Brand and Product Placement in Music Videos

Product placement in music videos isn’t a new trend, but it’s certainly an expanding one. MTV used to be the primary place where people could watch videos – but for product placement it was useless as the channel had a ban on obvious plugs. With the invention of the Internet, music lovers had a fast and immediate destination to watch videos – which gave advertisers and labels a chance to benefit by working together.

Back in 2010 American firm PQ Media revealed that revenue from product placement in music videos had doubled in the past ten years, and had increased by $5 million in 2009 alone. The labels now had the outlet and the ability to reach millions of people, and the advertisers were willing to pay big money to be a part of that.

Whether you’re an established artist in the industry or just starting out, product placement can work for you. As an established artist, you can get away with subtly placing well-known brands in your lyrics – take Jamie Foxx for example. In his song ‘Blame It (On The Alcohol)’ he mentions ‘Henne’ – other wise known as Hennessy, and ‘Goose’ as in Grey Goose Vodka. Although this is understated brand placement, it’s placed in the catchy chorus that is repeated, and is the first thing people remember when they think of the song. You’ll find product or brand placements likes these predominantly in urban music, and not all of them are paid for by the advertisers.


Some artists, however, aren’t the shy and retiring type and aren’t afraid to unashamedly wave products in your face while they’re dancing away on your screens. The least shy lady in pop, Lady Gaga, is most definitely in this group. In her duet with Beyoncé, ‘Telephone’, there are at least ten different brands featured in the video, including Diet Coke and Virgin Mobile.

And it’s not just the signed artists that are using product or brand placement in their videos. Red Hot Entertainment featured their song ‘Junior Spesh’ around a fried chicken shop.

It’s not uncommon for DIY artists to go to brands or shops and ask them if they’d like to appear in their videos, for a bit of money towards costs in return for the advertising. It is beneficial, however, to stick to what you know. Say you’re a pop punk band and you’re into skating – there’s no harm in going to your local skate shop and asking if they’d put up a bit of money to help make your video, in return for wearing some of their clothes and featuring other products. If your doing this, make sure you keep up your end of the deal, and don’t go OTT and end up losing your identity to become a walking advertisement. Big names like Red Bull,  Jagermeister and Monster energy drinks also support a lot of unsigned artists, while getting them to endorse their drinks. Make sure you do ask the brand as you never know what opportunity you could miss out on. Dance-hall star Vybz Kartel sang a song about Clarks shoes that became hugely successful in the Carribean leading to an massive increase in sales of the brand.

Product or brand endorsement can definitely work in a band or artists favour, but there are some examples of it going wrong. Britney Spears was signed for around $7 million to endorse Pepsi and feature in their adverts, but was caught out multiple times drinking rivals products such as Diet Coke and Sunkist. After reportedly a few stern words and warnings, Britney was dropped by Pepsi, losing out on the deal and replaced by Beyoncé.

McDonalds commissioned various artists to record their, now notorious, ‘I’m Loving It’ jingle. It was their first global campaign, and although it has gone on to be the longest running and very successful, the same can’t be said for Justin Timberlake’s version of the song. The Neptunes – produced track, which incorporated the jingle into the chorus, actually resulted in Timberlake losing 13 % of his fan base. If that wasn’t bad enough, Timberlake was then dropped by McDonalds. Goes to show you really need to pick you endorsements wisely.

This post was written by blogger Jess Boyer @jessroseboyer

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