When a company pays for its product to be featured in a movie or a television show to increase brand awareness, it's called product placement. This form of advertising has been around almost as long as movies and television shows themselves, and has long been a secondary source of income for networks and content producers. When factoring in commercial-skipping technology such as DVR and on-demand programming, product placement becomes even more attractive for advertisers.
However, this type of brand marketing is a double-edged sword. While companies can weave their products into shows, they are in danger of alienating consumers with overzealous product-placement campaigns. The effectiveness of product placement is also a key question, and strategies can range from featuring a brand briefly on screen to having it play a key role in the plot.
In the past year, reality TV shows have been the leaders for integrating brands through product placement, with products tied into the themes and storylines of the show. While scripted television has received fewer instances, a recent report released by Nielsen shows that these spots are more memorable for the audience.
Nielsen has compiled the top programs with product placement, and the following is a list, ranked by number of product placement occurrences in 2011, including sponsors and memorable instances of brand integration.
So, which prime time shows had the most product placement in the past year? Click ahead to find out!
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By Jill Weinberger and Joseph O'Dell