Product placement, does it work?

Does product placement really work?

Last night I went to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I couldn’t help but notice the strategic product placement from various companies (and bands) strewn throughout the movie.

The bad-ass, tech-savvy computer hacker used her Macbook Pro to help solve the murder mystery. The writer in charge of finding the killer printed high quality photos throughout his research using his Epson printer. Even Nine Inch Nails made an appearance both on screen and on the T-shirt of one of the characters.

And this doesn’t just happen in the movies. Reality shows like Top Chef use product placement in their programming and don’t do it inconspicuously.

During most of the cooking contests on Top Chef, the chefs are seen picking out their food at Whole Foods and driving there in whatever car is being featured on that episode. And of course the $100,000 they win at the end is always “furnished by”…

But as we are inundated with commercials, brands and the next best thing you should buy, does product placement really help us to make decisions when purchasing our next computer, car, or picking out which grocery store to go to?

Some say product placement has minimal impact of viewers. Research from YouGov suggests that 70% of respondents interviewed said their perceptions of a brand would not change if they saw it on a TV show or film.

Though I can’t argue with numbers, I can say that as I watched this film last night sitting next to my friend who is a PC person, it took all I had not to elbow him and say “see, she’s using a Mac.”

Though it is difficult to track the sale of a product back to a product placement in a film or TV show, it is another way to connect with your consumer, promote your brand and keep your business top of mind.

As annoying as you might think it to be, I do think it can help bridge the gap between consumer and brand. The fact that this strong, tech-savvy woman was using a Mac computer to find missing pieces of a murder makes a certain implication about Mac computers and the people who use them, don’t you think?

By using product placement it also gives a business the opportunity to show its consumers what their product does instead of telling them what it does. Epson can tell you their printers print great quality photos but doesn’t it make more of an impact when you see it for yourself?

Though some believe it has minimal impact on the buying cycle of a consumer, I tend to lean towards the fact that product placement can help a business promote their brand. As much as we don’t want to admit it, we are influenced by what our peers, and the people we look up to, do. And when we see them using certain products, we can’t help but be intrigued and want to try these products ourselves.

What do you think? Does product placement have an impact on you?