How Product Placement Can Drive Consumer Trends

5WPR News
product placement 08.12.18

The right product placement can prove to be a huge windfall both for the entertainment media and for the brand in question. Movie and TV producers make some extra money for their budget, and the brands get massive exposure as well as an emotional connection with the audience.

But product placement can do even more than that. Sometimes, product placement creates cultural trends that last even long after the movie is no longer in theaters or the TV show is past its prime.

Mini Cooper Inspires in the Italian Job

If you wanted to argue that the multi-colored Mini Coopers were also a character in the 2003 heist movie “The Italian Job,” it’s doubtful anyone would argue. The cars were everywhere in the film, which sometimes looked like an extended commercial for the small, amazingly versatile and apparently fun to drive cars. BMW donated more than 30 Minis to be used in the film, mainly as an homage to the previous version of the movie, but the investment also proved to be strong. The company saw a 22 percent increase in sales the year the film was released.

Tom Cruise Helps Save Ray-Ban

In the early 1980s, Ray-Ban was hurting badly. The company was desperate for something, anything, that could help them pull out of a slump. Enter Tom Cruise in the role that catapulted him into superstardom. When a young Cruise donned the classic black Wayfarers for his turn as a high school escort service owner, the world took notice. A star was born, and a fashion trend was launched that would dominate the rest of the decade. Then, in Cruise’s next big film, Top Gun, Ray-Ban was back on his face, this time the retooled Aviator model. It’s reported that, thanks to Cruise, Ray-Ban sold hundreds of thousands of Wayfarers, and sales of Aviator shades jumped 40 percent.

Speaking of Wayfarers, Remember Miami Vice?

Ray-Ban benefited greatly from yet another 80s hit, quadrupling orders after appearing on the faces of the coolest cops on TV, Crockett and Tubbs. In the mid to late 80s no one on TV was cooler than Don Johnson, who played Miami police detective Sonny Crockett on Miami Vice. From his Ferrari to his totally tropical-chic wardrobe, Sonny was the guy women wanted and the one men wanted to be. Thanks to Crockett and Tubbs, the world wanted to wear t-shirts under pastel sport coats or skinny ties with double-breasted suits and relaxed trousers. The TV show, changed the fabric of fashion for nearly a decade and inspired After Six to create a line of “Crockett-inspired” dinner jackets.

Carrie Loves Manolo

Fans of Sex and the City are nearly as obsessed with that program and their favorite character as ‘Carrie Bradshaw’ was with her Manolo Blahnik shoes. Out of 94 episodes of the hit program, Carrie wore Manolos at least 16 times, and at least once in the follow-up movie, leading to the shoe designer becoming a household name for an entire generation of American women.

What is your favorite or most memorable cultural trend inspired by product placement? 

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