This piece was contributed by Sophie Daniels, a third-year International Business student at SBE who describes her experience with a Product Placement challenge, part of a Brand Management course.
What could the Lumière, a Maastricht based movie theatre, and the Brand Management course possibly have in common? A question that most students probably asked themselves the evening before the Product Placement Challenge. The clever ones likely already managed to read the signs and figure out what would be awaiting us. Me, on the other hand, I still thought it would just be a lecture held in a movie theatre. No surprise – I was wrong.
Once everybody had arrived, Lisa Brüggen, the course coordinator for the Brand Management course, handed everyone a sheet of paper with the assignment: “Write down every case of product placement in the James Bond movie Skyfall .” Now, watching a movie instead of having a lecture is always a welcome change, but once the movie started and James Bond’s famous intro started playing, an actual thrill of excitement went through the room.
This assignment was not only fun though, it also made us aware of the marketers’ constant persuasion efforts through product placements. Having seen the movie from just a consumer perspective before, it was an eye-opener to see the high amount of unconscious product placements being used in just this one movie. The assignment then asked us to focus on one of the brands featured and relate this to course literature, which helped in linking the theory to real-life. Finally, we were asked to give our personal opinionon any ethical concerns and questions around product placement. Seeing how much influence marketers have on this film, you question whether the movie was changed just for the product placement. A couple seconds of screen time showing James’ watch really makes you wonder, was this shot only added to present the product in the most beneficial way? Is this scene even value adding for the story line of the movie? Does it influence my future purchasing behaviour? Next time you watch a movie try to spot the product placements and don’t forget to ask yourself if the placement makes you feel different about the brand afterwards!