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Cross-Media Promotion

Jonathan Hardy

Cross-Media Promotion is the first book-length study of a defining feature of contemporary media, the promotion by media of their allied media interests. The book explores the range of forms of cross-promotion including synergistic marketing of mega-brands such as Harry Potter; promotional plugs in news media; repurposing media content, stars and brands across other media and outlets; product placement, and the integration of media content and advertising.
Incorporating specialist literature, yet written in a clear, accessible style, the book combines three areas of study: media industry practices, media policy, and media theory. It examines the dynamics of cross-media promotion across converging media, drawing on a range of examples from the United States and the United Kingdom. Synergy and intertextuality are explored alongside critical debates about the ‘problems’ of cross-promotion. The book also offers a critical evaluation of media policy responses from the late 1980s to the present, which the book argues, have failed to grapple with the problems of media power, market power and commercialism generated by intensifying cross-media promotion.
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8. Product Placement

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CHAPTER EIGHT

Product Placement

The US Federal Trade Commission (2005) defines product placement as ‘a form of promotion in which advertisers insert branded products into programming in exchange for fees or other consideration’. Such placement ranges from the visual inclusion of brands, to verbal endorsement and sophisticated ‘brand integration’ such as that of Federal Express in the film Cast Away (2000) or the Halliburton security case dominating an early episode of Lost, which The Economist (2005) described as ‘product placement to die for’. Brand integration, it is claimed, offers advertising effectiveness (if done appropriately), an important source of income for programme makers and/or broadcasters, and new forms of creative collaboration between advertisers and media. In the United States, product placement is now a $5 billion industry, increasing annually. In Western Europe, however, a very different regulatory culture has prevailed. Until 2007 European television policy upheld the principle of separation of advertising and programme content. Some states permitted product placement but most, including the UK, Ireland, Germany and Finland prohibited paid placement.1 This chapter examines both the industry dynamics of product placement and the regulatory issues and debates that have intensified over the last five years. In contrast to intrafirm cross-media promotion, product placement or product integration usually involves transactions between separate economic parties, advertisers on the one hand and content producers, broadcasters or other distributors on the other. However, the common element is the integration of editorial and advertising in content. Changes in regulations governing commercial...

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