As of 28th February, certain categories of programmes that are made for the UK audiences will be allowed to contain product placement. This is an interesting decision and an exciting opportunity for agencies and clients alike.
The US has a mature product placement market that has been around for many years and as a result the British market has been privy to the formats on imported shows. Glee, American Idol, NCIS are all good examples of where you might have seen well known brands integrated with programming.
There are of course strict guidelines created by Ofcom but the move will ensure that the UK market falls in line with regulations across Europe and allows for a level playing field against those imported shows.
The challenge is an obvious one of ensuring integrity of the programme and editorial independence will remain key. The impact of the viewer should be negligible and it could even be argued that the impact will be more authentic content.
A recent focus group undertaken by Sky produced some unanimous outcomes. Mainly, consumers were comfortable with product placement and it did not affect the perceptions of the programme content. No surprises there!
So how will product placement be integrated into programming? There are 2 main routes:
The physical route is just that. The physical placement of products, be it cars, bottles of water, clothing brands, mobile phones or FMCG products
The virtual route allows for the virtual placement of brands. This could be a blank poster site that is later occupied by a brand, the placement of a branded bottle of water on a table, signage in a shop and many more
Virtual placement allows for relevant brands to be identified when the programme is going to market. Physical placement requires long term prior commitment and may feed the growth in advertiser funded programming.
What will the consumer expect and importantly accept from product placement? Sky’s focus group found that the most acceptable PP examples were those that were ‘in scene’ and in the background. It would appear that subtlety is key! Those that caused concern were verbal references and any feeling that the product was being ‘sold’ through demonstration, reference to benefits etc.
The challenge for agencies will be to find the right brand fit for clients and to ensure that placement is both rewarding and productive. Recognised brands will no doubt benefit more greatly from straightforward, subtle placement whilst lesser known brands will need to incorporate PP into their media mix alongside spot and sponsorship advertising. It will be interesting to see how the blend of the various advertising formats fund response and recognition levels of a brand.
The costing approach is interesting. Worthy of a blog on its own but granted to say it is far from a fixed approach. Flexibility will be key in the early days whilst everyone involved learns. What that does mean is that there are early opportunities in value. Further, there are opportunities for the masses, not just the most powerful brands. Contractors, programme makers and agencies want robust case studies across genre, client type and sector.
It will be interesting to see if PP drives new investment. We feel, as do Thinkbox, that investment in PP needs to be new money, not a redirection of the money currently allocated to spot advertising. A reduction in spot advertising will only drive a reduction in content investment creating a vicious circle of under delivery.
To find out more about product placement including early opportunities, rules and regulations and research findings from both here and the US, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We love our clients and we’re confident that they love us back. That’s what you get when you deliver exceptional service at all times.
We love to shout about the service levels in our business and we commit a lot of time and energy to ensuring we offer the highest levels of service at all touchpoints.
As a small business it is key to our offering and a genuine point of difference. We ensure a Director/shareholder manages every account and as the owners of the business we care about every campaign and every result. That level of service then relates to campaign delivery, experience working on every account and quick solutions to any situation. With service at the core of everything it enables our business to perform at the highest standard possible.
At a recent Yorkshire Mafia Marketing meeting we were treated to a presentation by Stuart Ward, General Manager of the New Ellington hotel; a small, bespoke boutique hotel that has a similar focus to our business – service at every touch point.
It seems that the level of service expected in the hotel industry is higher than any other business sector…why is that? Probably because of the 5* rating we associate with the hotel industry?
Stuart presented several examples of how they ensuring service levels are achieved. It’s not about 5* ratings, its about caring. Knowing customers, learning, listening and ensuring every experience is unique. There were some amazing examples of exceeding expectation but if I detail them here he might kill me for giving away his trade secrets!
So why does service matter? In short, its about ensuring customers have a positive experience. Its about ensuring that the customers feel that you are working for them at the best of your ability, ensuring effort and capacity is appropriately applied to their business. Importantly, businesses need to demonstrate they care. Naturally, there is an end result – client tenure. Our client tenure is much higher than our industry average….and so it should be. We have no staff churn and harness an entrepreneurial spirit allowing people to own client management.
For many businesses the digital landscape has transformed customer engagement. Consider how easy it would be to tell your hundreds of facebook friends and twitter followers about a bad experience. How many forums and review sites carry rating opportunities? This is why we integrate social media into our campaigns. We audit social media activity and build bespoke proposals for clients to ensure a positive and honest face to the business.
People communicate on an ever growing scale. For us, facebook, twitter et al is not the source for client feedback. We see the results of our hard work through referrals and client tenure. Clients who have worked for 2 or 3 organisations and utilise our services in every job change. New clients who call to say ‘a client of yours suggested I call’….that’s the best kind of business! They are a measure of success
An important point that Stuart discussed was ‘keeping it real’. There are plenty of initiatives we could run to improve service and closeness to our clients but we must always consider whether it is realistic and achievable for our business. Providing a personalised bottle of wine to every client of the hotel is a lovely idea…but expensive! Service is based around expectations and if those expectations are too high we will fall down on delivery.
Finally, whilst I previously referred to the term ‘over delivery’ I don’t think it actually exists. If you over deliver in a manner that pleases clients then surely this is simply within the parameters of delivery levels. It’s only over delivery when it isn’t wanted, accepted or appreciated. In other words, you have become a nuisance!
We pride ourselves on service. We put it at the heart of our culture and empower people to manage clients in a way that creates high levels of expectation. For some Boutique service, contact simon on email@example.com
We look after a vast range of clients at Boutique Media. From market leaders to smaller, challenger brands. We work very closely with all clients to ensure they receive a positive ROI on every campaign. Being a small privately owned business we understand value not just price meaning we work hard to find the right solution. Memory Foam warehouse recently invested in a national TV campaign to drive online sales and grow their business.
The results are confidential but it’s fair to say they will be back on very soon!
Wigster is a brand we helped launch into a highly competitive marketplace. A new and exciting offering the client has seen some fantastic early results. Continued investment is taking place in early 2011. Our analysis and in depth reporting ensures they know exactly how the campaigns perform from online to television.
We are proud to work with a market leading iconic brand like Butterkist. Their fun, enthusiastic approach to business makes them a great fit for the Boutique Media brand. But we never rest on our laurels. We want to drive Butterkist further and ensure market share grows with every campaign.