Put Your Brand in a Book

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Product placement in movies has long been a way to build brand. Movie and television watchers see the Nike swoosh, characters drinking a grande nonfat mocha latte or finding someone’s secrets using a Google search and remember those brands long after memories of the show have faded. But a deal between Procter and Gamble and the authors of a new book have some raising their eyebrows.

The P&G deal put products like Cover Girl cosmetics in a book in exchange for promoting it on P&G’s website BeingGirl.com. You can read the whole story here. The authors also created MySpace profiles for characters, built “company” websites and activated cell phone numbers to create an interactive book. But no one is questioning those aspects, focusing instead on product placement.

Is placing brand names in books something new? Not hardly. Three random books, all published prior to 2006, pulled from my bookshelf (The Princess Diaries, The Givenchy Code and Bet Me ) mention Doc Martens, Jimmy Choo and Krispy Kremes respectively. Were these authors paid to mentions these brands? I don’t know that it matters, unless you are one of the authors and are feeling cheated.

According to PQ Media, in 2005 product placement spending jumped dramatically to $2.2 billion, with the total value of placement including barter deals and non-cash promotion leaping to $6 billion.

Here is the reasoning for product placement: people read (or watch). People buy. People buy products they remember. A good ad campaign whether for commercials, movies, tv or books will be remembered.

Some won’t like the inclusion of specific brands in books, but with product placement already in TV, movies and music videos the veritable Pandora’s Box is already open. The mad dash to tap this potentially best-selling revenue stream has already begun.



Kristina Knight is a freelance writer based in Ohio, United States. She began her career in radio and television broadcasting, focusing her energies on health and business reporting. After six years in the industry, Kristina branched out on her own. Since 2001, her articles have appeared in Family Delegate, Credit Union Business, FaithandValues.com and with Threshold Media.