If you’re an entrepreneur you’ve undoubtedly watched movies and wondered to yourself: how awesome would it be if he was using my product, my service? Is product replacement only available for companies with unlimited marketing budgets? Or can an ordinary small business or startup make a splash on the silver screen?
In order to help finance a movie, movie producers will sign $100 thousand contracts with companies such as Pepsi, Chevrolet, and FedEx. Sometimes, the large brands fit perfectly into the movie and even act as a character, like Wilson did in Cast Away. Other times, the producer’s desire to cash in is so obvious, it turns off the audience, which made Transformers seem like a 2 hour long GM ad. Sometimes, even though product placement is subtle (like the Dunkin Donuts in Good Will Hunting), it’s obvious that the director tried to make it subtle.
Not surprisingly, producers sometimes avoid big brands all together and give the little guy a chance in order to add some authenticity to the movie. The Kids Are Alright, for example, featured Fiddlehead Cellars, a modestly sized vineyard. Here’s how you can get your product or service in a movie or a television show…
Find out the contact info of the production company. If it’s a television show, do a little online detective work. Let’s say your business has a hat shop and you know that Law and Order is filming in your city. A Google search for Law and Order Special Victims Unit yields an IMDB webpage, which says that the show’s current production company is Universal Media Studios. A search for their website reveals the e-mail address and phone number of the Senior Vice President of Publicity.
Find out the contact information of key people in production companies who produce the television shows or movies, you want your product to be featured in. Rather than contacting them with an outright request to be included in their production (an instant turn off), simply send them a media kit, which includes your contact information, a description of your product or service, photos, and a letter saying that you’d be happy to have your product or service featured. In your media kit, make sure to include a cover letter that makes your business sound interesting and unique enough in order to pique the reader’s interest. But, whatever you do, do not suggest how your business may be used! The producers will decide that for themselves.
While it isn’t likely that your sales will skyrocket after being featured on the set of 24 or Moneyball, having your product or service featured in a movie or television show will give instant credibility to your business and give your business a long-term boost in sales. If you own a business in a specific location, your business may become a tourist destination where people buy your product just because it was used by a famous celebrity. The Lecca-Lecca Gelato Caffe in Miami, which was featured in MTV’s Jersey Shore, does not have long lines coming out of it. Instead, it’s an ordinary gelato shop with photos of Jersey Shore celebrities.
Think of product placement as a reward for being a good business man or woman. If your business provides real value or is unique in some way, you may get a bite by contacting production companies. In the mean time, focus on providing real value to your customers.
Nickolay Lamm manages InventHelpScam Youtube as well as other InventHelp web properties.