The practice of product placement whereby an advertiser secures a position within the content of a television show or movie has come under fire from Commercial Alert, a Portland, Oregon based consumer watchdog group founded by Ralph Nadar and Gary Ruskin. The group has filed a complaint with the FCC claiming marketers and networks that engage in product placement strategies are deceiving the public and has asked that guidelines be established.
The resurgence of product placement, popular in the 50's, is in reaction to the rising costs of commercial television time and declining viewership.
Marketers spend billions of dollars every year developing and advertising taglines hoping consumers will remember them, understand them and act on them. Well, according to a recent study by Emergence, most of that money is wasted. Only 6 out of 22 taglines from major U.S. marketers were remembered by more than 10 percent of those surveyed. Even more damaging to those who preach the benefits of a good tagline was the revelation that slogans from three major marketers received a zero percent recognition level. The losers were Circuit City (We're with you), Kmart (The stuff of life) and Staples (That was easy). Wal-Mart was the only high scorer in the study receiving a 64 percent recognition level.
The reason for this is simple. Marketers are fickle and come up with ridiculous reasons to reposition their companies hence the need for a new logo, tagline or campaign. Mostly, it happens when a new marketing director joins a company and has to make his mark so he hires a new ad agency and crafts a "new direction" that will "resonate more clearly" with today's consumer replacing the previously "stale" image. That's such bullshit. It takes decades to create a level of awareness and brand understanding and most marketers today do not have the patience for that to happen.
Recently, GE changed it's tagline from "We Bring Good Things to Life" to "Imagination at Work" in an apparent effort to explain its expanse into other lines of business such as jet engines and wind power. The first tagline, created twenty years ago, was well understood and broad enough to encompass any new business segment. Now, GE with only a 3% awareness of the new tagline will have to wait another twenty years before they can, again, have a level of recognition or par with their "Good Things" days. Perhaps marketers will realize that, based upon this study, change is not good and the need for having a tagline in the first place may be unnecessary.