Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Disguised Product Placement

Hannah Yang | hy135010@ohio.edu

Whenever you turn on the television, you can't help but see advertisement and products. But, you kind of have to wonder why there's so much product placement in places where...well, you don't EXPECT to see them. What's the whole purpose? What the heck is going on?

Sometimes for advertising purposes it can become a bit too much. Audiences can potentially even be influenced with product placement, otherwise known as embedded marketing.

I noticed lately that some of the music videos I've seen had products within them that displayed sexual references, such as Britney Spears' recent video "Work B***," where bondage included a Beat Pill by Dre Beats, which was used as a sexual bit for a particular scene. Something made me wonder, why is a particular product seen in a certain place, especially when it seems completely irrelevant?

In cases like these, product placement was most likely used to give a hidden message that these celebrities are using these products to seem cool and make it even more marketable. In that case "sex sells" becomes more of an understatement.
3. EOS Lipbalm Must Have Been A Sponsor
A screenshot of EOS Lip Balm product placement in Miley Cyrus' music video "We Can't Stop".  The video portrays
sexualized content as well as partying alongside
Image courtesy of thefrisky.com

Sometimes cases are more subtle, like Miley Cyrus's music video "We Can't Stop." Miley uses EOS brand lip balm in the beginning in a video, promoting popularity and partying as a good time.
"Blurred Lines" Beat Pills by Dre Beats Commercial
Courtesy of YouTube
Even in other cases, we examine controversial ways of product placement, such as the Beat Pill in music videos such as "Blurred Lines." Clips of the video were used in the commercial to promote the "desire" of owning a beat pill in conjunction with the controversial message of sexism and the encouragement of rape.

Despite discussing product placement, the ethical concept that we must ask ourselves is whether or not placing a product within a scenario means the advertiser is endorsing a message of that scenario. It might not always be the case, however it appears there are chances that it could cause an unseen consequence or association built with the product itself.

For many, the question of whether or not this could have a negative impact on the overall image of the product or even portray a certain advertiser's views on sociological issues could have some weight. Product placement may affect how others perceive those who place private company's products within a controversial setting, even if it is for higher profit.

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