Product placement has been around for a long time, and it’s become increasingly common since the early 2000s.
With the advent of social media influencers and this new way of communicating with fans, product placement has become more accessible to people with smaller audiences as well.
There is definitely money to be made with placements, but there is more at stake than just cash.
Product placements – especially on social media, but also in music videos and other aspects of your brand – have an impact on how the public perceives you.
The thing is, product placement on social media is not subtle. It’s often in the form of an outright endorsement, or some sort of placement that is masquerading as a normal post.
There is nothing wrong with product placement. It’s a perfectly legitimate income stream, and a great marketing technique, but it does bear thinking about some of the problems that product placements present.
Product Placements Can Look Clunky
Personally, I hate seeing people share product placements on their artist social media account. It kind of kills me.
A well-branded artist social media account has vibe and intent.
I think a good Instagram account can have artistic intent. Many artists keep a cohesive aesthetic in their posts and only post about making music and about things that inspire them.
There is nothing less inspiring than a product placement.
Some fans cringe when their favorite song turns up in a car commercial.
Imagine that, but worse. When you do a product endorsement, your art becomes the medium for an advertisement.
At least when your song is used in an advertisement, it’s still somewhat removed from the ad. And I think that people understand that artists let their songs be used in advertisements for money.
When you post product endorsements to social media, it turns your page into something that isn’t about music, and that’s worth taking into consideration.
Products Can Come With Baggage
Like it or not, products come with their own brand and history.
By saying you endorse a product, you are also endorsing what that product stands for.
For example, it would be very strange to see a very environmentally focused artist doing a product placement for an oil and gas company.
If you are endorsing a product, you need to make sure that you can also endorse the culture and the extra connotations that come with the product.
I know a country artist who does in fact have a sponsorship from an oil and gas company. It saves him money on the road and provides lots of good corporate work.
The only reason this works is because the country genre tends to lend itself towards trucks and rural themes – oil and gas fits right in.
You need to look at the same thing when you wear a certain brand of clothing.
What does that clothing brand stand for? Do they make ethical clothing? Do they use child labor?
You may not think about these things all of the time, but some of your fans probably do, especially if you cater to a socially conscious crowd.
That said, some products can work well with the brand that you already have.
DJ Khaled has super obvious product placement in his music video for “I’m The One”. The first shot is of him wearing Beats headphones, there are bottles of Belaire by the pool, and the dancers are obviously smoking a certain brand of e-cigarettes, one which I won’t mention the name of here.
It’s obvious, a little obnoxious, and I’m sure it made him a lot of money.
But frankly, his fan base would not care. They wouldn’t see it as selling out – all of those brands work with the lifestyle that DJ Khaled represents.
Similarly, an artist that I work for has an endorsement deal from a outdoorsy, ethical, clothing company, and it makes total sense. He’s also endorsed by a local craft brewery.
Both of those brands work well with his demographic; young, hip people.
When the brand of a product and the brand of an artist work together, it can be a great partnership. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into.
The Pros Of Product Placements/Endorsements
I’ve been trying to drive home that product endorsements are more than just money and that you should be careful when accepting them.
However, some partnerships can work really well, and there are many reasons why you might want one. Here are some of the pros of accepting a product placement/endorsement.
Potential Extra Exposure
Sometimes, when you partner with another brand, they will post about you on their social media.
This can provide a lot of good exposure that you wouldn’t have otherwise had access to. Fans of the product will become fans of you, and vice versa as well.
Free Stuff & Money
One of the best parts about getting a product placement is the free stuff you’ll probably get.
A friend of mine recently featured Blundstone (a really nice boot) in her music video, and then Blundstones gave everyone in the band a pair of boots.
On top of that, you also get paid.
And you should get paid! You are providing a real service and a real audience for the marketer to work with.
The placements run the gamut of prices. Anywhere from $100 to $800 – $1000.
It is definitely worth considering the difference the money could make. If it means you can do a showcase you’ve always wanted to do, or make more without having a job, then you should consider doing it!
When Two Brands Work Together, People Love It
If both brands complement each other, then people will love it. It’s that simple.
Like George Clooney and expensive watches, some things just make sense.
The Endorsements You Should Definitely Take
Some endorsements are amazing.
For example, if you get endorsed by Ernie Ball, you’ll get free guitar strings forever. That’s awesome.
Similar deals exist for drum sticks, picks, cables and pedals.
The next level after that is getting instrument sponsorships. You don’t often get free guitars with an endorsement deal, but you can definitely get artist pricing on most instruments.
These endorsements don’t have many of the trappings that other product endorsements have. They’re just there to help you make music and associate themselves with cool bands.
So, all in all, if the money is good and the brand partnerships make sense, I say go for it. As long as you’re aware of the risks and are comfortable with them, I say go out and make some money!