We’ve already gone over why we agree with angel investor Ron Conway when he says product placements on the Web are a multibillion dollar opportunity. But here’s what critically acclaimed film director David Lynch says about product placements: “Bullshit. That’s how I feel. Total fucking bullshit.”
He’s just as right as Conway. The trick for Web video producers — think startups Revision3, NextNewNetworks or old media companies moving to the Web — is to find a way to earn some of Conway’s billions while not alienating the viewers Lynch speaks for. It won’t be easy, but we’re here to help.
Let’s start with what not to do. Below, 10 awkward product placement examples from film, TV and the Web not to follow — and why. (Look for 10 good examples to follow next week.)
Casino Royale — What makes it particularly bad is how Eva Green pauses before asking “Rolex?”
Men In Black II — eBay isn’t for Web search. Make sure the character uses the product the way its used in real life.
The Deer Hunter — Don’t match your brand with the guy who creeps everybody out.
The Thomas Crown Affair — Why is she chugging a Pepsi One right now? Oh, because Pepsi is paying her to. Don’t spotlight the product with bizarre behaviour.
The Matrix Reloaded — Not every car on the road is a GM. Mix in some generics with the advertiser’s brand.
I,Robot — We imagine the script for this scene looks like this: [Screaching breaks] Character raises product into frame, says product name. [Plot continues] Do not ask your actors to unnaturally contort their bodies to put the product in the frame.
“LonelyGirl15” — Give the LonelyGirl15 creators credit for figuring out the product placement model on the Web. But did they have to introduce the product by saying: “What is that?”
“America’s Next Top Model” — Tyra’s show makes bank on product placements, but when contestants are talking to the camera is not the time to force another pitch. Tyra should stick to brand integrations like the Covergirl photo shoot at the end of every cycle.
The Island — We don’t begrudge Michael Bay’s efforts to pay for his expensive explosions with product placements, and one of these featured here would be OK. But trying to fit them all into one feature-length film is too distracting for viewers. Be careful plugging more than one product per episode.
Runaway Bride — Don’t ruin the emotional climax of your story — even it’s a cooking show — with a big product billboard and a slogan.
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