December is the month for various lists, best-ofs, worst-ofs, Top 10s, Top 100s … So; here are some of my favourite moments of 2010 – the best examples of product placement and branded entertainment, the best music album(s) and song(s) and much more. I know that those lists are very subjective and personal, but anyway – if you agree or disagree with me, let me know.
The best product placement in movies and TV series
Apple’s iPad hit the stores in the beginning of April. It was heavily marketed and received a lot of publicity. But just three days before the stores started selling the new gadget, iPad was a star of the 19th episode of the ABC’s TV show Modern Family. It was a key part of the plot: the Dunphy family tried to buy their dad an iPad for his birthday, which coincided with the device’s launch day.
As I wrote in my analysis of that product placement in blog post Will iPad’s product placement go into marketing handbooks? the timing for this product placement was perfect. The execution was by the book:
- the product was integrated in the plot (actually the plot was built around the device)
- iPad was mentioned in different contexts – with very positive attitude towards it
- it was shown on the screen, they showed us a neat app (blowing candles) and Phil nearly got all emotional while using it.
In my opinion Apple’s product placement achieved its desired effect: “I (still) want to buy this product!”
The best product placement in 'real-life'
On 13th October one of the feel-good stories of the year reached its climax – 33 Chilean miners that were trapped in a mine for more than two months were finally rescued. There was a very interesting product placement that occurred when miners got out from the mine.
American eyewear company Oakley has made a donation/gift for all 33 miners – their Radar sunglasses, with a 100% UV protection and the retail price of $180. Miners were without sunlight for 69 days, so for them to avoid any eye-damages it would be perfectly normal and desired to wear sunglasses. According to some reports Oakley’s received $41 million in equivalent advertising time, which is spectacular achievement.
For more information about Oakley’s placement please read Chilean miners wear Oakley sunglasses.
The product placement prostitution of the year
In March Lady Gaga premiered her latest music video Telephone. The reports suggest that the video’s budget was between $300,000 and $400,000. Apparently the majority of the budget was financed with product placement deals. We could recognize several brands in the video: Diet Coke, Wonder Bread, Monster Headphones, Beats laptop, dating website PlentyOfFish, Miracle Whip, Polaroid, LG, Virgin Mobile, Viktor&Rolf…
The music video was a huge success (more than 98 million views on YouTube), but nevertheless we could say that there is a case of product placement prostitution in the Telephone video.
Runner up: Sex and The City 2. Here are some additional posts on product placement prostitution.
The best case of branded entertainment
Product placement is not the only marketing technique that I try to analyse in this blog. There are also different types of collaborations. Here’s the one that in my opinion stood out in 2010.
At the 2010 Sundance Film Festival filmmaker Spike Jonze premiered his latest movie – I’m Here, which was produced by Absolut Vodka and advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York. I’m here is a love story about two robots (Anne and Sheldon) living in a Los Angeles where humans and robots coexist. I suggest you watch this miniature gem – you won’t be dissapointed. It’s short and sweet, simple and engaging, moving and uplifting.
There was no sign of Absolut vodka in the movie, not a glimpse of classic product placement. It was produced and distributed as an art film rather than a long-form
commercial. However, the collaboration works, mainly because the movie is absolutely brilliant.
The best entertainment
The first part of 2010 was dominated by Avatar, but my personal favourite of the whole entertainment industry was the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. Larsson was a Swedish journalist and writer, who died in 2004. The Millennium Trilogy of crime novels was published posthumously and by March 2010 the trilogy had sold 27 million copies in more than 40 countries. Stieg Larsson is also the first author to sell more than one million e-books on Amazon.com.
The Millennium Trilogy is a series of three bestselling novels: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. They were first published in 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively. I managed to read all three novels and watch all three movie adaptations in the last couple of months. I have to admit that the trilogy is brilliant – the books are written in the Dan Brown’s way (very fast paced) and the movies are very well done (the first one The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the best one). Even more … it’s so good that Hollywood asked David Fincher to direct an American adaptation :)
The best line on TV
In the 9th episode of the Mad Men Season 4 Miss Blankenship suddenly died. You probably wonder Miss who?
Miss Ida Blankenship was Don Draper's old, comically incompetent secretary, who does not make sure his every need is taken care of. Even more, she was the source of much confusion and discomfort during Don Draper's time awake at the office.
When she died her colleagues tried to write an obituary, but were rather unsuccessful. The problem was solved by her former boss Bert Cooper who said:
“She was born in 1898 in a barn. She died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper. She was an astronaut.”
The best pop/rock song of the year
I know that best songs and albums have nothing to do with product placement, but I had this urge to publish my favourite one. Like every year the competition was fierce, but for me the best song of the year was Girls Like You by the New Zealand rock band The Naked and Famous, taken from their debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You.
The best pop/rock album of the year
I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Britpop bands from the mid 90s (Blur, Pulp, Oasis, Manic Street Preachers …) and I was very surprised and excited when I’ve heard that Suede were planning a reunion tour. Unfortunately they haven’t come to Slovenia or in the neighbourhood. However, in November they released a new album, called simply The Best Of. In my opinion that album was the best of 2010. It starts with three powerful songs Animal Nitrate, Beautiful Ones and Trash. Not every song on the album is a masterpiece, but if you like that kind of music, this compilation is a great tribute to Suede’s fantastic career.
My personal favourite song of the moment:
- The Family Jewels by Marina and The Diamonds
- Acolyte by Delphic
- Come Around Sundown by Kings of Leon
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
- The A-Z project by Ash
- Passive Me, Aggressive You by The Naked and Famous
- Body Talk by Robyn
- Tourist History by Two Door Cinema Club
- Carl Barat by Carl Barat