What Companies Pay for Product Placement - Part 3: Fees

The first two blogs in this three part series explained how brands can receive great on screen exposure by simply providing the materials for placement.  But they don’t entirely explain what companies could potentially pay for product placement.  There are certainly times when a little sweetening of the pot can make the difference.

Let’s start with an extreme example; Bond… James Bond.  For as long as most of us can remember, Bond’s favorite alcoholic beverage was vodka, which, as we all know, he enjoyed in a martini, shaken not stirred. But for a mere $42 million dollars in cash and bartered ads featuring Heineken Beer and Bond, he switched.  We can assume he doesn’t order his green bottles shaken or stirred!

But for most brands in films and TV shows, a cash fee for a product placement can be much more reasonable. Sure, there are some big network integration deals out there that will put a brand into a prime time hit for a hefty sum, but many widely seen productions that demand fees are demanding reasonable ones.

Since HERO signs NDA agreements with our productions and clients that prevent us from revealing the actual details of an integration, here’s a fictitious one:

Having read the script for the Megabudget Studio’s epic “Blackout 2: What Happened to the Lights?” our production coordinator found a scene where the lead character is hailing a cab (right before the lights in the city go out and he bellows the title question). Taxicabs in the city where this fictitious film takes place frequently have signage on the top of them, which are known as “taxi cab hats.”  Because the film is with a major studio and the scene features a major star, we negotiate with the studio to have our client’s advertising on the cab when it stops for the actor. Based on the global reach and expected popularity of the film, the fee would likely be a few thousand dollars payable when the film is released and the exposure is confirmed.

As mentioned in the previous blogs, this is not really the norm.   Most placements are done through providing product and clearances to production or promotional materials to a game or home improvement show, but fee-based arrangements do exist and they can be a great way to gain outstanding exposure for a very reasonable cost.