Product Placement in Reality Television

Written by Nuremy Khairi

Today, product placement is making a huge impact especially in films and television (Kumar, 2017). Product placement is an advertising tool and method that endorses products through entertainment programmes like movies, television programmes, and reality television programmes BUT, with a particular objective. Product placements are mostly seen in these particular formats:

  • the product appears within the content in visual figures
  • the celebrity themselves use the actual product in the film or television show
  • the celebrity uses the product name/brand in their dialogues

Product placement is known as another form of advertising and it has many advantages compared to the traditional advertising method and other types of product promotions (Sherman, 2010). It is easier for a product to weave into an episode of reality television show like “American Idol” or “Survivor”, compared to a normal television series like “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Vampire Diaries” (Elliot, 2008).

For one thing, contestants in a reality television programme are more willing to endorse products compared to the scripted sitcom. In the latter, actors or actresses are more concerned about art and the long-term values as an ambassador if they want to endorse any products. Apart from the mentioned characteristics, product placement can also be referred to as brand placement, depending on the situation that needs to be emphasized on (Kumar, 2017).

Along with product placement, there are many other programmes related to promotional techniques that are always connected to product placements’ deal. There are many ways to promote products within the mass media context such as sponsorship, infomercials, video news releases and advertising funded programmes (Sherman, 2010). Take for example the show “Lara oh Lara”. As their main sponsor is “Yakult”, product placement is evident and is done extensively within the programme.

As product placement becomes common nowadays, it generated a concern among the public especially of its effect towards children. Media plays an important role in every child’s life, and exposure to popular music, television and movies at an early age makes younger people more susceptible to its messages, both negative and positive, especially when it involves famous celebrities and people. There have not been many studies which focus on product placements on minors, but according to Andy and Lewis (2004), product placement has affected children in terms of a lower level of media literacy, meaning that they have a sub-par creative ability to access, analyse, evaluate and re-develop media into other forms, which has indefinitely raised an alarming concern for children’s well-being. (Sherman, 2010).

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