Where to find financing for your film part I – product placement
It has been said that a producer’s only job is to raise financing for his projects. When everyone competes for the same traditional sources (film fund, broadcaster & distributor), it makes sense to try and diversify your financing sources. In this series I want to outline the more or less obvious sources that a film or TV producer could tap into.
This week’s film financing source: Product placement
The idea: You prominently display a product, service or brand in your film or TV show in a way that is natural to the story and world of the film. The display can be visual, embedded in dialogue, or both.
What’s in it for you: At best cold hard cash, depending on your audience profile and size. At the least you can get the displayed items on loan for the duration of your shoot (compare with sponsoring).
The catch: You need a sizable audience (through secured distribution), you need to be able to profile it (see here regarding target audience thinking) and you need to make sure that the placed product fits well into your script so that it doesn’t irritate your audience.
How do you do it: Establish and sustain contacts with account managers at advertising agencies and CMO’s at large companies who represent relevant brands. Pitch projects to them regularly, but always make sure that you demonstrate what their client gets out of the deal.
Examples: Lucky Strike cigarettes in ‘Mad Men’, FedEx logos all over ‘Castaway’, the Dom Perignon in James Bond’s hand or all kinds of every day items in the supermarket scenes in any daily soap.
Tidbit: Many people dismiss the possibility for product placement in animated films. The number of product placements in animated family films has gone down in recent years, and there are good reasons for this. But the anarchistic ‘Terkel in Trouble‘ is a good example where the blatant advertising actually works for the premise of the film.
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