Sat | Mar 24, 2018

Music videos boost corporate goals through product placements

Published:Tuesday | January 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle/ Gleaner Writer
A scene from Popcaan's Party Shot music video.
Entertainer Chris Martin (left) and former pro footballer Ricardo 'Bibi' Gardener (right) enjoy the happenings at a previous staging of Heineken Rio, with Imru James, Heineken brand manager.

In recent years corporate companies have been finding new and unique ways of pushing their brands, and incorporating products into music videos of well known entertainers is one of them. The latter is known as product placement, and while it is not a new phenomenon, it has been steadily gaining momentum in recent years

In an interview with The Gleaner, Telecia Lindo-Johnson, marketing manager at J Wray and Nephew Limited, explained that the growth of product placement, particularly in music videos, is as a result of persons recognising its value.

"It (product placement) has been happening in Jamaica for years. However, I think companies and artistes alike, are recognising the value of effective placement," she said, explaining that her company has partnered with different entertainers particularly in the dancehall over the years.

"Product placement in a video is often organic, subject to the taste of the artiste and song lyrics and video concept. As marketers, we see this as win for our brands when chosen by artistes / directors especially when we believe the synergy works. Magnum Tonic Wine fuses seamlessly with Dancehall music videos which showcase the Jamaica Dancehall lifestyle."

Marketing and PR consultant, Tara Playfair-Scott, agrees that product placement in music videos is on the rise. She pointed out that Corporate companies have been forging alliances with different entertainers to help push their products as placement in music videos, and offers just as effective a marketing tool as traditional advertisements and is perhaps less costly. "There are few entities in corporate Jamaica that have a budget anymore to do much with and that's just a fact. Before, you had these great budgets you could do X and Y, now, the resources are limited and a lot of Corporate Jamaica is going underground," she said. "It makes more sense to go directly to your consumer versus spending a tonne load of money in Billboards and commercials. Product placement in music videos gives you that option of reaching your consumers in that way."

She then went on to point out that product placement is not only beneficial to companies but also to artistes, as they stand to earn from endorsing a product in their videos.

"People pay good money for it so if you see somebody driving a VW in a video; you think it's by accident," she questioned. "No, VW has paid a tonne of money for that. Here (in Jamaica), I don't know if it is the same. I don't know if when you see entertainers driving the latest cars in these videos, if they have approached a Adam Stewart or a Jackie Lechler for an endorsement."

With that said, Playfair-Scott, encouraged entertainers to approach companies with proposals on how they may be able to assist with promoting their brands.

"I know a lot of artistes will just be flossing with a bottle and they have not either gone through a Wray and Nephew or a Diageo and say 'hey I'm doing a song, can we partner with you. I think Corporate Jamaica does respect if you come to them and put a proposal on the table. Maybe they can't do it at the time, but when they get the money, they will remember that so and so came to them, and as long as it's in keeping with their brand, it should not be a problem for you to become a part of their team," she expressed.


Legal implications


On that note, Playfair-Scott pointed out that entertainers who are not contracted by a company, runs the risk of being legally implicated if they use a particular product in their music video without proper authorisation. Her sentiments were echoed by Kellye-Rae Fisher Campbell, Corporate counsel at J Wray and Nephew Limited.

Fisher Campbell said, "using a company's product in a music video, so that the label and/or logo is visible, or in a way that gives the public the impression that the entertainer is associated with the product or brand without first obtaining authorisation or consent, may subject the entertainer to liability for violating the company's intellectual property rights, including trademark and copyright infringement."

She also pointed out that the company associated with the product being used without permission, reserves the right to take legal action if the music video is not in keeping with their brand.

"Issues of damage to brand image and reputation may also arise in situations where the entertainer's image or the particular song or video is seen as offensive or contrary to the product's image. Sometimes, where a company sees the unauthorised use as a "free" boost to the brand image, the company will overlook it," she explained.

"Recourse for unpermitted use can include a cease and desist letter requiring the entertainer to remove any visible display of the product or product label from the video; damages for injury to reputation for unauthorised association between the entertainer and the brand; and other available legal action."

Entertainers like Busy Signal, Chris Martin, Spice, Ding Dong and Shenseea, are among those who have been signed as brand ambassadors for different products. Many of them have in turn used their music videos to endorse these products.