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What's Product Placement?

And how a brand can finance your film in a meaningful way.

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WHAT EVERY INDIE FILMMAKER SHOULD KNOW BEFORE LAUNCHING A FILM!

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by Vicent Llopis in Indie Films

Product Placement is a promotional tactic that consists in including a brand in a film, TV show, series, etc. The immediate benefit for the filmmaker or production company is to get additional financing while, in exchange, the product or service is featured based on a pre-arranged agreement.

Brand involvement requires certain guarantees that the film or show will reach a number of people. Big studios with large advertising budgets and prominent talent or crew have clear advantages in that sense. But that doesn’t mean that indie films can’t get their fair share of the business.

IS YOUR MOVIE RELEVANT FOR A BRAND?

The first question you’ll need to ask yourself is how relevant your movie is for a particular brand. Or even better, which brand fits PERFECTLY within your storyline in a credible way. “The Transporter” film series feature amazing cars, and everyone seems to know the latest one is an Audi S8, which got tons of exposure because of the movie.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with automotive brands during my career in advertising (Ford, BMW, Lexus, Lincoln/Mercury, Chrysler…) and I’ve received a few of proposals from indie filmmakers or TV networks, interested in featuring the cars or trucks in their projects. Some scripts lacked relevance with the brand, or it simply felt forced, while others were a perfect fit, opening doors to collaboration.

QUICK TIPS TO ENGAGE WITH BRANDS

Don’t be afraid to ask, and proactively seek the opportunity to engage with brands and prompt collaboration. A few basic guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Don’t alter your script to fit the brand. Find the brand that fits in your script.
  • Big companies will commit to invest when they see a clear path to increase their sales through your film.
  • Explore regional brands, and reach out to the low-hanging fruit.
  • Collaboration doesn’t always require economic compensation: a free location from a car dealership, catering from a local pizza franchise, wardrobe sponsored by a regional boutique, etc.
  • Expect feedback from the brand… and receive it with an open mind. They might be against any cursing in your film, demand that you don’t feature similar products from the competition, or even block the use of certain colors (AT&T wouldn’t be happy to sponsor a show whose main character always wears Verizon-red).

Remember: dealing with a brand has its advantages, but you’ll have to be open to listen and adapt. In a way, they’ll become your client, and while you can still push back certain requests, it’s in your best interest to establish a fruitful relationship that will benefit both sides.

FREE GUIDE: INDIE FILM MARKETING 101

WHAT EVERY INDIE FILMMAKER SHOULD KNOW BEFORE LAUNCHING A FILM!

Download Now