Recently, product placement has become a major topic of conversation in marketing circles. Those of us in the industry often get worked up while debating the topic due to the fact that it’s so binary. Either you believe it’s ethical—or not. But regardless of whether you’re for or against product placement—you’ve got to admit that it’s pretty affective (and if not—I’m sure you will by the end of this article).
Contrary to what many detractors of product placement may believe—product placement isn’t some new phenomenon that magically appeared in recent years. In fact, product placement is actually the original form of influencer marketing—which has been going on since the dawn of television.
And while blockbuster movies deservedly get credit for influencing culture—these days, a popular television series often has the same impact on culture—if not more. These are a few television shows that have a huge impact on contemporary culture and has also helped increase product sales for the brands fortunate enough to have their products placed on them.
One of the reasons that I created my marketing firm Decryption—was because of my love for contemporary culture and understanding the power that it could have for brands that embrace it as an avenue to connect with consumers. And when it comes to contemporary culture—there isn’t a television series on earth that has more of an impact than HBO’s Euphoria.
If you’re unfamiliar with Euphoria—the series focuses on a group of high school students as they encounter the enticements of sex, drugs, peer pressure, and popularity.
For millennials—Euphoria could be described as a Gen Z/rated MA version of the late eighties/early nineties show Saved By The Bell. Actually, the only real correlation between Euphoria and Saved By The Bell is the fact that both shows are based on a group of high school students coming of age.
But if you’re one of those lucky enough to have been around when Saved By The Bell aired during its zenith—you can truly understand the impact that the short-lived series had on contemporary culture. But just imagine how much more impactful the gang at Bayside High would've been if social media existed at the time—and if the series indulged in product placement. Whichever brand Kelly, Lisa, or Jessie wore in an episode probably would’ve made huge waves on social media.
When it comes to Euphoria—that’s certainly the case. And with an average of 16.3 million viewers per episode—it’s safe to say that plenty of eyeballs are on the fashion and beauty statements that the characters on the show make during each episode.
One of the beauty statements made on the show that has been to the benefit of a few brands has been the makeup selection worn by the leading character Rue (played by actress Zendaya) and her friends. According to WWD.com, glitter eyeshadow for going out and music events have seen a rise of 87% quarter-over-quarter since the conclusion of the show’s second season—which has been a boon to the brands that sell it.
In fact, the show has had such an impact on trends in the cosmetic industry—the show’s makeup artist, Donni Davy, has over well over 500,000 followers on Instagram. She’s also the co-founder of the newly launched beauty brand Half Magic.
Next, is a show that you’re probably familiar with if you’ve ever “Netflixed and chilled.” That’s because the show happens to be the highest-rated original series in Netflix history—Stranger Things.
If you’re not really into Netflix and chilling and therefore—you’ve never heard of Stranger Things—here’s a quick synopsis of the series. The show is about a young boy that disappeared and the aftermath of his mother, friends, and the town’s police chief tackling supernatural powers in order to get him back.
Besides being known as the most-viewed original series in Netflix history—Stranger Things is also known for its shameless use of product placement—which is a great thing…especially for the brands whose products are featured on the show. Some of the brands that have been placed in episodes of the series are: Adidas, Nike, Burger King, 7-Eleven, and Schwinn.
But according to CBS, three brands in particular have greatly benefited after having their products associated with the show. Those brands are:
1. Coca-Cola — Who earned an estimated $1.2 billion in media value in a 60-day period thanks to the show.
2. Eggo Waffles — Whose sales in Q4 of ‘17 saw a +14% year-on-year increase after the brand's products was placed on the show according to the slide.
3. Baskin-Robbins — The Dunkin’ Brands-owned ice cream brand recreated the show’s fictional “Scoops Ahoy” ice cream parlor at one Southern California location—which led to sales at the location soaring a staggering 150%.
Power Book II: Ghost
Every now and then a series comes along where the fashion on the show is so fresh—it makes you look at your own closet differently. And for many within hip-hop culture—that show is currently Power Book II: Ghost.
Power Book II: Ghost is a spinoff series which follows the show’s lead character Tariq St. Patrick as he navigates college, a life of crime, and trying to save his family from the past of his parents. But for those into urban fashion—it’s known as the most fashion-forward series currently on television.
But fans of the series aren’t the only ones envious of the characters on the show’s impeccable outfits.
In an interview with Page Six, Michael Rainey Jr., who plays the show’s lead character Tariq St. Patrick—was so impressed by the wardrobe in the series' second season—he was actually jealous of his own character’s attire. “I wish I could get to borrow or keep some of the clothes.” Said Rainey Jr. “[With] reshoots, they don’t wanna give away certain wardrobe pieces. I’m not gonna lie, though: After this season I’m gonna need some of that drip, because the stuff is crazy.”
Some of the outfits worn by characters on the show have become so coveted by its viewers—many fans have turned to alternative options to find them.
Shopyourtv.com is one of the platforms that viewers of the show have turned to in order to cop some of the gear seen on the show. The website helps consumers find and purchase products that they have seen worn on television shows.
Brands like Givenchy, Fendi, Amiri, Chanel, Balmain, Off-White and others that have had their products placed on the show have all been featured on the website—which has been to the delight of many fans of the series. And to the executives of those respective brands.