Apple: The Master of Product Placement

Collin Smith

Twitter: @Real_CSmith



From the early days of its colorful iMacs to the new age of the iPad, Apple has been dominating product placement across hit television shows and blockbuster movies for well over a decade. It was reported that in 2011, Apple products were in 40% of movie box office hits. It was also reported that Apple products appeared in 891 TV shows that same year. While those are both staggering numbers, it is the cost Apple pays to have product placement in those shows that is even more staggering.

One of Apples big marketing secrets is that it pays nothing to have product placement across those TV shows and movies. Apple has one designated employee who is in constant contact with Hollywood executives to place its products in their productions. Instead of paying a a base fee, Apple simply distributes large amounts of their products such as iPads, iPhones and even MacBook laptops to be used in scenes. Apple ends up paying the base costs of those devices for their product to reach the eyes of million’s of viewers while positioning their products in a positive and cool way. One would believe that those product placements should be worth a significantly larger value and below is the estimated value of a few of their product placements in hit blockbuster films.


As you can see above the estimated value reaches close to $50 million dollars for just eight movies alone. It is fair to assume that over many years that Apple is avoiding billions of dollars in product placement costs. Probably the key behind avoiding costs is the authenticity of their product placements. Authenticity is defined as quality of genuineness or naturalness. Their products feel natural in the scenes they are in and never seemed forced. They don’t usually demand the spotlight and are highlighted by the action of a character in the scene. An example can be seen in this clip from Modern Family below

Not once in that clip is the product mentioned or highlighted on its own. It is shown in a humorous manner and one we as consumers can identify with. Apple is writing the rule book in the sense that product placements need to be moved away from shameless plugs and towards natural uses in Hollywood. Once brands begin to adopt a similar approach that they can also enjoy the similar benefits of “free” product placement.


McDonalds Sponsorship and Advertising (Sales Promotion and Product Placement)

Edwin Tsang


McDonald’s advertising has used various advertising techniques to get more customers buying their products. Even though we all know how bad fast food is for our bodies. McDonald is selling their products from a different point of view.  As we were going over the chapters of Sales Promotion, the following two videos represent humor, and some of the traits of sales promotions.

McDonald is the main sponsor for many sporting events. By doing so the giant fast food leader is going to create a healthier image in public’s mind. For example McDonald is a well-known sponsor for London Olympics 2012, FIFA World Cup 2002 in Japan and Korea, FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa or the annual Basketball McDonald All American Game.

In the previous named events, the participants are all top of their class in athletics. In Olympics, the World Cup and Basketball are all main stream sports, getting much publicity and attention. Furthermore McDonald is closely associated with athletes. Having these tight bonds and representations, change the perception in its consumers’ mind. The chances are rare that their sponsored pro athletes consume McDonald’s product often. It is likely that they are under a strict diet and eating at McDonald is undoubtedly a treat for them. However by sponsoring these top athletes and sporting events, McDonald has given themselves a different image, a positive one. It also shows that their products can be fit into athletes live. McDonald is getting a piece of it since athletes’ live are generally associated with fitness, strength and health.


No doubt that it is a smart and successful sponsorship and advertising strategies of McDonald. We see success of it and other fast food companies are to follow McDonald’s path. Taco bell is part of a sponsor in the NBA, Burger King sponsors Ronaldinho and soccer clubs.

Product Placement

Atsuo Nakashita


Product Placement is one of advertising techniques. It promotes products through appearances in film, television programs, video games, novels, and magazines. Product placement is very effective to visibly attract viewers’ attentions and increase brand awareness. Also, it will be able to create instant recognition of the product or the brand if it goes well. However, it is not always effective because if a bad guy uses a particular product, viewers may hold bad images toward the product.

To take an good example of product placement, James Bond is a one of the famous series movies produced by Eon Production. James Bond is originally a British novel written by Ian Lancaster Fleming. Eon Production have produced 23 films since the first film was made in 1962. In the films, Bond uses various spy tools, cars, credit card, etc. These products are attractively promoted as Bond uses, especially some products used to overcome crisis situations.

Here is a movie


Many famous brands appear in James Bond movies, for example Omega, Rolex, Sony, Nokia, BMW, Aston Martin, Ford, Coca-Cola, Heineken, Bollinger, Persol, Brioni and Tom Ford. Among of these brands, Bond drives the sales of Omega watches. Bond used to wear Rolex watch, but Rolex had become too common. The costume designer decided to use Omega watch instead of Rolex. “Goldeneye” in 1995 was the first movie that Bond wore Omega watch, and since then, Omega became his main watch.

According to the president of Omega Stephen Urquhar, the sales of Omega looks “like a stock market chart. It goes up and peaks during the promotion of a Bond film and comes down afterward. The films have had a very marked influence on sales.” In addition, Omega released a limited edition 007 seamaster model at the same time of running new James Bond movie “Skyfall” in 2012. Stephen expects the watch generate $32 million in sales.


James Bond also increased the sales of BMW. In “Tomorrow Never Dies,” Bond drove the BMW 7 series. Sales of the car increased in the year of running the movie. Following these examples, product placement is one of the effective promotions.