Product placement, brand integration or embedded marketing, is according to Business Dictionary, “an advertising technique used by companies to subtly promote their products through a non-traditional advertising technique, usually through appearances in film, television, or other media.”
Product placement stands out as a marketing strategy because it is the most direct attempt to derive commercial benefit from “the context and environment within which the product is displayed or used”. The technique can be beneficial for viewers, since interruptive advertising removes them from the entertainment.
In April 2006, Broadcasting & Cable reported, “Two thirds of advertisers employ ‘branded entertainment’—product placement, brand integration—with the vast majority of that (80%) in commercial TV programming.” It said, “Reasons for using in-show plugs varied from ‘stronger emotional connection’ to better dovetailing with relevant content, to targeting a specific group.”
According to PQ Media, a consulting firm that tracks alternative media spending, 2014 product placement expenditures were estimated at $10.58 billion, rising 13.6% year-over-year and global branded entertainment growth is now at $73.27 billion. The firm noted that brand marketers are seeking improved methods to engage younger audiences used to ad-skipping and on-demand media usage, and branded entertainment provides omnichannel possibilities to more effectively engage post-boomers, particularly Millennials and iGens. A major growth driver is the increasing use of digital video recorders (DVR), which enable viewers to skip advertisements that interrupt a show.