Just when we thought we didn't have to watch commercials anymore, with TiVo ending the corporate enslavement of our subconscious, advertisers snuck back in. And we didn't even notice.
A study released by the Department of Research and Economic Affairs at Arizona State University found that subliminal advertising through product placement in movies is becoming more effective than ever, which of course means advertisers are going to start doing it...a lot.
Michael Wiles, an assistant professor of marketing at ASU, conducted the study, published in this month's Journal of Marketing. It finds that when a product is successfully placed in feature films, the company that makes it enjoys a dramatic boost in its stock price.
Wiles says companies have taken notice of this spike and are increasing spending on strategic product placement.
In 2005, Wiles says, marketing firms spent $722 million to get their products on the big screen and in the hands of characters like James Bond. By 2010, Wiles expects that number to more than double to $1.8 billion.
"It's a difficult balancing act to figure out which ones will be worth the most," Wiles says. "You also have to avoid having too many placements in the same film. As more brands get mentioned in a film, the placements compete and become less valuable."
Wiles finds that the most successful product placements in history have been Pepsi in Austin Powers: Goldmember,and the Mini Cooper in The Italian Job. Wiles says they were so successful because they were targeted at the ideal audience, and weren't outrageously expensive like the Aston Martins in most James Bond films.
Wiles says his study also found that product placement within television shows or movies is becoming more successful than an actual advertisement because, as cute as the Geicko Gecko may be, people can fast-forward right through him these days.
"There's quite a bit of value to be gained from film product placement because the spots are impossible to avoid," Wiles says. "You're able to tie your product to the characters and what's portrayed to get rich symbolic associations with the movie and pop culture."
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Our head's splitting with all those products inside.