A History of Product Placement in Film and Television

1890 Words Nov 25th, 2011 8 Pages
A History of Product Placement in Film and Television
Peter Rush Product placement in the marketing world has become more and more evident in the past few decades. More specifically, product placement in the movie industry has been one of the most successful ways to advertise products. Oftentimes, products are associated with a film, or vice versa. Such is the case with Reese’s Pieces candies and Stephen Spielberg’s film, “E.T”. While it is a very expensive way of companies to advertise their brands, it is one that pays off immensely if executed properly. Although it seems as if product placement in film and television is a relatively new way of marketing products to the public, it has been around as early as the late
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But although some of the Edison films were obvious offers of products and services, product placements as subtle efforts to influence audience attitude and behavior became a specialty of Edison's. His catalog listed hundreds of travelogues, such as trips to the Far West, Niagara Falls, and Hawaii, along with dozens of railroad films. The business of product placement had begun. In the United States, cinematic art and business intertwined in the 1910s and 1920s as manufacturers and government-distributed advertising films that combined drama and commerce to the small-town circuit. Producers of these films included International Harvester, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the YMCA. From 1914 to 1921, Ford Motor Company created a series of newsreels titled Ford Animated Weekly and Ford Educational Weekly. A typical serial included Model T races and news footage that sometimes incorporated Henry Ford meeting with government officials. These advertising films were distributed at low cost to exhibitors and found an early approval in small towns, with Ford claiming a viewership of 3 million per week (Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 2006). Not only did the product placement within the movie help to reimburse both parties of the agreement, but the American films initiated a worldwide trade in American products as well.
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