Product placement as an efficient marketing tool within the media mix
The case of General Motors and Transformer
Product placement has existed in its most primitive form since the dawn of cinema. Now, due to the saturation of conventional advertising, this technique has reached its zenith, with brands appearing in an environment without competition, as a natural element of the plot. The automotive sector has been present from the beginning and soon understood the expressive possibilities that were offered. General Motors began its journey in the film industry in 1933 following an agreement with Warner. Since then, the General Motors group has had a growing presence in the film industry, which reached its peak in Transformers (2007), an unprecedented type of product placement. It is possible to identify a clear cause-effect relationship in the company’s sales, with product placement being an efficient marketing tool within the media mix, as we will show throughout this investigation. The study begins with a historical review of brand placement in North American cinema (1933-2014), then proceeds with a content analysis, following the methodology proposed by Méndiz (2001), of advertising placement in film and a structured interview with Norm Marshall, the director and founding partner of Norm Marshall & Associates, responsible for GM’s product placements.
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