When Britney Spears released music video for her song Hold it Against Me the main talk on Twitter was about product placement in the video. It contains several brands that are very clearly visible: Sony, PlentyOfFish, Britney’s own perfume Radiance and Make Up Forever brand of eye shadow. Sony’s product placement was obvious because music label Jive Records, which is responsible for Britney Spears, is a unit of Sony Music Entertainment and PlentyOfFish dating website is one of the top players when it comes to product placement in music videos.

In my opinion some of those placements were forced, unnatural and out of context, but so is the majority of product placement in music videos (you can read more on product placement in Britney's Hold it Against Me in blog post Britney – sponsored by Sony and Plenty of Fish)

Perfume Radiance by Britney Spears in Britney Spears' music video “Hold It Against Me” (2011, Jive, screen capture)

But on February 18, the day after Britney's video was unveiled; the story got an interesting spin. Katy Perry's tour support act Marina Diamandis (@MarinasDiamonds) of Marina and The Diamonds tweeted: “What is consensus on product placement in videos? As a fan, do you prefer product placement if it means bigger budget vid?” “Or smaller budget vid free of the temptations of 'Plenty O Fish' etc?”

Katy Perry soon responded with: “@MarinasDiamonds do it w/style & grace…Not so in ur face like some. U hv to get creative w/it. Some artists don't care tho, & u can tell.”

After that some tabloid media interpreted Katy’s tweet as criticism of product placement in the video for Hold It Against Me. For that kind of media feuds among celebrities are pure gold. But after a week Katy Perry responded again with a five-part message on her Twitter profile:

“Dear tabloid media aka FILTH: pls note I expressed an overall feeling about product placement, their roles in vids & the art of them being [complementary] or sticking out. Most, if not ALL popsters welcome deals w/products 2 offset costs of big budget vids in these recessional music industry times. I'VE used them in MY vi

ds before & am happy 2b able 2 make a better vid because of. Once AGAIN, stop pitting artists against artist for ur sensational satisfaction & stick to what ur best @: lying, gossiping, exaggerating & overall lending a hand 2 the deterioration of a generation.”

As you can see Katy is of course in favour of product placement. Adam Kluger, a product-placement specialist and owner of Kluger Agency told Billboard: “Every artist needs to do product placement. It's as simple as that.” Kluger also estimated that the money raised from brands can pay for anywhere from 20% to 100% of the cost of the video. “I can guarantee that every artist gets the offers [for their videos],” he said and “ultimately, it's the artist's decision, just like Katy said.”

Vogue sunglasses in Katy Perry's music video ET (2011, Capitol, screen capture)

When Katy Perry unveiled the music video for her latest single E.T. there was just one important issue for me: will she incorporate any product placement or not? Guess what … she did. She included Vogue sunglasses that were clearly visible for a few seconds and she also put them on. Basically it was a very modest use of product placement, nothing over-the-top, forced or even bizarre.

At the moment Katy Perry is one of the biggest (female) stars in the pop music world. It’s quite natural that a lot of brands want to be connected with her or at least appear in her videos. Why? Because after nine days 17 million people watched the video for E.T. on YouTube only.

Katy was recently unveiled as the new face of ghd (Good Hair Day), the U.K. based hairstyling and appliance brand. She has signed a multi-year global partnership deal and will appear in the print and TV campaigns for the brand. Besides that ghd will become the International Tour Sponsor for Perry’s California Dreams 2011 tour. This fall Katy will launch her own scent. She has teamed up with fragrance firm Firmenich to create Purr by Katy Perry. I could bet that she’ll include it in some of her future videos.


Trivia: this is the 100th post on Brands & Films. Thanks for sticking around.

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