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By Jill Weinberger and Joseph O'Dell | CNBC – Mon, Jan 9, 2012 12:31 PM EST When a company pays for its product to be featured in a movie or a television show to increase brand awareness, it’s called product placement. This form of advertising has been around almost as long as movies and television shows themselves, and has long been a secondary source of income for networks and content producers. When factoring in commercial-skipping technology such as DVR and on-demand programming, product placement becomes even more attractive for advertisers. However, this type of brand marketing is a double-edged sword. While companies can weave their products into shows, they are in danger of alienating consumers with overzealous productplacement campaigns. The effectiveness of product placement is also a key question, and strategies can range from featuring a brand briefly on screen to having it play a key role in the plot. In the past year, reality TV shows have been the leaders for integrating brands through product placement, with products tied into the themes and storylines of the show. While scripted television has received fewer instances, a recent report released by Nielsen shows that these spots are more memorable for the audience.
Nielsen has compiled the top programs with product placement, and the following is a list, ranked by number of product placement occurrences in 2011, including sponsors and memorable instances of brand integration. So, which prime time shows had the most product placement in the past year?
Photo: Fox/YouTube 1. “American Idol” Product placement occurrences: 577
product placement in the show has become more expensive over the years. viewers are encouraged to text/call from their AT&T wireless phones. whether it’s where the contestants work out. . and Ford showcases weekly “music videos” that feature contestants driving their vehicles. It’s hard to miss the product placement. and Ford. The official sponsors. finds multiple ways to integrate products into the show. a whopping 577 occurrences were found on the reality talent show “American Idol. “The Biggest Loser” The Biggest Loser/NBC/Subway/Facebook Product placement occurrences: 533 Episodes in 2011: 34 Network: NBC “The Biggest Loser.” making it No. contestants will wait in the “Coca-Cola” lounge.Episodes in 2011: 39 Network: FOX This year. AT&T. 1 for product placement. 2. which food they use in cooking. The judges will sip from large cups emblazoned with Coca-Cola logos. According to Variety magazine. or “trainer tips” that mention specific brands. currently pay up to $50 million to $60 million a year. “Idol” is also consistently one of the most watched shows on television. Coca-Cola. compared with $25 million to $35 million that was spent in the show’s earlier years. which is mentioned throughout the show. The official sponsor of the show is Subway.” the competitive weight-loss reality show.
In this year’s finale.” eating Subway sandwiches and learning about the sandwich’s nutritional content. Progresso. 4. and producing 30-second spots for ACN's new videophone. Other products that have been featured in the challenges and tips include 24 Hour Fitness Gyms. producing a commercial. or running a company. Some of the challenges in the 2011 season included staging a camping experience using supplies from Camping World. hosted by Donald Trump.Contestants are shown taking “field trips. producing a commercial. brings celebrities together to compete in business-driven challenges that can range from developing a new product. contestants are given the task of coming up with their own Subway sandwich. selling merchandise. which included designing the packaging and in-store display. “Dancing With the Stars” . the format makes it easy to integrate a company or product. Subway is even incorporated into the challenges. “Celebrity Apprentice” Celebrity Apprentice/NBC Product placement occurrences: 391 Episodes in 2011: 12 Network: NBC The show. With so many options. and Extra sugar-free gum. and launching a star-studded event that promoted the brand. 3. in one episode. creating an environment inside a 10-by-10-foot box that embodies Australian Gold's brand. Ziploc. the contestants were asked to come up with a promotional campaign for 7UP Retro.
The show's main sponsor is Pepsi. most of which are owned by ABC and its parent company. The Muppets competed against the other celebrities and dancers. “Dancing with the Stars” has also featured acts from Cirque do Soleil. This past year. as part of the promotion for an upcoming movie." Guest artists also make appearances. where they perform songs from upcoming albums. 5. examples of product placement feature other shows and movies. where judges select which contestants progress through the show’s many rounds. . similar to many other TV talent contests. In the past. and the Broadway show "The Lion King. complete with a full panel of judges and viewer participation. In the show. “The X Factor” X Factor/Getty Images Product placement occurrences: 312 Episodes in 2011: 26 Network: FOX ”The X Factor” is a singing competition series. Walt Disney. Michael Jackson's Immortal World Tour. which is mentioned and featured throughout the show.Dancing With the Stars/ABC Product placement occurrences: 390 Episodes in 2011: 29 Network: ABC “Dancing With the Stars” pairs professional dancers with celebrities in a dance competition.
. General Motors' Chevrolet. In addition to Pepsi. Many interactive elements in the show are Pepsi-related. Click here to see the full list of Primetime Shows With the Most Product Placement.The most notable instances of product placement are the prominently placed Pepsi cups appearing in front of the judges. there are two other major sponsors. which is featured in Pepsi commercials. which features SUVs transporting the judges. Outasight. and Sony Music. performed the song “Tonight’s the Night” during the show.” which allows viewers to select details of a special ensemble performance. One of the musical guests. including a segment called the “Pepsi Choice Performance. which provides a $5 million recording contract to the winner. There is also the constant reminder in every episode that the winner will be featured in a Pepsi commercial during the Super Bowl.