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House of Cards and Product Placement

Some people think Netflix is closed to advertisers. They’re not.

The third season of House of Cards was released a couple days ago, so you’d think that the article I am linking today is strictly buzz-worthy, but no.

Advertising Age published an extensive article on how Anheuser-Busch InBev placed its products in the series (and they’ve done it since the first season).

It covers everything, from how it started, how they manage it, how they know the fit is right. And get this, something always interesting to read, a mathematical formula they use to calculate the value of product placement.

They even tell how much they paid to get their products there: nothing.

Before I send you off to read the article, one thing you need to remember: this article is about product placement, not branded content. Nonetheless, it tells the entire story on how a top global brand tackles these types of projects.

As a simplistic cheat sheet, here is how you can categorize types of brand integrations:

  1. Sponsorship: production is completed; only possibility is to have logos and brand appear “around” the content.
  2. Product placement: very close to the end of the production process. Script is final, brands can only evaluate if the fit is right with their values and the product’s use, as per the script, suits them.
  3. Branded content: brand and production team get together before the final scripting process (the sooner the better) and complete the scripts hand in hand, tying storytelling to the brand’s values and business objectives. This is where the brand has the most say.

Today’s article is a little longer than usual, but it is a great business case in product placement.