add to the budget of their music video and for the viewer. A brand product placement can influence a purchase, which in turn is a benefit for the brand.

The Benefits of Brand Product Placement

If the strategy meets the objective, brand and product placement in music videos can be a very effective way to reach a specific demographic and a target market between 18-35, or even younger.

If it’s well done, a music video successfully incorporates a brand into the plot of the video, adding to the scene and the overall image and lifestyle portrayed. This creates a seamless relationship between the brand and artist who often embodies a certain persona that their fans aspire and look up to. It’s about the psychographics. Therefore, there’s no question that music videos can be influential, and the availability of advertising space in them can be a good opportunity for brands, and here’s why:

  • Consumer influence
  • Brand exposure
  • Celebrity endorsement
  • Brand awareness
  • Increased sales (celebrity influence=$)
  • Consumer identification
  • Brand championship

Blurring The Lines
Some music videos seem to be commercials, and vice versa, blurring the lines between the two worlds. Although not new, the following two videos are great examples of the merging of both worlds:

Jennifer Lopez’s “Papi” video seems like a 5 minute Fiat commercial and was actually even edited down to a 30 second commercial spot. Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” video features a plethora of brands and at certain times, the scenes and shots seem to revolve around the incorporation of the brand. The blurring of the lines leads us to one question: what came first, the concept or the brand placement? Jennifer Lopez’s video seems to be a part of a brand/celebrity relationship, but the product is a part of the concept of the video or rather the concept seems to have been created around the brand. Well integrated, albeit blatant. Lady Gaga’s video concept seems to be apart from the product placement – the products do little to add to the story, placed in for obvious promotional purposes. Which approach do you think is more effective in terms of a brand ROI?

brand product placement

* screen shot from Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” video 

The Debate
As effective as music video brand placement can be, the concept is always at the center of some sort of debate. Some feel that the music video is an art form and should be free of corporate presence. Others see it as not adding anything valuable to the video’s plotline. Some are indifferent and some are all for it.  I feel that as long as it’s done well, and the brands are well integrated into the plot of the video, adding value to the story, it can lead to a better return for the brand. Strict product shots that are there just to be there and do little for the video’s plot can irritate a viewer, leading to a lower ROI although it may not take away from brand awareness…

Then there is the emergence of social media that has changed the way consumers think. They demand authenticity and abhor being sold to.

I want to know your thoughts: what do you think about product placement in music videos? Are videos crossing the line into commercial advertising and does this or will this backfire or help the brand…the celebrity or both?

P.S.  We want your opinions so feel free to join the conversation on this and other marketing, branding and design topics… you can subscribe to  3H hoopla! here.