The phrase “Product placement” doesn’t work for radio – it feels a little too prosaic and visual. For Product Placement on radio, read Brand Integration.
Since Jules Verne was approached by travel companies to plug their services in his novels, commercial interests have tried to integrate their messages into the stuff people really want to consume – the editorial. This is radio’s great advantage. Since Commercial Radio began, listeners understood that when tourist boards, film companies and brewers gave prizes away with quizzes and off the wall mechanics, they were doing it partly to enhance the show but also to persuade people to buy their products and services.
The latest changes recognise this reality, but now allow presenters to talk about products and services in a natural way. They allow brand spokespeople to contribute on air – why wouldn’t listeners be interested in Jamie Oliver’s recipes and understand that when he suggested you bought the ingredients in Sainsbury’s he was doing it because he was being paid to. Why wouldn’t people be interested in financial tips from someone who actually works for a financial services company or a film review from the film critic of a national newspaper. This legislation simply acknowledges that consumers are savvy enough to understand the realities of the commercial world – especially when radio programmers will act with the best interests of their listeners at the heart of everything they put to air.
The ultimate litmus test of what is now allowed is whether it improves the listener experience. For example if listeners have the chance to win a trip to New York, where a film is set, courtesy of the latest Hollywood Blockbuster and get to laugh as the DJ enlivens the plot , then everyone is a winner. The radio station reward their listeners, the film distributor gets serious standout for their movie and listeners literally get the last laugh.
So next time you see Simon Cowell sipping an unidentified drink out of a Coca Cola branded glass, think of a medium where he could actually talk about the drink in a way that was relevant to the programme and non-intrusive – think about Brand Integration on Commercial Radio.
Find out more about Brand Integration here.
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