Product Placement is Not to be Burped at!

The Geffen Theater is arguably the biggest deal/smallish theater in Los Angeles. While it’s known for its impressive, star-driven shows, it’s not known for product placement or brand integration. However, if you were to drive by its marquee today or see one of the ubiquitous ads for its current show, you would most certainly be exposed to a brand name. “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” a one “woman” show is playing to rave reviews. The reason “woman” is in quotes is because Dixie is not actually one.  Dixie has been portrayed by Kris Andersson since its debut in actual Orange County, CA living rooms as an actual Tupperware party since 2001.

The reason “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” is a valid subject for this space is less because of the fact that a brand name has been integrated into the titl, and more because of the fact that it is there with the brand’s blessing.

Brands have a tendency to be what is known as brandcentic. This term describes the over-protective nature of corporate decision-makers toward the image of their brands.  But, just as in raising a child, sometimes over protection does more harm than good.  But Tupperware has proven they’re bigger than that.  Not only is the cross-dressing Andersson a unique and effective brand ambassador, s/he is also a hell of sales person! Tupperware is actually available for ordering at the shows. Dixie’s best year reported $219,000 in sales!

So, beyond supporting a good sales person, why would a brand as all-American in its perception as Tupperware give a thumbs up to Dixie? According to an article in this Sunday’s LA Times (July 20, 2014), “As long as (Dixie is) talking so positively about the brand and making people smile, we wouldn’t want to take that joy away.” The take away for other brands should be clear; all positive exposure is good exposure and mishandled brandcentricity can be more of a detriment to promotion than a builder of image.