Everything is for Sale

As a branding company, we take into account the full marketing and communications needs of our clients, including paid advertising. Quite simply, advertising still works, whether you’re a mutli-national corporation or a start-up coffee shop. People have to know you exist if you want them to buy what you’re selling or visit your shop.

Some ads make more sense than others. Very recently, several brands dropped their ad buys from MTV’s new show “Skins”, citing that the show was too racy to be associated with. Selling cigarettes on TV isn’t allowed anymore in the US, and no one thinks it’s wise marketing to try and pitch luxury yachts to the middle class.

Which brings us to the fascinating world of product placement. Earlier this week, news broke that documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s new film found a title sponsor. The tongue-in-cheek movie is about product placement and funded entirely by…product placement. The title of the feature-length film? POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

I love it. It’s brilliant. It makes sense. And it extends the brands of POM, the products featured in the movie, and Spurlock himself.

Best of all, the reach of each brand extends beyond the screen (both big and small) and into blog posts, news articles, and social media streams. Advertising, then, is never about a single billboard or coupon or commercial. It’s about the ability of everyone who comes into contact with any of those to share it with those they bump into. It’s not just the banner ad; it’s the number of times someone tweets about it. It’s no longer just about the sign on the side of the bus; it’s about those who snap a picture and blast it out to their Facebook friends via a status update.

The truth of the matter is this: if done well, advertising, direct mail, and even cold calling still work. The trick of the matter is the “done well” part.

What do you think?

Is Spurlock on to something? Will the brands in his film benefit from being included in the long run? Would you fork over the cash to appear in an episode of 30 Rock?

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