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Advertising Your Product on Stage

These days we’ve grown accustom to product placement in the movie theater. What used to be flashes of popcorn and fountain drinks as subliminal messages in the days of old has become an obvious flaunting of a Pepsi trucks driving down the highway next to the movie’s hero, who happens to be in the latest convertible to be released by Mercedes.

Product placement is expanding its borders. No longer something just for the movies, many companies are landing product placements on the stage as well. Broadway musicals are now incorporating products such as Red Bull energy drink and UPS express delivery in Stewart Lane’s latest hit, Legally Blonde.

Think having a product placed on the Broadway stage is way out of your league? Never fear, the theatrical product placement movement is really beginning to sweep the nation and many small local theaters are adopting the idea to help raise money in order to support their productions.

Yes, it will cost you money, just like any other advertisement. And each theater will charge differently depending on what sort of product placement you want. Some small local theaters may not have implemented the idea yet and would be willing to negotiate the advertising price with you if you initiate the call.

So what are your options? Well, product placement in a stage production, just like with the movies, can be anything from the mentioning of your product in a character’s line to simply having your product strategically placed on stage with the cast. For example, if you own a local soft drink company, the cast could be drinking your soda throughout the production. Then there are also the options of ads in the production programs or even advertisements on a projector screen before, after and during intermission.

There are two important factors to keep in mind when looking into product placement for the theater stage. First, the actual play/musical must be somewhat contemporary. A product placement ad for your dry cleaning service wouldn’t exactly fit in a production of Hamlet, unless, of course, it was a modernized version. Lane’s production of Legally Blonde, on the other hand, incorporates things throughout the play that are around us every day, which makes product placement simple.

Secondly, it is important that your product placement be subtle and not overpowering to the audience. Having a character mention your bakery in every scene will distract from the quality of the play, and probably lead the audience to avoid your business rather than check it out. Customers don’t want your product rubbed in their face, especially when they are there to see a production, not advertising. It needs to appear to the audience as part of the play/musical, like it was already written in the script. If it seems like an actually ad, then it defeats the purpose.

Product placement in your local theater, another one of many new advertising options that you, as a small business owner, have in order to get the word out about your product.

• Product Placement Takes the Stage

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By Michelle Cramer
Sunday, July 8th, 2018 @ 12:00 AM CDT

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