PR Writing Post 7

Imagine your public relations firm handles the Ford Focus. What television entertainment programs might be good outlets for product placements in the show? Name some popular shows and suggest how the Focus could be portrayed. Cite the text to support your reasoning.

There are 30 comments

  1. Chelsea Idzior

    The first show that came to mind when I thought of product placement for the Ford Focus was Dallas. In Dallas, there are usually one or more outside scenes in an episode, and the show also often has scenes with characters driving or getting into cars. The text says to “make the product prominent enough to get noticed but not so obvious that it’s annoying” (p. 242.) Dallas would provide the perfect opportunity for this. A character could be shown getting into or out of the Focus, or could be standing near the car for one of the scenes. Also, a character could even be shown in the driveway washing the Focus when another character comes out to talk to them. In these scenarios, the car would seem like part of the setting and it would not be an obvious, in-your-face product placement.

    The text also said that game shows are a good investment for product placement (p. 241). I thought the game show Wheel of Fortune would be good for Focus placement. Ford could offer a new Focus as a prize or a paid 2-year lease on a new Focus as a prize. Because Wheel of Fortune is a game show and prizes are supposed to be given out, the placement of the product would seem natural.

    A third show that would be ideal for Ford Focus placement is The Walking Dead. This may seem like a bad idea because in the zombie apocalypse, people aren’t necessarily driving around in cars. However, every now and then when the group needs to get around they will search for a working vehicle. The Focus could be one of the cars they come across and end up using. This would also be a good idea because the Focus is relevant to the demographic that watches The Walking Dead, something that the text said to pay attention to (p. 242). Most people who watch this show are teens and up, so the majority of the audience is of driving age and would be interested in a vehicle.

    1. lydiaseale

      Chelsea,

      I agree with your idea to place the Ford Focus in The Walking Dead. It could also provide a great opportunity for the car to break into a new market of men between 20 and 30. Men in that age group may want to drive something “masculine,” like a sports car or pickup truck. However placing the car on that show might influence them to drive the Focus. The book highlights the importance of discovering and analyzing your demographic to make sure your product placement/integration will actually be those who are likely to purchase your product or service.

      I also found it really interesting that you made the comment about placing the two-year lease on Wheel of Fortune rather than simply the car. I thought it was a really cool spin on product placement.

      -Lydia

    2. leahprodriguez

      Chelsea,

      I LOVE the Walking Dead idea. I agree that it may SEEM like a bad idea, but if you think about the vehicle itself; how it is fuel-efficient and safe for drivers, this would be perfect. The demographic will notice the placement but not as obvious because this isn’t a show you typically see working machinery on. Having the Focus on such a popular show will be good placement as well.

      I think the rest of the class agrees on what game shows would be appropriate for the Focus as well. Since these shows always offer a prize, I think the Focus would fit in nicely. I like that you added they do not win the car entirely but that they will receive a paid 2-year lease. This is different from what I’ve seen or heard on that show but I could be mistaken. Either way it’s a good idea because you will get the user into the car, even if its one they wouldn’t have picked out themselves.

      1. Danita Tatum (@TatumDanita)

        I think your game show idea is great, especially since you specify what kind of ownership it is. I don’t think the game shows ever mention whether or not the winner gets to keep the car.

        I’m not that big of a fan of the Walking Dead, but I’ve seen a few episodes and I don’t know that a Focus would be the right car for that sort of show. An Explorer or F-150 would work well since they’re always driving off with a bunch of weapons in tow. This is all based on my own personal experiences with the Focus and it just doesn’t seem like the kind of car that would be in a show about walkers unless it was abandoned.

      2. Carmen Bojanowski

        Whenever the characters in the Walking Dead miraculously stumble upon a car, with keys and gas to get to their next destination, it’s usually a Ford or a Dodge. I think the show, set in the south, is trying to give off an “all American” image, and what’s more American than a Ford? Though a small Focus may not be the ideal vehicle in the zombie apocalypse, hopefully viewers won’t have to take that into account and would still think about buying one for it’s functionality in the world of the living.

    3. Danita Tatum (@TatumDanita)

      Chelsea,
      I think your game show idea is great, especially since you specify what kind of ownership it is. I don’t think the game shows ever mention whether or not the winner gets to keep the car.

      I’m not that big of a fan of the Walking Dead, but I’ve seen a few episodes and I don’t know that a Focus would be the right car for that sort of show. An Explorer or F-150 would work well since they’re always driving off with a bunch of weapons in tow. This is all based on my own personal experiences with the Focus and it just doesn’t seem like the kind of car that would be in a show about walkers unless it was abandoned.

    4. Raven Gardiner

      Chelsea,

      When brain storming for this, I also thought of the game show idea. The prizes always get introduced with all the necessary features that the car may have so it’s perfect to utilize that. Something as simple as stating how many miles to the gallon it gets would be beneficial. That also targets a different audience from your other two ideas so it shows that the Ford Focus can be very versatile and is open for anyone.

      As for The Walking Dead, I agreed with you when it comes to the lack of cars in the show but that was until you explained it. It could be a blessing and even follow the book’s rules about not being too overwhelming with the placement. The placement would be so relaxed that it wouldn’t be obvious to the spectators. There could even be a line dropped about the great gas mileage and the lack of gas found during a zombie apocalypse.

  2. Ben K. Media

    First, I have to admit that I don’t watch much modern T.V. other than a few select shows. I do know, however, the power of product placement. It seems that every show from my youth had a product associated with it in one form or another; a lot of the time it being a vehicle.

    One place I can think of as being under used is the cartoons made for adults such as “Archer”. I have seen some product placements starting to creep into the script over the past season and think it would be a great place to showcase.

    I agree with Chelsea, game shows are almost a must. The iconic shouting of “A new car!” on The Price Is Right with a Ford Focus behind the screen will get attention.

    My instinct is to check the current Neilson ratings and find out what is trending. Outside of the Oscars it appears that NCIS, The Big Bang Theory and The Voice are the top regular weekly programs as of Feb 24.

    Only honestly knowing The Voice I could see the judges showing up in the car or some sort of stunt like that. As for the other two I can see the product being key in an investigation on NCIS somehow. I have seen Big Bang once or twice and from what I understand the show to be the guys could be doing some sort of science experiment or a road trip with the car.

    1. Chelsea Idzior

      I never thought about putting product placement in cartoons. I think it’s a really interesting idea. For product placements in cartoons do they usually just talk about the product or is there actually a cartoon version of the product in the show? I think all of your other ideas are smart as well. It would be really easy to fit the Focus into an NCIS episode because, like you said, it could play a key part in an investigation. The car would definitely be noticed but wouldn’t seem obvious because cars often play parts in the crimes or investigations on crime TV shows. A science experiment on the Big Bang Theory also sounds like a good idea. I don’t watch that show much either but from what I’ve seen, an experiment with a car definitely seems like something they might do, and would fit in with the tone of the show.

      1. Ben K. Media

        Hey Chelsea

        I have seen products used in cartoons many times. As for cars a lot of the time an obvious shot of the cars front end with logo on grill is drawn into the show. I have also seen a few times where a product was referenced flat out in the dialog. My thoughts are that an animated product placement would be no different than in a movie or TV show, all in how it is scripted.

        I have been taking note of how many times I see the brand of car when a chase scene is part of the script. The car will often take a beating but the passengers make a safe get away even when the car is mangled from accidents along the way. I think this can be used in subliminal marketing speaking to how safe the car is even in an unrealistic environment.

    2. Danita Tatum (@TatumDanita)

      Ben,
      I think NCIS would be a great place for the Focus. I use to be a big fan of the show and they usually feature four door cars. There is also a lot of driving in the show. Big Bang Theory is a product placement junkie, and I really like your road trip idea. I can see that being a very fun episode, and the Focus would get a lot of exposure. The science experiment placement would also be an interesting way to place the car in the show.

    3. Raven Gardiner

      Ben,

      I didn’t even see your post before I wrote about cartoons! I’ve never seen Archer but I wrote about the popular shows like Family Guy and American Dad. I’m not sure if people still watch those two shows but you’re absolutely right that the cartoons could be greatly utilized.
      I ruled out The Voice and other similar shows because of the lack of opportunity but I never even thought that simply seeing them pull up to the venue and interact with the contestant outside could be beneficial. This could also work with shows like American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

      With NCIS, the car could play a key part in an investigation but it doesn’t need to. The investigators drive around the city enough that it could be someone’s car or just a few random cars on the street. I wonder if a street full of Ford Focus vehicles would be overwhelming or subtle but perfect. It’s just something to think about.

    4. Carmen Bojanowski

      I didn’t think about reality shows. That would be a great place to showcase the car. Especially shows like “The Voice” and “American Idol.” They do such shameless, cheesy promotion that they would have no problem driving up in a Focus, looking straight at the camera, and saying, “Buy a Focus!” Then teenage girls would ask for one for their sixteenth birthday because Adam Levine drives one.

      That might be a little bit of an exaggeration (though I honestly think “American Idol” has dome something like this), but I think you get my point.

  3. leahprodriguez

    The first television show I thought would be appropriate for product placement was Modern Family. On the show, Phil and Claire have three children. Their middle child, Alex, is around the age where she will be getting her drivers license so placing the Ford Focus into an episode would fit perfectly. In order to make the product prominent enough to get noticed but not so obvious that it’s annoying (Pg. 242), I would create a scene where the family goes to a Ford dealership to test out cars, the Focus being one of them. This would also keep the placement relevant to the characters, and won’t jeopardize the tone of the show, (Pg. 242).

    Another show that would be good for long-term deals for frequent placements (Pg. 242) would be game shows, such as Price is right, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud and American Idol. The contestants for these shows often leave with prizes so placing the Focus as one of the potential winnings could be good for marketing.

    The fact that “many major brands pay millions of dollars to have their branded products in high-profile television series (Pg. 241),” says a lot for how effective product placement influences consumers today. I’ve noticed in recent years, television shows are showing more interest into the idea of product placement, but not a lot are successful or persuasive. I feel like the major reason is because they come off obvious and annoying. If shows learn to limit the placements to a maximum of five per show, (Pg. 242) viewers might be more inclined to stay watching, or better, buy the product.

    1. lydiaseale

      Leah,

      I think it’s hilarious that we both chose Modern Family as the show we would place the Ford Focus in. I think the dynamics of the show would fit very well with the car.

      I also totally agree with your comment about product placement getting annoying. This is exactly why I believe in product integration more than product placement. I think that over the years product placement within itself has become an oxymoron. Inconspicuous placement of products has become extremely… well… conspicuous. It is now painfully obvious when products are attempting to be endorsed by a particular program. However, with product integration there is no need for a product to be “hidden in plain sight.” It becomes part of the plot of the story and is therefore much more easily noticed. I think if more organizations began to utilize this tool we would become much less irritated with a familiar brand or product popping up in our favorite show.

      -Lydia

    2. Chelsea Idzior

      I really like your idea about Modern Family. The product placement would fit so naturally and smoothly into the show with that scenario. Modern Family is also extremely popular and caters to a large range of demographics so you would be able to reach a lot of audiences with your placement. I also mentioned game shows, and I think that this idea is always a good one. Game shows need prizes in order to operate so they are likely to accept product placements. Also, products are expected to be on game shows so they seem like a regular part of a show instead of a noticeable placement. I agree with you that some product placements can be so obvious. When they just exist as a part of the setting or an object a character is using then they work best. Sometimes I’ve noticed in shows that it seems like they are pausing really long on an object or making a special effort to get the product noticed. It can be really annoying and interruptive when you are watching a show.

    3. Sophia Williams

      Leah,

      I have never seen Modern Family but it seems like a good show for product placement of the Ford Focus. To find a show where the character is around the age that she would be getting her drivers license is a good idea. Im sure many girls see this show and envy her. This way if they see her getting a Focus they will want one too.

      I like that you said not to make it too obvious that you are using product placement. Im sure we have all seen a show where it was over the top. This then defeats the purpose if you can tell. It needs to be discrete enough so that you do not notice. I know our book talks about how as public relations professionals we only get to present the idea to them. They still hold all the power as to how the product is featured. We need to be careful in what we allow to brand our product. Just because a show or movie wants to use us doesn’t mean we should.

      Sophia

  4. lydiaseale

    The most obvious product placement for a product is in as a prize for a competition or game show. It leaves space for the product to be advertised every week, possibly twice a week if the show has weekly eliminations. An even more efficient way to advertise a product in an entertainment program, however, would be through product integration. Placement simply allows a product to be shown in the context of the show, i.e. Coke cups for the judges on American Idol. Product integration involves the product playing a significant role in the program and literally being “integrated” into the plot of the show. A perfect example of this for the Ford Focus would be to integrate the car into the plot of Modern Family. According to the textbook, it is best to “make the product prominent enough to get noticed but not so obvious that it’s annoying,” and to “keep the placement relevant to both the characters and the tone of the show.” Modern Family appeals to the young and middle age family, making it an ideal placement for the mid-size, energy efficient automobile. The plot could center on the family purchasing their teen’s first car. This allows the story to still revolve around the characters while still giving the product camera time. The textbook also talks about signing long-term deals for more visibility and memorability. It would be great if the teen’s car continued to appear in episodes of the show as well.

  5. Andrew Wilcox

    First to come to mind is Top Gear. It’s a british show about cars and has a big following in the US. They do a segment called “Stars In Reasonably Priced Cars” where they have a celebrity race around a professional course in like a Kia Rio then talk to them about it. If Ford could supply a Focus for one of this segment they’d get a a good deal of air time and a celebrity endorsement in one.

    Walking Dead would work really well, like Chelsea said. It’d also be a good opportunity for a long term reoccurring placement, as well as cross promotions. For example, The main characters had the same lime green Hyundai for 2 season then in the last season finale they gave it away as a promotional prize.

    I think because The focus such a common car to see on the road one could be placed in most shows without seeming forced or irrelevant. Maybe not Game of Thrones.

    1. leahprodriguez

      Andrew,

      Having the Ford Focus on Top Gear sounds like an effortless, yet genius idea. I like how the “Stars in Reasonably Priced Cars” allows the car companies to celebrity endorse their vehicles, without the use of commercials and advertisements. The fact that after they drive the vehicle, they also talk about them is a bonus as well. This way the celebrities can speak about the car from their own experience, and establish the credibility car buyers need first before purchasing a vehicle.

      I agree that since the Focus is such a common car it wouldn’t seem forced, because people do not realize how many times they see the car on the road throughout the day. Also with that, how do we as PR professionals make it so the car doesn’t blend in too much it doesn’t get noticed, but tat the same time don’t overdo it, like on The Voice. Their product placement is with the Kia vehicles and Starbucks-its annoying and too obnoxious. Also, I agree Game of Thrones may be a little off base, but just a little. ☺

    2. rosedinardo

      Andrew,

      Top Gear really would be perfect especially sense you said that the show centers around cars so then the product placement wouldn’t be as obvious. I think you also have a point with having the car in an entire season or long period of time in the show because then people get used to seeing it. Also, sense the Ford Focus is also not en extremely uncommon car, it does make it feel more obtainable to the viewer. If the main characters were always driving around in (insert really really expensive car because i can’t think of one) then obviously the viewer would want it but know that they could not afford it. I think it’s important that the viewer can visualize themselves in the car.

  6. Raven Gardiner

    I thought along the same lines as everyone else with the game shows! The book said it is a good choice but I can’t think of anything other than Wheel of Fortune. Other game shows like Jeopardy or Price is Right either don’t give away cars/ tangible items or they just aren’t extremely popular anymore. In order to place a product efficiently, the channel should match up to the product’s needs but it should also benefit the product.

    One type of show that seems to be extremely popular are the adult cartoons. Shows like Family Guy, American Dad, and Bob’s Burgers are a huge hit. This would be a way for Ford to try something new and create a cartoon type of Focus for this purpose. Not many products are placed in cartoons so it would definitely be a new thing. My one concern with this is how would the reputation of the show effect the reputation of the Ford Focus?

    The book said we should pay attention to certain demographics. For the Ford Focus, age groups are huge! There are many teenagers and young adults going and looking for their first cars. Around this time, television influence is really high. Shows like Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, and maybe even Breaking Bad (I don’t know what young males watch these days), could portray different transitional stages in our lives while still getting in and out of cars. The bonus part about these shows is that the characters aren’t in cars for majority of the shows. It would follow the rule of not over advertising the product.

    1. Danita Tatum (@TatumDanita)

      Raven,
      You’re brilliant. I love all of those adult cartoons and I think your idea is pretty awesome. Most cars and products in these cartoons have some made up name or no name at all. It would be extremely cool to see a cartoon Ford Focus in an episode of Family Guy or American Dad. You also have a point about the reputation of these shows. I think every show has some kind of controversy behind it, but these in particular are pretty insulting to most people. I don’t think anyone that has an issue with these shows would watch them, so maybe it wouldn’t have any effect on Ford.

    2. Ben K. Media

      I think game shows are relevant to some people but agree that they are not as popular as once where. As for The Price is Right I still think having the announcer shout “a new car” is relevant and a good place to put a product. Wheel of Fortune is also a game show that will get eyes on product in a good time slot. I am sure it is an age thing having grown up with week day morning and evening television being packed with game shows but I still get a little excited when someone has the chance to win a car. I may not be the target demographic, nor the majority viewers of most game shows today but still seems like an easy promotion to me.

  7. Danita Tatum (@TatumDanita)

    I watch a lot of television, but I have definitely been having trouble coming up with a list of TV shows that could feature a Ford Focus. In the chapter it talked about making sure you have the right demographic and I actually looked up the demographics for the Ford Focus before I picked shows that it would work well with. I think Raven’s suggestions were spot on. Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars are great shows to do a some product placement. Modern Family was another really great suggestion from Lydia and Leah because there is a story to go with the product placement. One of my ideas was to work on getting a contract with Netflix. Now that Netflix is actually in the show producing industry it would be a great idea. The only series I can think of at the moment is Hemlock Grove. It’s one of their more popular series and it revolves around mobile supernatural teenagers. The show has a similar demographic to Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars. Along those same lines Teen Wolf could be another good candidate.

    The book also talked about product placement in food shows. I think this is a really interesting concept and I thought about it. This could work. Guy Fiero (I believe that his name) could do an episode of “Diners, Drives, and Dives” about Michigan and since he’s in Michigan he should obviously be driving a Ford (Focus).

    1. rosedinardo

      Danita,

      I don’t watch Pretty Little Liars anymore but I used to so I am familiar with the show. Honestly that would be a great place to put the Ford Focus because so many young girls watch the show so of course if they saw their favorite character always driving it then you know that’s what they want to be their first car. We know that the show really centers around fashion and drama and also they are in cars a lot of the time so when you are constantly showing all of the girls going on adventures and hanging out with cute boys in that car, then the girls watching the show will want it. Also, like I mentioned earlier I think the most effective product placement is one that is repeated but not obvious. If the girls watching the show continually see the same car, whether they realize it or not their brain will start to subliminally want to have it.

  8. rosedinardo

    “The fundamental factor that separates television from the other traditional media and gives it such pervasive impact is the visual element.” (p.223) I think this makes sense because actually SEEING the Ford Focus as opposed to just hearing about it let’s say on the radio is a completely different story. Also, actually SEEING the Ford Focus in your favorite TV show is also a a different story because it is being endorsed by something you already like as opposed to even seeing it in a commercial during the show. I really do not watch too much TV in general, but if I had to choose I would place the new Ford Focus in Millionaire Matchmaker. In the show, Patti matches up a millionaires with personally picked out men or women. The millionaire then takes them out on dates. So, if the millionaire is taking out his or her dates in the new Ford Focus, and it is an affordable car for the middle class, then everyone can feel like a millionaire!

  9. Carmen Bojanowski

    The Ford Focus is a practical, affordable car that can really be geared toward any age group. Young people are the most easily swayed, especially when it comes to advertising. So it would be in Ford’s best interest to advertise and place the product in shows that appeal to a young audience. Shows on MTV, like “Catfish,” or “Girl Code” would gain a lot of young viewers. Sitcoms like “The Big Bang Theory” or “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” would be good candidates as well. Shows that don’t revolve around a glamorous lifestyle, just regular people. It’ll give viewers a sense that they can relate, so it’ll be more appealing. It would be easy to have the characters driving a Ford Focus too. Nothing would even have to be said about it, just make sure that the Ford logo is visible from the shot. Product placement is the best when it’s subtle, not shoved down your throat.

    1. Sophia Williams

      Carmen,

      I like your idea of putting the focus on a show that is geared toward younger people. They are easily swayed and this car is more in their budget. I haven’t had cable in a few years so I am not familiar with these shows but I am assuming they are like Teen Mom and Real World. If I saw people in these shows driving a focus when I was 16 I probably would have asked for one.

      I have a volkswagen beetle and can probably say that this was because of product placement. In the movie Hot Chicks the main characters are seen driving in their beetle to the mall. When I was young this is what I wanted. They looked like they were having so much fun and I wanted to be doing this when I was a teenager in high school. I didn’t know it then but it was product placement that made me want my car. (Not to say I don’t love it now that I have it!)

      Sophia

  10. Sophia Williams

    The text talks about product placement and states, “clothing manufacturers and retailers are particularly active in product placements because studies show that today’s young people get most of their fashion ideas from watching television shows.” (241) It then goes on to say that Sex and the City was a popular show that upscale retailers wanted their products on. I would argue that the ford focus has no sex appeal. It is known as the traditional starter car that no one seeks to get but they do out of affordability and practicality. Why not get a car like this on one of these shows. It can be practical for the woman on the go in New York just as the women in Sex and the City. I would market this car on this show so that the single women in a large city would see that this car is sexy and makes sense to get. Since there aren’t many people that need cars in larger cities I would push the focus. It is small so can easily be stored, is affordable, and is a basic car so if you want to get out of the city you have a way. If a show like Sex and the City can get women to think it is “in” then maybe women would see that getting a focus would make them upper scale like the people on the show without breaking their budget.

    Sophia

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