Sep 27 Press Release

High Profile Actresses Deliver Empowering Brand Partnerships

tomb Raider Alicia Vikander Lara Croft

– 27th Sept 2017 –

2016 was a record breaking year for female-led films, with The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film reporting that women fronted 29% of the top 100 grossing films of the year, resulting in a 7% increase on 2015 results.

With a slow but steady rise in female-led films, it’s no surprise that brands have been quick to capitalise on opportunities to associate with strong and empowered characters through product placement and relevant brand partnerships. We take a look at some of the successes – and fails – of these recent partnerships and propose that the time is now for more female-focused brands to capitalise on the success and popularity of films with strong female role models.

Notable female-fronted films of recent years included Amy Adams in ‘Arrival’, Felicity Jones in ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, Mila Kunis in Bad Moms’ and the ensemble of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones in Ghostbusters’;  a clear sign that Hollywood is addressing the gender bias that has plagued the industry for decades.

Rogue One Poster and Gillette Partnership

CREDIT: DISNEY

However, despite the dominance of Jones’ character in Rogue One’, with her character taking central stage of the promotional posters, the brand partners of the film were typically male/family-skewing. With promotional campaigns from brands such as Gilette, Nissan and Verizon failing to capitalise on the film appealing to a wider female audience.

Ghostbusters stillCREDIT: SONY PICTURES

Similarly the Ghostbusters’ UK promotional run included gender neutral brand partnerships for National Tyres and Autocare, Sony Mobile, O2 Priority and Karcher, none of which used the strong female characters to their advantage. In fact there was very little in the way of women appearing in the campaigns, with brands seemingly to prefer playing on the popularity of the iconic and long-standing franchise than its appeal to a new female generation.

Ghostbusters Karcher Partnership
CREDIT: KARCHER

2017 continues the revolution of female leads taking over the typically male-skewing film genres with Gal Gadot picking up Wonder Woman’s lasso and sword and smashing the 2017 box office. The film took a massive $800 million during the summer, becoming the third highest-grossing film in Warner Brothers history. As a result, the film’s director, Patty Jenkins is soon to become the highest-paid female director in history following confirmation that she will direct the sequel.

Wonder Woman Patty Jenkins
CREDIT: WARNER BROS PICTURES

Whilst ‘Wonder Woman’ cemented tie-ins with brands such as Dr Pepper, Lego, Nascar and a Walgreens Cosmetics line, the film generated some negative press when it was revealed that one of the film’s partners was a female lifestyle brand called thinkThin, offering protein bars, nutritional supplements etc. Naturally this caused a backlash on social media as many were outraged that the film would promote the idea that being thin is synonymous with being a healthy, strong and intelligent woman.

In stark contrast to this, the film’s promotional campaign also coincided with International Women’s day, where the film’s stars Gal Gadot and Chris Pine used the day as a platform to contribute to the pro-feminist conversation and solidify the film as leading the way for the industry to encourage more female focus and leadership. Despite his celebrity draw, Chris Pine was notably absent from the films promotional posters as the studio played to the film’s strength and made the decision to put Gadot’s character front and center of all marketing efforts.

Wonder Woman posters

CREDIT: WARNER BROS PICTURES

It’s not only the comic-book genre that female leads are starting to take over. This year’s Atomic Blonde’ pulled the punches in this Cold War action thriller, billed as a ‘female John Wick’ and actually went on to gross more at the box office than the Keanu Reeves original. Russian Vodka brand Stolichnaya became a natural brand partner with the film’s bold and edgy tone, fitting perfectly with the brand’s current positioning. The product placement of the brand included two verbal mentions by Theron’s character, with the bottle appearing eight times throughout the film.

The campaign included an Atomic Blonde/Stoli Pandora station which generated over 31K listeners and the campaign’s display ads totalled more than 23.4 million impression,s while pre-roll videos garnered over 9 million views.


CREDIT: STOLI VODKA

2018 is set to continue the trend of female led feature films. Fans of the 2001 crime thriller Ocean’s 11′ starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt are eagerly awaiting the all-female remake titled Ocean’s 8′ with a high profile cast including Anne Hathaway, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna and many more.

All we can say about the film so far is that Debbie Ocean, played by Sandra Bullock will attempt to ‘pull off the heist of the century at New York’s star-studded annual Met Gala’ – perhaps providing a golden opportunity for luxury fashion brands given the setting. There’s still a while to wait and see which brands will partner up with the project as the film hits theatres on 8th June 2018.

Oceans 8 still

CREDIT: WARNER BROS PICTURES

Also in the works is the upcoming remake of ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ currently titled ‘Nasty Women’ led by Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. The original starred Steve Martin and Michael Caine and saw two con men try to settle their rivalry by betting on who can swindle a young American heiress out of $50k first. ‘Nasty Women’ sees the gender reversed version of the 1988 comedy where the two characters will engage in a loser-leaves-town contest.

Nasty Women Rebel Wilson Instagram

CREDIT: REBEL WILSON INSTAGRAM

Another project that will feature a strong and powerful woman is ‘Red Sparrow’, with Jennifer Lawrence teaming up with her ‘Hunger Games’ Director to portray a Russian spy seductress. Starring alongside are Joel Edgerton, Ciaran Hinds, Charlotte Rampling and Mary-Louise Parker.

With the first shots of Alicia Vikander in action as everyone’s favourite ‘Tomb Raider’,  Lara Croft in the films recently released trailer, is yet just another example that goes  to prove how much Hollywood sees the benefit of these female focused movies.

 

With the film industries support and the number of strong female role models on screen, there has never been better opportunity for brands, whether gender specific or not, to reach the core female audience.

From on screen integrations and product placement to smart and targeted promotional brand partnerships, more companies are seeing the benefits of choosing to associate with these mega franchises and push forward the message of gender equality in a typically male-dominated industry.

Aug 08 Press Release

Top 5 2017 Summer music video hits with Product Placement!

JBL Product Placement-Demi Lovato 'Sorry Not Sorry'

The notion of product placement in music videos is pretty commonplace these days, from Justin Bieber to Lady Gaga, brands and artists understand how mutually beneficial the relationship can be. Let’s take a look at a highlight of the top placements right now in the charts;

Pia Mia ft. Jeremih

Brands Spotted: Jeep and Casio

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Pia cruising in a Jeep. Back in 2015, we saw a Jeep Wrangler in her Touch Video. Later in this video Casio G-Shock make an appearance on Pia’s wrist. This isn’t the first time Jeep have teamed with up artists. In 2015, the brand partnered with Brooklyn based band X-Ambassadors and built a campaign around the track ‘Renegade’, which coincidently was the same name as the new model they were launching.

Demi Lovato

Brands Spotted: Jaguar, JBL Audio and Lyft App

Demi Lovato’s latest, “Sorry Not Sorry,” is the highpoint of product placement as the video works its way through endorsements for Jaguar cars, JBL headphones and speakers; ending in a super prominent endorsement for the Lyft app.

Fifth Harmony

Brands Spotted: Dodge Durango

It’s been about seven months since the ladies of Fifth Harmony went down to four when Camila Cabello announced she was leaving the group. Their highly anticipated new single ‘Down’ featured a black Dodge Durango AWD Citadel. Maybe we can look forward to seeing the Dodge Durango as the newest member of the band.

DNCE

Brands Spotted: PepsiThree Olives

The video featured Three Olives in multiple scenes with added activity across DNCE’s social platforms, promoting the partnership.

Hailee Steinfeld

Brands Spotted: Mission

Mission fitness clothing has tapped Hailee Steinfeld to help promote its new VaporActive apparel line. The 20-year-old singer and actress will appear in Mission’s ad campaign and serve as a brand ambassador for the collection. She wore the VaporActive sports bra, compression shorts and HydroActive Max Cooling towel in her new music video.

 

The number of product placements in music videos has been increasing in recent years, and the trend is likely to continue in the future. As traditional record sales and royalty profits have declined, Artists increasingly look to brand integration partnerships to find new sources of income. Brands are happy to invest as the platform delivers reach to an ever growing audience looking for short form shareable content

With numerous music opportunities for brands to get involved with, Seesaw Media are busier than ever working closely with the major music labels both in the UK & the US to activate partnerships for clients.

Jul 20 Press Release

Product Placement Gets Back to Reality

Love Island and Reality TV - Product Placement

In recent weeks a reality TV phenomena has swept across the British nation as it seems UK audiences can’t get enough of ITV2’s latest reality output ‘Love Island’. Viewers up and down the country have become obsessed with the series, with BBC News commenting on the show and even UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn backing Marcel to win.

With a reported 4.5 million tweets sent about the show, 2.5m sent during the episodes and a record 13.3million viewers so far, brands too are drawn to the show looking to capitalise on every opportunity from product placement to licensing.

Ministry of Sound is a recent example of an organic product placement, hosting a ‘Ministry of Sound Summer Party’ in the Love Island villa just as two new faces arrived. Featuring a branded pool party, with a mix of branded floats, album signage, pillows, sunglasses, balloons as well as verbal mentions by the cast members, the audience were in no doubt of the placement. One day after the episode aired, Ministry of Sound’s new album ‘Marbella Collection 2017’ hit number 1 in both the Dance and Official Albums Chart, showcasing the power of Product Placement within TV.

 

 

Another product that has appeared on the show and has become immensely popular, is the Love Island water bottle. Contestants in the house have personalised bottles which they carry throughout the series. ITV are monetising the placement by making the products available to purchase through their official Love Island app whereby they can also use the app to vote.

The shows producers have also negotiated licensing deals with most prominently Primark producing Love Island clothing and merchandise featuring the contestants many catchphrases.

Love Island Primark Tshirts
Love Island Primark Tshirts

When the contestants leave the series is when they truly benefit as loved-up couple Dom and Jess have proved. These ex-Love Island contestants, have been inundated with offers to promote brands on their Instagram pages since their departure to a combined 1.6million followers. Brands including AX Paris, Boohoo Man, Nutri Buddy, Sony Playstation’s Destiny video game all see the benefit of tying in with the shows new personalities.

The Love Island phenomenon wont be limited just to the UK as ITV are set to make millions from selling the Love Island format worldwide. ITV are hoping to emulate the success of Big Brother, which started in Holland and resulted in the format being replicated in more than 40 countries around the world.

Big Brother has also been a popular platform for product placement, with brands including Morrisons, Maximuscle, Very.co.uk, Microsoft, L’Oreal and Weetabix  choosing the series to promote commercial partnerships.

Big Brother Product Placement - Maximuscle and Weetabix
Big Brother Product Placement – Maximuscle and Weetabix

Film Distributor Lionsgate partnered with Big Brother to raise awareness and generate buzz of the film ‘Nerve’. To integrate the placement, a ‘Nerve Centre’ was created in the house with viewers asked to tweet dares for the housemates. Verbal mentions were included when housemates were asked if they ‘had the Nerve’ before each task and advertisements for the film created to top and tail the ad breaks also promoted a Nerve competition for viewers.

Big Brother Product Placement - Nerve
Big Brother Product Placement – Nerve

Probably the most famous of all reality stars, the Kardashians, have been entertaining viewers and promoting brands since 2007. From the clothes they wear to the restaurants they dine in, with a global audience on offer, brands find placing in the show very appealing. The Lumee phone case is a great example of placement where the case is used by several members of the Kardashian family not just as a phone case, but showing the functionality of the product as it lights up for better selfie images.

The Kardashians Product Placement - Lumee
The Kardashians Product Placement – Lumee

Extending to social placements, The Kardashians reportedly charge as much as $300,000 per placement, with brands including Fit Tea, Lyfe Tea, Lilly Lashes, Hype Energy and many more all benefitting from the Queens of Instagram promoting their products.

Kardashians Product Placement - Fit Tea
Kardashians Product Placement – Fit Tea

It’s clear that as the appetite of reality TV grows more and more brands are realising the benefits of being placed in or associated with this latest television sensation, especially when it comes to targeting the hard to reach millennials.

Jul 06 Press Release

A Day In The Life Of A Product Placement Specialist

A Day in The Life of A Product Placement Specialist

6:00 AM. My working day starts early, checking emails that have come in overnight from the US; from studios, record labels, costume designers, Producers etc. I never reply straight away but it gives me a head start on the day as I can start prioritising what I need to do on the school run.

7:45 AM. Luckily my middle child’s school gate opens at 7.30am, which means I can be at my desk by 7.45am. The next hour I have the office to myself and is probably when I’m most productive; working on presentations, pitches, reading scripts and responding to those US emails from my most recent trip to LA.

“The next hour I have the office to myself” Product Placement
“The next hour I have the office to myself”

8:00 AM. I also follow up on the trades as even though I don’t contact productions on a day-to-day basis like I used to, I still like to know what is going on, especially when there are big projects that I have a personal interest in, like Blade Runner 2049.

9:00 AM. The rest of the office starts to arrive and we have a catch up about last night’s television and any clients that may have appeared on screen, with any exposure clipped and sent to clients with the corresponding media report. We will then usually re-tweet, post a link or image relating to the placement.

The office is open plan which is what I like, to be in the heart of the office, as opposed to being shut away in my own office. It means that everyone hears and is involved in everything, which is really beneficial especially when coming up with ideas.

We have a great team who are brilliant at what they do and I don’t think there is anyone better with their skill set, from tracking down productions to client liaison.

We are currently working across a number of pitches in the office, so whoever is working on a presentation will always share the document for everyone to review, to make sure it answers the brief and always good to get a different perspective.

The nice thing about our client list is that the brands we work with are so varied. So one minute you could be talking about the costume for the latest Marvel movie, the next you are sourcing a 1930s whisky label, to filming on board a cruise ship or negotiating brand exposure for a music video.

11:00 AM. After meeting with an old client for coffee; who has moved on to a new company and is interested in our services, I head back to the office via Oxford Street and Selfridges. Not for shopping but for inspiration and new brands that we could potentially approach.

13:00 PM. Lunch is usually at my desk and done in 10 minutes!

13:10 PM. My background is a copywriter and so I am always looking at AdAge.com or the recent advertising award winners from D&AD and Cannes Lions for inspiration. I share them with the office and encourage them to share things they have seen too so we can discuss and see how we can apply them to what we do.

What’s especially interesting, is that more than ever advertising and PR agencies are looking at creating engaging content and finding out ways to get it in front of the biggest and most relevant audience possible, which is what we have been doing for the past 17 years through product placement.

14:00 PM. It’s now 9am over in Atlanta, where there are a number of productions we are currently working on. We begin to get emails/calls and start speaking with production crew about supplying products.

15:00 PM.In London, I’m on the phone to the UK distributor of a forthcoming big Christmas release where we’ve product placed a client, to discuss potential opportunities for them to promote their association.

16:30 PM.  The emails from LA start to fill up the inbox…speaking with the studios about forthcoming releases, touching base with our LA office and see what the status is of upcoming productions.

18:00 PM. We arrive at a preview screening of “Transformers –The Last Knight”, the latest summer blockbuster we worked on. We always try to make sure we see a cut of the film before it is released, so we can let our clients know what their exposure is like and then help them leverage their exposure.

Transformers Preview Screening product placement
Transformers Preview Screening

For Transformers, with the placed item in question being a leather jacket worn by Mark Wahlberg’s character and having already appeared in most of the trailers and promotional posters in Cannes, we are confident what the exposure will be like.  And sure enough, within the first 10 minutes the jacket is there in glorious IMAX 3D.

After the movie, I WhatsApp the client in Italy to inform them and the response I get, is simply ‘Top!, which from a client of few words means they are pleased.

20:30 PM. After the screening, we head off to Volvo’s Midsommar Party (nothing to do with Midsummers Murders, which coincidentally also features Volvos) being held at the stunning Kensington Roof Gardens. It’s a great opportunity to socialise with clients who we have been working with for over 7 years now and know them well on a personal level!

Volvo’s Midsommar Party
Volvo’s Midsommar Party

00:00 am. I respond to a few emails from our colleagues in LA before plugging in my phone and switching off.

Darryl Collis is Director of Seesaw Media-the Industries leading Product Placement agency.

Jun 07 Press Release

Tourism: The appeal of Product Placement

Turkish Airlines wrapped plane "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice" product placement

With travelers spoilt for choice when it comes to vacations and how to get there, tourist boards,  airlines and even cruise ships are doing all they can to market themselves as the first choice, with the latest tool being Product Placement.

With many countries seeing the economic benefits of “destination placement” (the industry term for this specific form of product placement) from local jobs created when filming to the increase in tourism after the locations appear in the final cut,  tourist boards will do all they can to entice big Hollywood movie studios.  Such incentives include tax breaks,  heavily subsidised services to even implementing global multi-million dollar marketing campaigns to support the release.

Turkish Airlines: “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice”

In January 2016, Turkish Airlines announced an innovative partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures and it’s huge action blockbuster picture “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”. Having been written into the script with one key scene taking place aboard a 777 Turkish Airlines plane, the product placement partnership  led to a huge global promotional partnership around the film’s release, which included;

  • Commercials featuring Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) that premiered during the superbowl.
  • Promotional piece with director Zack Snyder talking about the benefits of the sponsorship.
  • Innovative movie-themed virtual experiences for fans online.
  • Sponsorship of the film’s Premiere offering 8 fans the opportunity to fly first class to attend the Premiere.
  • An exclusive Turkish Airlines wrapped plane in film imagery.
  • Limited edition movie-themed in-flight amenity kits for adults, which includes an eye mask and slippers and for children, headphones, slippers, and a watch.
  • Movie-themed in-flight menu items, such as branded cookies and cupcakes.
  • A Time Out travel guide featuring content focusing on Gotham City and Metropolis, which was distributed to moviegoers, passengers at select movie theatres and airports.
batman v superman dawn of justice product placement turkish aiirline
Turkish Airlines: “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Premiere”

As with all big blockbusters the film’s day-and-date release in all key markets, ensured that amassed over $424 million at the box office in it’s opening weekend, breaking the record for the biggest worldwide opening for any superhero movie and going on to achieve over $870 million globally at the box office.

“Now You See Me 2” & Sands Resort

The “Now You See Me 2” film shoot is the latest example of both a resort and location mutually benefitting from destination placement. The resort was Sands China and was integrated as a backdrop for a major heist scene in the movie. Scenes were shot in a variety of locations at the resort, including the rooftop of Sands Macao and the Great Hall of The Venetian Macao.

Instead of an integration fee, the casino provided locations and branding that ultimately helped keep the spiralling production costs down for Lionsgate and director Jon M. Chu. Sands China brought the Hollywood production to Macao as its latest move to further promote the city as an international tourist destination – whilst increasing global awareness of the resort.

Following the success of the sequel “Now You See Me 2”, grossing over $334 million and becoming China’s biggest ever opening film, Lionsgate is pressing forward with a third instalment of the popular franchise which will no doubt be a huge success in China as one of the most important markets for box office revenue globally.

Now You See Me 2 cast at the Sands China Resort product placement
Now You See Me 2 cast at the Sands China Resort

Darryl Collis, Director of Seesaw Media, has witnessed the rise of Destination Placements first hand “In addition to representing one of the World’s leading Cruise Ship companies, in the last twelve months alone we have seen 200% increase in the number of resorts and tourist boards that have enquired  looking for us to promote their destinations as filming locations”

Mexico & James Bond: “Spectre”

Unsuprisingly no other film shows off a destination quite like James Bond. From Casino Royale’s opening shots of Paradise Island in the Bahamas to the famous Palio horse race in Sienna in “Quantum Of Solace”, tourist boards will do all they can to have 007 “shooting” in their city, even if it means destroying it.

In Bonds latest venture “Spectre”, grossing over $860 million at the box office Worldwide, Mexico City plays as much a part of the film as Moneypenny. Having engaged early with the Producers they negotiated the all-important iconic opening 8 minute pre credit sequence to be shot entirely on location in Mexico. Taking place during Mexico’s infamous “Day Of The Dead” ceremony the whole sequence is a commercial for the Mexican Tourist Board (apart from the destroyed building or helicopter crash).

It was reported Mexican officials payed $20 million and had very specific requirements not only to ensure that the city was shown in a favourable light but the Mexican people were too, namely:

  • Highlights of the skyline and other ‘modern’ features of Mexico City.
  • A known Mexican actress must be cast as glamourous Bond girl Estrella (Stephanie Sigman was cast as the woman whose hotel room Bond uses to start his hunt for the main villain – Sciarra).
  • The main villain, Sciarra, could not be Mexican.
  • Bond’s pursuit of Sciarra had to be during the Mexican “Day of the Dead” Parade.
Spectre: Day of the Dead Festival in Mexico product placement
Spectre: Day of the Dead Festival in Mexico

Music Video placement

With music videos being the go to place for any brand looking to engage with a younger audience, it was no surprise UK based holiday company First Choice Holidays partnered with UK artist Alesha Dixon for her summer single “The Way We Are”. The video was shot on a number of First Choice resorts across Paphos in Cyprus as part of their ‘Summer of Music’ campaign.

Alesha Dixon "Summer of Music" campaign product placement
Alesha Dixon “Summer of Music” campaign

The campaign gave fans the opportunity to create a summer soundtrack for their holiday using the ‘Summer of Music Playlist Generator’ on the First Choice website and were also able to vote for 1 of 3 conclusions they liked best for the music video ending.

With a number of glamorous locations appearing in some of the summers big blockbuster releases, be sure to head on down to the cinema for some holiday inspiration!