Product placement in Hollywood dates back to the silent film era and it was everywhere. It wasn’t until E.T. craved those colorful little candies that brand marketing really took off. Now, 32 years later, it’s so pervasive we hardly even notice it – a Pepsi can here, an iPhone there. We use both in real life, so why shouldn’t they appear on the big screen?
What’s the point of this, product placement in Nigerian movies! Is it necessary? While I feel it is, in fact extremely as we use some of these products on a regular basis, there’s no harm in having them in the films. That Nollywood has been able to sustain itself without the help of the various brands in the country is more power to their elbows. I just believe, there is something seriously wrong when the product being referenced directs our attention away from the film or it’s plot and in our movies, they do just that.
Can you imagine watching a James Bond movie and he says “with my Omega wrist watch, I am going to slice through thick chains or Agent Salt saying I would jump on a Bolt Bus to getaway or Tony Stark saying let’s drive away in my Acura. All these products were placed and used in these movies and we hardly ever notice them.
For our Nollywood movies, it’s quiet obvious that scenes are created specifically for these products and what this does is create unnecessary scenes, lengthens the movies and make for boring production. Movies such as “Finding Mercy”; Procter & Gamble products, where 3 scenes where created so as to mention Pampers, Ariel and Oral B, MTN in “Doctor Bello,” GLO in “Phone Swap”, Onga in “Eletan” (this was a scrolling message) and then there was Unilever and a host of other brands in Jenifa 3.
While there is need for resources to carry out these productions, I can’t imagine what the outward benefits are to the brands, what are the figures, in terms of sales? Which of these brands can boast of a boost in sales after these movies? It is important to understand that for our numerous brands who get involved in movie productions, there is no immediate gain for their products placed especially as it relates to sales. What they are actually getting are the intangible benefits which include good will, positioning and positive perception. If they actually get part of the proceeds of production, I wouldn’t know but I honestly doubt that.
On a final note, I believe product placement is a must have in our industry, script writers and directors just need to find subtle and creative ways of achieving this without robbing us the wrong way or directing out attention away from their plots.
So what do you think? Product placement “got to have it” or “make it stop”