‘Subtle’ Product Placement

Does anyone else ever wonder what happened to those creative old music videos that were engaging and told a story? Because I do. Here’s my personal favourite:

Music videos were once an outlet for artists to express themselves in a way that they couldn’t do with just their music. They were made to compliment songs, tell a story and paint a picture.

Today, music videos are used for a very different reason.

Like anything in today’s society with enormous global reach, music videos have evolved into a VERY effective method for brand’s to create awareness and advertise their products.

As an example, lets look at just your average Coldplay song. Coldplay’s 2016 song “Hymn for the Weekend” generated just under 725 million views on their official YouTube channel alone. That’s just one channel, ignoring all the other places that the video would have played around the world.

Judging that, its a fair assumption that most semi-popular to popular music videos earn close to, if not much more than a billion views, as Adele’s “Hello” did in 2016 with 1.95 billion views.

With that in mind, its easy to see why marketers have targeted music videos as a platform to “subtly” show off their products. Music videos are cool (most the time). They are new and relevant, and they’re practically a celebrity endorsement for any brand appearing in them. Because if Justin Bieber is using the new iPhone 7, then I better be as well.

However, its not as easy as just calling up Bieber or Adele and saying “put me in your next music video pls”, like all good advertising, it costs money. And probably a lot of it. Britney Spear’s 2011 song “Hold It Against Me” reportedly netted her $500,000 in endorsements for including brands like Sony, Make Up Forever and Plenty of Fish momentarily in her music video.

Just for fun, here’s some of the worst and most obvious product placements in music videos of the last few years.

So do you watch music videos routinely or at all? If so, have you noticed an increase of brands and products ‘sneaking’ their way into them?


One thought on “‘Subtle’ Product Placement

  1. I can’t distinctly recall a music video that had very obvious product placement, (which probably proves how subtle it can be), but I have found some of the more obvious product placements to be very amusing, and sometimes it does help to be loudly obvious in a humorous way, so that viewers might want to purchase the product for the sheer hilarity of it.


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