PQ Media

Product placement has come a long way since a laundry soap slipped on-screen during 1950s television. Today’s crowded media has advertisers more focused on integrating their products into content more than ever, including with mentions on radio and podcasts. PQ Media estimates product placement spending worldwide is on pace to reach $26.2 billion this year as the marketing tool grows at a faster pace than traditional advertising.

Global product placement spending is pacing for “accelerated” double-digit growth in 2022, as the value of brand integrations is expected to rise 14.3% as consumer trends favor the creation of more branded entertainment while a larger number of major brands increase their use of product placement in media to engage pre-Boomer audiences.

The U.S. is the “chief catalyst” of the surge in product integration spending this year according to PQ Media. It projects $14.77 billion will be spent this year in the U.S., a 15.1% increase from a year ago. It says the gains are fueled by the growing number and value of product placements targeting more mobile and diverse younger consumers through not only streaming TV and films, but also a growing number of digital media.

This year’s forecast growth comes on the heels of last year’s gains. PQ Media says the total value of product placements in all media worldwide increased 12.3% to $22.93 billion in 2021. While the television still commands the lion’s share of product placement spending globally -- it captured $16.06 million of last year’s total -- PQ says the various digital media had the fastest growth rate, rising 16.3% year-to-year.

Product placement in music – where the firm puts its streaming radio and podcast spending -- was the smallest channel at $302 million in 2021, but was the second-fastest growing, up 13.9%, as brands have ratcheted up product integrations and the creation of branded content.

PQ Media says spending in music videos and lyrics are also a growing piece of the budget. For example, Beyoncé switched out her Birkin for Telfar in her new album’s lyrics, sending searches for the affordable U.S. luxury brand soaring in recent weeks.

“Our research indicates that skillful product placement creates emotional connections with key target consumers brands are trying to reach, particularly pre-Boomer demographics, which are more elusive, tech-savvy and averse to traditional media,” said PQ Media President/CEO Patrick Quinn.

The growth in product placement ads comes at a faster pace than advertising and marketing gains. PQ Media estimates placement spending will increase nearly three-times the rate of traditional ad spending this year. That follows the worst decline ever in pandemic-struck 2020 – PQ Media says the retrenchment in the U.S. during 2020 was the steepest decline recorded in the 47 years the firm has been tracking product placement – has led to double-digit growth for 2022 in all six media platforms it tracks.

“Paid placements have grown substantially in number and value during the past several decades because brands have become more willing to invest in the creative integration of their logos and products in storylines that expose their assets in meaningful ways,” Quinn said. “And the strong desire to gain brand awareness among target consumers, create positive brand associations and generate sales lift will continue to favor product placement in the post-pandemic era.”

PQ Media says product placement on television is growing the most quickly among the streaming services. It says the Netflix hit series “Stranger Things” included 140 different product placements, including Skittles, Sony, Reebok, and Eggo. It is estimated that all product integrations in “Stranger Things” netted producers at least $25 million.

Some streaming TV shows are also adding QR codes on screen to help viewers purchase the produces they see, such as Peacock’s “Love Island.”