HERO's Secret Service
How can a product placement agency help promote a brand by specifically preventing them from appearing in a film or TV show? When the placement is negative!
Case in point; HERO recently received a script from a major studio – we receive about 200 feature film scripts a year – starring an A-list actor. One of the two lead characters in the film is a real estate broker. There are even scenes in the real estate office that would be ideal for exposing a brand. HERO has represented RE/MAX, the franchiser of the global RE/MAX network, for more than a decade and it is our job to seek out and deliver opportunities for the brand. But, in this case, though the heavily featured character is a real estate agent, he is also a compulsive gambler, a liar, a cheat and a thief! Sure we find some sympathy for him as the story unfolds but he does not display an image that a global real estate RE/MAX would like to present for its 90,000 sales associates in their more than 90 countries worldwide. So, not only does HERO not recommend the brand for the character, we pro-actively contact the production and insure that the character’s real estate agency and agent not be RE/MAX!
Even though logic would suggest that a product placement agency would jump at the chance to have a client featured heavily in any major motion picture, not all exposures are the kind our clients want. A conscientious agency like HERO Entertainment Marketing, which the LA Times dubbed “Product placement with a conscience” should think beyond simply getting exposure to making sure it’s the right kind. And that’s just what we do. We make sure the exposure truly benefits the brand, or at the very least doesn’t damage the brand with a negative association. We call it a “secret service” because our clients don’t always realize we provide it until they’re actually receiving it. When we read in a script or learn from production that one of our clients, or even a brand within the same category as one of our clients might be represented negatively, we take action. First we notify our client about the situation, then we contact production and inform them that they are not to use our client in the context scripted. Negative exposures can be detrimental to a brand just as positive exposures are progressive so preventing them is the second most valuable service we offer.