Movie & Film Product Placement — What’s the Cost and What’s the Value?

I’m excited about this article; molds my two passions — branding and film.

Product placement in film is everywhere. That billboard Iron Man destroys while flying through it— whatever brand is on that billboard paid to be there. (In the latest Xmen movie there is a semi-super blatant example of this in the final fight scene). At least three times a movie I annoyingly pause the TV to point out the subtle branding to whomever is unfortunate enough to watch films with me. Yes sometimes its just the character using a product they like or had lying around, but if you’re seeing a logo it means a producer had to go and get permission to use that logo (which speaking as a former producer is a nightmare), or the brand paid to have it displayed.

So yes if you’re seeing a logo in any film medium chances are very good it was paid for. Which brings us to todays discussion

  1. How much on average do these cost?
  2. What’s the Value/ROI?
  3. What’s the best way to start evaluating opportunities.


How Much on Average Do These Cost?

It depends on the medium. Let’s scare you by starting with a major movie:

A good example is Heineken and James Bond, the rumored placement having been 45 Million for Daniel Craig to take a swig replacing “shaken not stirred” (“Bottle not draft” maybe?). Thats rumored but considering the bond movie had a 300 million dollar budget + Daniel admitting in interviews that without product placement the movie would not have gotten done, we can assume it was in the high tens of millions. Harley Davidson is rumored to have paid close to ten million for the Avengers using their new Livewire motorcycle, Samsung rumored to have paid 3–5 million for Scarlet to use their tablet (source below).

But you’re not Heineken or Harley or Samsung, and usually this is where people stop looking at product placement opportunities for their brand. Most brands, even profitable ones, are a tiny bit hesitant to drop 5+ million dollars on a 3–8 second piece of exposure.

There’s still hope.

If you are dead-set on having your brand in a major movie the cost will likely run you about $250K or so. This kind of branding will be more like the Billboard Tony Stark’s Iron Man flies through destroying, or the background logo on a building SpiderMan is swinging by.

But again, that seems like a lot for a 1–3 second placement thats not really a focus of anything and is in the background!

That’s where Music Videos come in.

Understand, music studios are not what they were ten / fifteen years ago. The money they put towards music videos is a fraction of what is used to be and even the top artists would rather supplement the cost with a product placement then have to pay for the production out of their own pockets.

For top tier artists the average music video integration is in the $70 — $150K range. Some of the truly top people nowadays will charge $200k -250K but thats including a ton of exposure time, the artist handling the product, social media posts before and after etc.

For popular artists anywhere from $20K to $40K and I know of deals (extremely rare) that were negotiated even in the $10k range when the artist really likes the product (Jackets, Watches etc). Many times these prices include the main artist holding the product (if you want to bring down the cost or its somehow who is unwilling to hold the product you can have it next to the artist or have someone standing next to the artist use the product. Not the best option but if you’re in a bind I’ve negotiated for that before).

Newer artists (Lil Dicky being a great example) that hit specific demographics are a gold mine marketing wise. These new musicians who are on the rise have incredibly dedicated fan bases and they will do product integrations at a fraction of the cost, sometimes with an even larger impact than going with someone who’s audience is larger but more fragmented.

That’s what we try to do here at Talent Resources, identify and accomplish opportunities for our brands that they otherwise wouldn’t think is open to them. Now lets move on to the next section — why should you do this?!

*As an aside, TV show integrations are also pretty efficient cost wise but they tend to take longer to put together plus the audiences tend to be significantly smaller. However a double episode integration into a TV show can be immensely powerful and in the $30 — $50k range which would include the product being written into the script and used by the main talent during the episode.


What’s the Value?

So now you know that the costs aren’t in the millions and there is a chance in hell you could place your brand in one of these projects. Whats the point?

A) A lot of these artists, even the non huge ones, get tens of millions of views on their videos. (A good measure when evaluating is look at their last three videos and see the viewership). From a simple digital marketing standpoint if the price is right the reach is very cost effective.

B) This is different from “Instagram Model Promotions”. This is a real integration. Think of how it impressed you when you saw Beats suddenly popping up in every. single. video. Or when EOS had that blatant plug in that new Miley Cyrus music video. People see these brands integrating and like I mentioned in an earlier article psychologically say to themselves “wow, they have the money to be involved in projects like this they must be doing well!

C) Not every product is going to get placed. I’m acquainted with Drew Taggart (one of the two Chainsmoker members) and I was discussing potential integrations with him a few weeks ago. He and Alex arent going to touch a brand that is not high quality and real. You can offer him a lot of money for a lame brand and he’ll say no. As consumers we instinctively understand this, so when we see these brands in these videos we believe (rightfully so) the talent has given their stamp of approval.

Case Study Example: Anaconda — Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj was shooting her new music video Anaconda and needed to fill money in the budget. The beverage brand I had been nurturing, Matefit, had all but run out of celebrities to promote their product and were quickly running out of ideas.

We put our heads together and figured out that Nicki Minaj was filming a music video in three days. We had three days to negotiate a full endorsement. At the end of the day we made it that Matefit was featured in the video for a total of 33 seconds, handled by Nicki Minaj during the video, was present for the signature scene and was followed up by not one but two Instagram posts of Nicki with the product, thanking the brand for the collaboration to her, then, over 50 million followers.

That video has currently been watched 645 MILLION Times.

Over half a billion people have seen my clients brand front and center with Nicki. Show me where you can get half a billion video impressions for an estimated $100-$200K, plus have your product hugely associated with one of the largest musical talents on the planet.

And it didnt end there, the press that was generated was immense. Not only the press talking about product placement, but any article talking about the video used the main scene with Nicki’s legendary bee-hind in the air, which happened to prominently feature my clients product (see below).


What’s the Best Way to Evaluate Opportunities

By Project: There are always tons of projects looking for funding and for brands to get involved. Ask! About once a day myself as well as the other members of my industry get emails from our various contacts within the music industry. I usually have a running list of Music Videos, Film Projects etc that can be integrated into.

Retainer: There are agencies (Happy to provide contact details upon request) that specialize in procuring product placements for brands. This company I would recommend handles 80% of the product placement for the Coca Cola products. They take a yearly retainer ($100-$500K depending on deliverables) and will guarantee a certain amount of product placements per year etc.

Yes, This is a solid investment and one you have to be supremely comfortable making. Understand very carefully that if your product doesnt resonate with the audience of that music video it will fail miserably. Consumers are very good at ignoring products they have no interest in. That being said the inherent value is clear and the best part is:

This is an advertising medium that not everyone and their mothers are using. Everyone can advertise on FB. Not everyone can pull together a stellar music video integration. People will take notice.


Product Placement Estimates Avengers Movie:

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