Do films and television shows need product placements?

Updated: May 23, 2012
the greatest movie ever sold

More than ten years ago, products were chasing movies—looking for product placement opportunities for promotion. Today, the table has been turned with studios and production houses searching for brand integrations to partly bankroll television shows and films. The scenario begs the question: are product placements necessary these days?

Think about it. If there weren’t issues about product placements, there wouldn’t be so much controversy about them.

The truth is: products and their roles in television shows and movies are very important for production financing. While most of these occurrences are rarely noticed, the ones that are noticeable often interfere with audience satisfaction and, in some occasions, with the producer’s creative integrity.

Nothing proves the value of product placement better than “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.” In the short film, renowned documentary maker Morgan Spurlock searches for sponsorships for the film.

At the other side of things, product placements aren’t as valuable to audiences. They’re the target in this situation, but when they pay to see a good movie which ends up being a 2-hour commercial, it leads to frustration.

In terms of creativity, product placements can be used to make a film or show more authentic. Some characters just fit better with certain products, making the placement more organic. This should be the ideal for any product placement opportunity. Still, deciding which product fits which character will require a whole other debate.

The whole dilemma brings to light Hollywood as a business apart from just art. Product placements are here to stay regardless of what people think of them. Producers just need to put a little more effort in making these placements more realistic and authentic. And it can be done.

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