What Is Product Placement? (With Definition And Examples)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 25 September 2022

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Product placement is a type of advertising that businesses use to promote their products naturally. Companies use this type of marketing strategy to improve brand popularity, increase sales and attract customers. Understanding this strategy in detail can help you determine how you can use this form of advertising to promote a product or brand. In this article, we discuss what product placement is, explain why it is crucial, share how it differs from traditional advertisements and offer some examples to help you understand it better.

What Is Product Placement?

Product placement is a marketing technique that promotes specific products or brands to customers more naturally than traditional advertising, usually through television or in a retail setting. The goal is to subtly promote products in a non-traditional environment where advertisements do not generally occur. For example, showing a character in a movie driving a specific type of car or a lead actor using a particular brand of shampoo in their daily life. Companies sometimes refer to this as embedded marketing or embedded advertisement since it involves embedding images of products in retail stores or various forms of entertainment.

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Why Is Embedded Marketing Important?

Embedded marketing is essential since it helps increase consumers' brand awareness. Here are some other reasons why it is vital for businesses:

Influences consumers opinions

Embedded marketing may impact a customer's perception of a brand, depending on how companies present it. For instance, when a well-liked movie character uses an advertised product, consumers may form a favourable opinion of that brand. This helps increase awareness, trust and familiarity, which are essential variables in the purchase decision-making process.

Reaches a broader range of audiences at a lesser cost

A broad range of popular media utilises embedded marketing, including music, movies, video games and artwork. People from different demographics and backgrounds consume this content and gain exposure to specific brands while searching for information or entertainment. Embedded marketing is also a less expensive form that gives almost the same results and benefits for company exposure as other popular advertising forms. It also usually costs lesser than putting an advertisement in a newspaper or doing a television commercial.

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Generates emotional attachment for the audience

Embedded marketing can generate an emotional attachment for audiences who may associate the product with something meaningful in their lives. For instance, if a business promotes its product in a famous television show, customers may associate their strong feelings for the TV series with the brand or product promoted in the show. These types of promotions build credibility and help promote the products.

Improves sales

Companies that use embedded advertisements may experience improved sales. This is generally possible because viewers who recognise a brand or product while watching a television series or reading a magazine may feel more inclined to buy that product when shopping. Unlike traditional advertisements, where consumers may fast forward or mute a television show or video game, in embedded marketing they are more likely to focus on the content and absorb the product or brand message.

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Boosts brand recognition in local and international markets

Brand recognition involves consumers remembering the company's brand by recognising a logo, slogan or jingle. Embedded marketing boosts brand recognition when customers frequently see the products or brand in various media, which can attract customers and help a company grow. Embedded marketing can also offer international exposure that otherwise might have been inaccessible for companies. For example, with online entertainment and streaming capabilities, movies and television series reach a vast section of audiences across the world, which can broaden the company's customer base.

Enables brands to select their target audiences

Brands can decide to advertise in certain media that cater to their specific target audience. For instance, if a children's clothing line releases a new collection, the business may decide to pay for child actors on a popular children's TV show to wear the items from the clothing line. This helps to capture the attention of their target audience and gain exposure to parents and children.

How Does Embedded Marketing Differ From Traditional Commercials?

Here are two critical differences between embedded marketing and traditional commercials:

Direct vs indirect advertising

Embedded marketing is a more natural way of advertising products, while traditional advertisements follow a more direct approach. Traditional commercials often connect with consumers by directly explaining what the product is and how it can benefit customers. Embedded marketing is a less direct and subtle way of showing products to consumers. For instance, a television series can include a particular brand's products on display when an actor shops in a popular store. Viewers might not even realise they are the target audience for an embedded advertisement while watching the actor shop.

Related: 12 Advertisement Types (With Their Uses And Benefits)

Length of advertisements

Traditional advertisements, such as radio advertisements and television commercials, can last anywhere from one to five minutes. Embedded advertisements in media often have much shorter segments when compared to traditional forms. Embedded advertisements promote most products or brands for fewer than ten seconds.

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Examples Of Embedded Marketing

Here are some examples where you can observe embedded marketing in real life:


Embedded marketing in media involves promoting brands or products through television, movies, music and other forms of entertainment. Here are some ways that companies use embedded advertisements in media to promote their brands:

  • Props: Embedded marketing often involves using props to promote products in television series, movies, video games or music videos. For instance, if an actor in a television series consumes a specific brand of juice or biscuit, consumers may feel compelled to buy similar products.

  • Settings: The settings of a movie or television series may act as product arrangements to show the audience what a location has to offer. For example, if a hotel is trying to attract more visitors, it may pay a television series to film an episode at the hotel to attract consumers and increase brand awareness.

Related: What Is A Product Mix? (With Basics, Importance And Example)


Businesses that engage in embedded marketing in the retail industry pay for a particular area within a store that is more likely to draw a customer's attention. Businesses can effectively promote specific products to customers in this way without spending money on advertising. A few examples of embedded marketing in retail contexts are as follows:

  • End cap: Store employees build end caps at the end of store aisles or as kiosks in the middle of the store when they want to promote a specific product. End caps are displays arranged in an innovative way to feature particular products and brands so that customers have a better chance of seeing them.

  • Checkout sales: To encourage customers to make an impulse purchase when they check out, employees frequently arrange merchandise next to cash registers. Companies think that if a customer sees their goods just before leaving the store, they may be more likely to buy them.

  • Eye-level shelves: Products displayed at eye level are most likely to sell better than other products. Businesses often pay more for stores to place their products at eye level so that consumers are more likely to see them and feel compelled to purchase them.

Related: What Is Visual Merchandising? A Complete Guide To The Field

Social media

Embedded marketing on social media refers to giving exposure to the company's products by means of displaying them in lifestyle shots where the product is not necessarily the key focus of the image. Both huge corporations and small to medium business owners rely on social media to share, promote and sell their products. They often do it through celebrity or influencer endorsement, who may use the products in their shots to boost that brand's popularity with their following.

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