As viewing habits change and consumers demand a less interruptive model of media, Placement now plays a vital role in the Media Landscape. Reaching audiences across all devices, Placement has many rules and regulations. We are happy to answer any of your questions.
Hopefully the Placement FAQs below will aid your understanding. We love to chat so don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Placement is a marketing communication channel through which products, services and messages actively gain on-screen exposure within the scenes and scripts of television programmes or films. Placement is a vital part of marketing across TV, Cinema, Digital, VOD, Music Production and Gaming.
As the UK’s most successful Placement Agency, we ‘place’ our clients across all content using sophisticated targeting techniques. We understand client briefs and analyse scripts thoroughly, ensuring high quality, relevant brand exposure with meaningful results and measurable ROI.
Prop Placement is the free supply of products to the production companies and/or studios. The brand supplying the products cover the cost of the product supply and delivery to the production sets or prop houses. These products are supplied for a specific purpose (i.e. to gain on-screen exposure) and often on the agreement that they are to be used for a specific scene or within a specific character. There is no legal obligation from the production to use the products on screen or include them in the final cut. Brands who undertake an active approach to placement will often use a Placement Agency to ensure that the supply of products converts to on-screen exposure efficiently and effectively. Prop Placement is generally considered a cost-effective, long term, strategic method of gaining exposure on-screen.
Product Placement is when a contracted agreement is made between the broadcaster and the brand regarding the integration of brands in to the content. The deal sets out certain guarantees around the specific products to be ‘placed’; when during the programme or film the products will be seen (often over a set time period) on screen and the nature in which the products will be referred to or used on screen. The brand pays for these guarantees and the production is obliged to deliver a certain amount of branded exposure as agreed. Product Placement is generally considered a short term, tactical approach to placement which whilst expensive allows more planning and specific activation on other channels.
Prop Placement is when props are supplied free of charge by the brand to the production and is generally considered a cost-effective, long term strategic method of gaining on-screen exposure. Product Placement is when a brand supplies funding to the broadcaster in exchange for a guaranteed level of exposure and is generally considered a short term, tactical approach which whilst expensive allows more planning and activation on other marketing communication channels due to prior knowledge of timings and nature of the brand exposure.
Undue Prominence is when brands feature on screen for longer than necessary or take up more too much of the screen to the point at which it becomes distracting for the viewer. In some cases, brands will have to be on screen for longer periods of time than others in order to tell the story, so the Undue Prominence guidelines must be balanced with guidelines around Editorial Justification.
Editorial Justification is when the brand being shown on screen (prominently or not) has a reason for being involved the scene. It would not make sense for example for a huge bucket of KFC chicken to be sat in the middle of a kitchen table during a breakfast scene. Part of the important role of set designers and art directors of fictional programming is to ensure that sets have the integrity and realism required to be believable by the audience. It is important to have this regulatory guideline in place to make sure that this protection is not overridden by any brand or production.
Product Placement Notification is required from the broadcaster to the audience upon broadcast of content containing a brand as a result of a Product Placement deal. Whilst guidelines around Undue Prominence and Editorial Justification will be adhered to, it is likely that the viewers will notice the brands on screen and it is therefore important they understand that this is a form of advertising. This notification is in the form of a black and white PP logo during the opening titles which appear at the start of the programme and after any ad-breaks.
Digital Insertion is when products or brands are seemingly placed into a scene after the scene has been filmed. This is done using computer graphics whereby the product is digitally placed into the content, with today’s technology making for a seamless, believable result. This method of placement is not currently the norm but is however likely to become more commonplace as processes are refined and product placement deals become more regular across the industry. The first major deal around a digitally-inserted placement on a terrestrial broadcaster was a PG Tips placement in to Deal Or No Deal on Channel 4, negotiated and delivered by Entertainment Marketing Group in 2012.
Programmatic Product Placement is a potential development of the Product Placement industry in the near-future. Programmatic is the use of algorithms, sometimes referred to as Cookies to display specific types of ads when the platform knows that certain types of people are likely to be consuming specific pieces of content. Programmatic Product Placement includes the automatic digital insertion of certain brands or products (where possible) based on the viewers interests, location, purchasing/browsing history etc. This has certain benefits for the brands as it (for example) eliminates any out of date packaging appearing on screen and ensures the products are being advertised to a meaningful audience. The technology that exists currently only allows relatively basic placements to be digitally swapped for alternative brands e.g. a clear shot of a car driving down a street, or a poster in the background and therefore ‘physical’ Prop or Product placement is still the main method in the industry. Even when digitally inserted in to the scene, the brand(s) on screen will still be considered ‘placed’ and therefore fall under the same guidelines and rules as ‘physical’ Product Placement.
Placement Agencies are employed by brands to secure on-screen exposure for their brands. Placement Agencies are usually the gate-keepers between the brands and the TV and Film production industry. Reputable Placement Agencies will provide accountability and transparency with regards to the productions they ‘place’ brands in to and the brands exposure that is then achieved several months later on screen.
A reputable Placement Agency will deliver more than just the promise of getting brands on screen. Anyone can ring up a prop house and arrange to deliver product.
EMG are a Product Placement Agency who have spent the past twenty years refining and expanding their Placement Processes in order to continually provide meaningful exposure for their wide range of clients across all types of content. EMG offer a brand-led, targeted approach to accessing the right sort of channels, genres, characters, scenes and audiences to ensure effective exposure. EMG’s unrivalled resource allows a huge amount of outreach, research and direct communication across the production industry, allowing the most desirable placement opportunities to be identified at script stage and fulfilled with client products in time for filming. Upon broadcast, EMG provide a detailed level of accountability for their on-screen results, providing a monitoring and evaluation service which tracks not only their clients but all brands that appear across relevant television, film and SVOD programming on a national and international level which uniquely allows them to demonstrate competitive share-of-voice within specific individual sectors. All elements of EMG’s process are transparent and clearly communicated to client teams throughout the campaign. More details of EMG’s service levels and processes can be found by getting in touch.
Prop and Product Placement is a proven effective marketing strategy. Not only are there tens of thousands of branded appearances on screen every year, there are also dozens of research projects that have been undertaken by major broadcasters, major brands, top media agencies and independent market research companies to assess the effectiveness from an unbiased viewpoint.
Research supports the effectiveness of exposure delivered by prop and product placement. The research shows that prop and product placement exposure also has a positive effect on purchasing decisions and sales. Click here for some example research projects undertaken and summaries of the key findings.
Both Prop Placement and Product Placement are targeted marketing strategies. Placement Targeting can vary greatly depending on the nature of the product being placed and the targeted content in which it will be seen by the audience. A reputable placement agency should be able to provide sound justification for supplying certain products to a production for use on screen and provide the brand (often their client) with safeguards to offer some control or insight of the placement targeting parameters.
Placement Targeting can take many different forms. This often particular attention to the type of/specific characters with which the product should be associated with; the context/scenes/scenarios in which the product should be seen; specific channels or programmes into which product should be placed in order to ‘achieve’ specific audiences groups; and the specific type of products that are provided to the production for use on set.
Placement is an un-traditional marketing method which is contained within the editorial content of a film or TV programme. Ultimately the producers/directors decide how everything (including brands) are represented on screen. This is vital to maintain the creative freedom and editorial integrity of the content however this may lead some people to therefore consider Placement a risky marketing strategy. It is relatively rare however that specific brands are represented negatively on screen and there are Ofcom regulations in place to protect brands from unwarranted negative exposure.
The majority of production companies are well aware that brands often spend millions of pounds building brand images and do not intend to portray the brand negatively. In addition they are also well aware of the size of brands legal departments who are fully within their rights to sue production companies or broadcaster for negative portrayal. There is however a subjective element to this If for example a bank robber in a drama was using a certain brand of vehicle to make a quick getaway following a robbery, this could be considered positive in some ways (as the car started up straight away) and negatively in others (due to the association with a criminal). A reputable placement agency addresses the subjective, unknown, perhaps risky nature of placement by providing transparency in order to safeguard the brand against negative exposure. This is largely achieved by their relationships with production companies and therefore having unique, advanced insight to scripts, characters and scenes, allowing them to flag up scenes which may be deemed negative (as well a positive) by the specific brand.
Video is a broad term applied to all the different methods in which viewers watch clips, programmes or films. This includes examples not limited to Television, Cinema, Catch-Up Television, Social Media Videos, Mobile Downloads and Video-On-Demand.
Video-On-Demand or VOD is often categorised as catch-up services however it in fact refers to a much broader spectrum of content across TVOD, AVOD, BVOD and SVOD categories. VOD refers to any type of viewing when users have control over the time at which they view content. VOD excludes linear television without the use of catch-up/recording services (requiring the viewer to tune in at specific times) and watching content at the cinema (requiring the viewer to arrive at the cinema and sit down in time for the film to start). All other forms of Video can be categorised in to one of the VOD categories.
Prop Placement is the only marketing communication strategy that can access all VOD Categories.
The VOD Spectrum is a method of categorising different types of Video-On-Demand. All types of VOD can fall in to one (or more) of the following categories: T-VOD, A-VOD, B-VOD, S-VOD. This can be described as a VOD spectrum given that there is some crossover between the categories. The Sky Go App for example could be defined as both S-VOD and B-VOD, as explained below.
TVOD is Transactional VOD is when a one-off payment (or transaction) is made by the viewer to allow themselves access to specific pieces of content. TVOD comprises of two main categories, these being; 1) Pay-Per-View (e.g. a viewing of an event purchased from Sky Sports Box Office) or; 2) Electronic-Sell-Through whereby a piece of content is ordered through a device for the viewer to keep (e.g. purchasing a film on Apple iTunes). Purchase/Electronic-Sell-Through sometimes also includes the purchase of a physical disc.
A-VOD is Ad-subsidised VOD and refers to content that is ‘free’ to watch for viewer as funding for the content is sourced by adverts and/or registration data sold by the platform on which it is being viewed. Platforms such as Facebook which includes user-generated content is becoming increasingly popular due to the ease of viewing and huge ‘footfall’ generated by the sophisticated platform on which it is viewed (e.g. Facebook). This is a broad category which comprises of social media platform viewing (e.g. Facebook) and traditional broadcasters offering their content in this form of viewing (e.g. ITV Player mobile app). In many instances, delivering Video content is not the main purpose of AVOD applications Facebook Video for example is only one part of Facebook’s platform/services.
B-VOD is Broadcast VOD is the method by which traditional broadcasters can offer another way of viewers accessing their content. This only refers to content previously or simultaneously released on another channel (often but not exclusive to Linear TV). Interestingly, due to the commercial nature of many of the traditional broadcasters, BBC iPlayer is the only solely B-VOD service, as other B-VOD services (e.g. Sky Go or ITV Player) also fall in to A-VOD or S-VOD categories due to the nature (e.g. commercial) of their services.
Subscription VOD is a form of Video-On-Demand which has had rapid uptake in recent years. Common examples of S-VOD include Sky and more recently, Netflix or Amazon Video. Viewers can watch content offered by these services via monthly subscription payments. People in general are becoming increasingly used to the subscription model for services and having access to a wide breadth of content across multiple devices for a relatively low monthly cost. Prop Placement is the only marketing communication strategy that can access all VOD Categories.
Linear Television is the viewing of television programmes or films at the time of broadcast. This is still the most popular method of viewing content in the UK. The percentage of viewing non-linear television (i.e. Video On-Demand) has increased in recent years due to the increased availability of devices and platforms offering these services.
VOSDAL stands for Viewing On Same Day As Live and refers to programmes which have been watched via VOD services on the same day as the original Linear broadcast. This includes any level of time-shifting, recording or catch-up services. Linear Television technically becomes VOSDAL as soon as it is paused or re-wound on a (e.g.) Sky+ box. This method of viewing is arguably more affected by promotion leading up to the broadcast of the programme and therefore a useful tool for broadcaster’ promotion departments.
Staggercast refers to content channels broadcast on a secondary channel at a time shortly after the original broadcast. A common “stagger” is one hour, examples including “Channel 4+1” or “ITV2+1”.
Simulcast is when the same programme is broadcast at the same time on different TV channels or platforms. Example 1: Hollyoaks being broadcast on Channel 4 may also be available at the same time on All4. Certain programmes (e.g. Gillette Soccer Saturday) may broadcast on both Sky Sports 1, SkySports Football and Sky One. This allows popular programmes to be viewed by a range of customers with different subscription types. Customers with broader subscription packages may see the same programme shown on multiple channels simultaneously.
Yes, Netflix can be categorised by S-VOD which stands for (Subscription-Video-On-Demand). Netflix has had rapid uptake in recent years. Reasons for this could include its relatively low cost, the high quality, original content it produces, and the sophistication of its platform which is very easy to access and use across multiple devices with one subscription. EMG are one of the few placement agencies actively accessing the S-VOD category, having developed relationships and proven placement success across Netflix programming.
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