Watch the movie “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” (2011).
1. Do you think the movie provides insight or detail into what drives product placement in entertainment? If so, what have you learnt from that? If not, how would you change aspects of the movie to reflect insight on this?
2. What have you observed about presentations of visual strategies/brand identity?
Yes, I do believe the movie provides some insight to the driving forces behind product placement in entertainment. Brands are interested in positive exposure, but it’s obviously a risk – in more ways than one. Economic risks, the risk of the entertainment facility in question not being positive exposure and having that negative feedback linked with the brand, a mismatch between the brand identity and the concept it is linked to, that other brands sponsoring are compatible with their brand identity are all concerns that are mentioned often.
Most brands that Morgan Spurlock actually gets to visit (the “big” ones with a well established identity never call back due to these interest conflicts I would guess), all discuss these possible issues, but in the end decide to support his project. But not without restricting the director by giving him several restrictions through contracts. Which is understandable, since they would like to protect their brand. Larger brands naturally holds larger power over productions as well, as they are powerhouses financially and artists might depend on them. To them, protecting the brand and expanding it seem like a bigger priority, which again influence the way they present themselves to, and quite possibly also in some cases force on, the producers.
3. Let’s consider this movie as a form of research. In other words, it was done to see what the effect of branded entertainment would be, a case study of sorts. What are your findings? What have you learnt? What has changed your pre-conceived ideas? Do you think there’s relevance in this case study? How could you apply your observations in real life?
Honestly speaking, I wasn’t really surprised by the content of the movie itself, so answering this is a bit difficult. However, in terms of showing the effects of branded entertainment, it is very informative. It shows how much power brands have over certain aspects of the activities they are involved with, and often how much they are willing to protect their brand identity. Being consistent and making sure the brand’s identity is well looked after must therefore be crucial to most brands – something that designers, and people working with the brand in any field really, should be aware of.
4. From the findings above (question 3) imagine that the international coffee brand, Starbucks, is your client. Give one complete strategy for a small activation campaign to advertise Starbucks on aeroplanes. Give one idea of how you would do this, by following the 5 steps of the work process. To guide you, follow the points below and do a write-up of your idea as well as the steps you followed.
Small surveys directed to airline customers, conversations with airline companies, possible partnership with one to provide Starbucks certified coffee on board (ref. Delta airlines campaign).
Clarify the strategy
Coffee is usually served onboard flights – but what if this coffee was Starbucks certified instead of the regular “tasteless” coffee you get? The strategy is simple – use the already existing coffee offers on airplanes, incorporate Starbucks, and gain exposure. There are many Starbucks cafés at airports around the world, and the goal is to make sure travellers, frequent and casual ones alike, stop by Starbucks to get their coffee fix before, during and after their travels by combining a good in-flight experience and good coffee.
To strengthen the presence of Starbucks one could also have stands outside the airline of cooperation’s office, and provide free coffee for a day, or even have limited time offers to frequent flyers.
Design the identity
– Stand at the airport where representatives from the airline and Starbucks participate, right at the gate or before the airline’s counter.
– Posters on the luggage storage fronts on-board the airplane.
– Starbucks x airline aprons for staff when serving food onboard.
– Frequent flyer bonuses at airport Starbucks cafés.
Manage the assets
In case of frequent flyer offers, these would be possible to track as they have to register by a code or something. They could then, for example, receive a questionnaire by e-mail asking them wether or not they have been at a Starbucks after having coffee in flight, or what their general perception of Starbucks is.
The rest of the customers would be a bit tricky. In flight questionnaires are an option, or even invitations to feedback forms online that could be provided to flyers by SMS or a small voucher given out in flight. Those stopping by the promotion counter could be asked to fill out a form when there. The good thing about having a stand would be that there are brand representatives there able to communicate with customers as well, so even if they decide to not fill out forms, these employees would still be able to collect data.