Product placement in the movies has been around since 1951 when
Bogart and Hepburn starred in the classic, The African Queen.
Hepburn�s dumping of Gordon�s Dry Gin overboard was the beginning.
Film legend Joan Crawford carried the torch forward in The
Caretakers, when she came head-to-head with a Pepsi trade show
display at a psychiatric-ward picnic.
Now the theater, the oldest form of entertainment, is bartering with
marketers to monetize their unusual draw...affluent attendees.
(Theatergoers� average annual household income is $96,100.)
the 2005-06 season more than 12 million saw Broadway shows, spending
$862 million on tickets. And millions more see off-Broadway shows,
as well as traveling and regional productions.
Trading Can Help Offset
Broadway producers spend $165 million on expenses for new
productions, as a Broadway musical can run between $10 million and
$15 million to produce.
One way to lessen the cost is product placement, where marketers
barter their products in exchange for exposure. Producers see such
trading efforts as a viable way to offset the costs of play props
and opening-night parties.
Evian, for example, supplies bottles of water for use as props. In
return the firm gets the on-stage exposure as well as credit in
Playbill, the pamphlet that theater ushers give to each audience
Some marketers have provided live commercials. The tourist group
Visit London produced short pre-show skits for theaters that
encourage people to visit the British capital. Participating
theaters were then promoted on its web site.
Sprint tied in with an off-Broadway production about scheming
stockbrokers in a barter agreement, providing cellphones and PDAs as
props. Spirits marketer Jose Cuervo worked with Playwright Neil
Simon wherein a character drink their tequila instead of scotch.
Fruit drink Snapple made its off-Broadway debut with the Snapple
Theater Center in Times Square. Other stage-naming rights include
the American Airlines Theatre and the Cadillac Winter Garden
Novelists Bartering Between The Lines, Too
Product placement popping up in novels? Yes, according to Jane
Smiley, an author of many novels. Her most recent work is titled
Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel.
Smiley says writer Sean Stewart and his book packager, Jordan
Weisman, have added a little product placement in the novel for
adolescents they will soon be publishing.
a result of their willingness to alter a few details for Cover Girl
cosmetics, they�re getting advertising and promotion space on a web
site directed at adolescent girls. In addition, the initial
print-run of their book has burgeoned from 30,000 to 100,000.