3 Cheap Ways to Get Your Brand Noticed (And Fuel Social Media Success)

Okay, I admit it; my buying and style choices can be influenced by associations with certain productions and stars. My choices don’t even have to be purchases; they could be a hairstyle or which entertainment I choose to watch. If a favorite author speaks well of another author, I’m more apt to read them. If my favorite musician has someone I’ve never heard of on their playlist, I’m likely to track the artist down for a listen. I’m still wearing the aviator frames the band Oasis made look cool in 1995. We are influenced by the people or media we respect. To that end, a new category of “entertainer” known as influencers is growing in popularity on social media sites like Instagram and YouTube. These, often young, celebrities are making Andy Warhol’s prediction that, “Everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes,” a reality. But, since these influencers, some with literally millions of followers, know the value of their endorsements, they charge accordingly. So, how can you get your brand the showbiz seal of approval resulting in national or even international exposure without having to pay a premium? Keep reading.

Product Placement

Product placement is essentially, the placement of products in TV shows and films. Today “TV shows” include OTT networks like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube Red and others. As a long-established product placement agency, HERO hears from both brands and productions on a daily basis. Truth be told, not all of either category are ready to utilize our services. Brands that are not easily recognizable or available like, for instance, a non-logoed clothing line sold only on a small manufacturers website, may not get much result from product placement. And productions that have little budget, no known talent attached or distribution outlet, may find it challenging to get brands to come on board. But many brands and productions are perfect for product placement, even if they participate at very different levels.

While everyone hears about brand integrations in movies like James Bond, few mention the natural use of logoed brand assets that cost the brand nothing (save the cost of a qualified agency, which is itself comparatively inexpensive) but can deliver literally millions of screen impressions and tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars and even millions in media value.

Here is a list of four high-profile onscreen exposures HERO delivered to clients with no fee whatsoever to production:
  1. RE/MAX on Netflix’s Grace and Frankie
  2. Razer Computers on HBO’s Silicon Valley
  3. Turkey Hill Ice Cream in Roadside Attraction’s Forever My Girl
  4. Amnesty International in HBO’s Insecure

Beyond just being without a fee, shows like Silicon Valley or Grace and Frankie are on HBO, which doesn’t sell commercial time, making product placement in television shows is not only the most cost-effective way to get on their air, but the only way!

Celebrity Gifting

In TV and film production we have a term we use; “walked.” Walked means that an item has ‘’walked” off the set. It’s really just a nice way of saying stolen. But sometimes we actually want our items to walk, but only if the right person or people walk with them. There are agencies that work with publicists and charge a premium to use their insider connections to get items into the hands of stars in hopes of having them mention the brand in an interview or be seen carrying it somewhere. It’s known as “celebrity seeding.”

But celebrities have lots of time when they’re on set and tend to love free stuff. Put those facts together and a product placement company can be pretty successful at the seeding game.

Case in point, HERO worked with on set makeup artists to place a new skin care line called Boscia into the hands of Hollywood starlets. This resulted in magazine mentions of Emily Proctor from CSI Miami in Glamour and Reese Witherspoon from Legally Blonde 2 in In Touch. So, on set sampling and letting some products “walk,” while not officially free, costs only as much as the manufacturer’s cost of the items offered.

Guerrilla Marketing

While this is not HERO’s forte, guerrilla marketing can amass a lot of TV impressions and print coverage. A well-executed, guerrilla marketing campaign, or as they were once commonly referred to, publicity stunts, are like product placement; they can not only get your brand attention during the stunt itself but garner some serious coverage as well.
Generally, a guerrilla marketing event takes place in and around normal society. It could be in an office building or on a street corner. The event needs to do little more than get people to stop and take notice, the smallest of them, maybe a costumed character handing out samples, will engage the public. Here’s a link to some successful executions.

While word of mouth buzz is great, a stunt that gets the media’s attention is the big score. Here are the components of a great guerrilla marketing stunt courtesy of Shopify:

  • Location, location, location: Consider foot traffic, type of traffic and where you can get not just maximum exposure, but exposure to the right people.
  • Hit or miss: Guerrilla marketing can be easy for consumers to ignore unless your creativity gives people a reason to pause. The better your idea, the more thought-out your strategy for getting a reaction, the more likely your marketing is to work.
  • Your creative should align with your goals: Even if you capture attention, the real challenge is coming up with creative assets that get your brand or your message across.
  • Consider unforeseen variables: City laws, weather, noise, theft, etc. can get in the way of executing an effective campaign.
  • Don’t annoy people or break laws: Since it’s aggressive, these tactics can annoy consumers if done wrong and actually harm your brand. As a rule, do things that delight people.
  • Use it to complement your online marketing and vice versa: People should be able to connect the dots between your offline marketing and your brand online. It’s best if they at least have the name of your brand, so they know what to google.

These techniques can be applied at virtually any price level so you don’t have to spend a fortune to get your brand in front of prospective customers; you just need to be proactive and work with creative people.