September 28, 2013 — Companies are always looking for new avenues to advertise to the public especially because the average Nigerian is constantly searching for ways to avoid watching advertisements. For this reason, product placement is fast becoming attractive to companies in Nigeria because characters in films and other television productions often eat, drink, drive cars and wear branded products.
So what is product placement you might ask? Product placement (often referred to as brand integration or embedded marketing) is the simple act of incorporating a brand, product, symbol, package or other trademark merchandise into a movie, TV show, music video, book, video game, or other media in order to increase recognition for the brand. This is different from the unauthorized inclusion of a brand or products in a film (which often raises many legal questions ranging from trademark dilution or infringement to copyright infringement in an artistic work).
For product placement, the owner of a trademark or even a brand owner offers their products and/or pays to have their product incorporated into films and in many cases, Releases/Product Placement Agreements will set out the context or scene in which the products will be featured and the length or duration of the scene.
In the Nigerian market, filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan of Golden Effects Pictures is famous for understanding the film industry and the importance of product placement to companies that seek to advertise their products and how it also serves as a source of financing and income for films. His movie ‘The Figurine (2009)’ secured product placement from many companies including Unilever, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Motorola and Omatek Computers.
Two memorable scenes from the movie that illustrate good use of product placement are during the ‘NYSC trek’, when the character Femi (played by Ramsey Nouah) is out of breath from the long walk and the character Sola (played by Kunle Afolayan) hands Femi a bottle of Lucozade Sport drink. It was subtle (the way one hopes product placement should be) yet as a viewer you got to see the product and experience Femi getting refreshed from the drink. Another memorable scene from the movie was when Mona (played by Omoni Obori) was talking to her professor and she took a sip out of her Lucozade juice box and set it on the table (again subtle yet very effective).
But Kunle is not alone in the industry in his understanding of the benefits of product placement to both film makers and brand owners. Other Nollywood filmmakers like Mildred Okwo, who secured product placement from companies like Oando for the movie ’30 days’ and Obi Emelonye, whose movie ‘Last Flight to Abuja (2012)’, secured product placement from Diamond Bank and Zinox computers, understand that through product placement they can subsidize the budget for films and at the same time create films that amongst other things serve as a platform for companies to advertise their goods and services and increase familiarity with viewers.
This article is intended to provide general information about the subject matter. Professional legal advice should be sought about specific circumstances.