Media plays an important role in disseminating the information; we use the information to satisfy our needs. Today we see that, the information is more about products than the any other interesting subjects. Many of the programmes or the genres are designed also taking the advertisers into consideration. Advertisers/advertising agencies do everything to reach out to the audience during the programme intervals. We are witnessing a new trend in advertising (reaching the audience through anchors, and within the programme itself). Few very popular and interesting programmes/subjects are undermined because of product placements in foreground/background. I personally feel that the product placement has already gone too far in movies, and many of the audience have accepted this form of passive and active advertising in films and television programmes. Today the smaller screen has taken a lead role in placing the products actively and passively for audience consumption, and in recent time’s television is giving tough competition for big screen/films. Today the advertising agencies and the advertisers have the option of choosing from 800 plus channels and hundreds of programmes to place their products both actively and passively 24x7. The new trend of placing the products especially in the lifestyle channels have been working to the advantage of the product companies and organizations, much of the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG)/products are placed in the programmes for the consumption.

Apart from the Sas Bahu serials and other entertainment programmes on various channels, the lifestyle channels with their unique programmes are able to create their own niche among the audience. Especially with the programmes that involve places, food and culture have gained huge popularity among the Indian audience. Though women are a major component of the audience, men equally love the programmes. Advertising agencies and advertisers are depending more on these lifestyle channels to promote their products rather depending on the celebrities. The advertising agencies and advertisers in a way are trying to cut down their own expenses and also the huge sums they have to pay to celebrities for endorsing the product.  An important aspect of these channels is that, the channel tends to attend the need/necessities of upper middle and elite class. Many of the culinary dishes that are prepared in the show, and the varieties of items used in cooking some exotic dishes are too expensive, and are not in the reach of common man or lower middle class household economies. This can also be the reason why certain products are placed in these channels. Also with regard to travel and cultural shows the places are not easily accessible to the common masses, advertisers and advertising agencies take this into consideration and are placing the products accordingly.

Advertising agencies and product companies no more require celebrities or brand ambassadors to promote their products, any small time television artist, anchor or chef can promote the products equally in some of the most popular programmes.

Take for example a programme called Turban Tadka on Food Food channel, Chef Harpal Singh openly endorses and advise the audience touse LG products (water filter/fridge etc.) also explaining the advantages of the products, apart from the variety of culinary dishes he prepares. Audience especially women are bound to act consciously or unconsciously while ordering/picking some products in the super markets after watching the programme. Another product that is placed in the programme are the Kohinoor products, specially the Basmati Rice, while preparing certain rice dishes the chef advises the audience to use basmati rice, specially the Kohinoor Basmati Rice which he says has the flavor and taste that may also please the guests at home. Many product advertisements on television channel can be ignored by the audiences that are played during the brakes, but product placement within the programmes are hardly ignored by the audience. We also come across the product placements actively and passively in a programme called Twist of taste-Costal Curries on Fox Traveler. Chef Vikas Khanna opens a product that he ordered on Flipkart (pepper mill/crusher) he goes on to add how fast and efficient the Flipkart/organization is in delivering the products at your door step. The above examples are only from two channels, but this trend is now been adopted by many other channels and the product companies are using this new form of advertising the products to their advantage.

There is no doubt that the audience would be seeing more and more active and passive product placement in the coming days. As for the advertisers it is easy and cheap way of getting the message across, for the audience it would be a bombardment of product advertisements within the programme and in-between the programmes. It is reported that an average super market 25 years ago consisted of around 9000 unique products, and today it has increased to 40,000 unique products. A customer entering the supermarket has to choose from these 40,000 unique products, but for sure he/she chooses certain products because as these products have been registered into our brains because of their active and passive placement in certain programmes that we watch time and time again. We consciously or subconsciously choose only those products. The advertising agencies and advertisers in a way are becoming more successful in reaching the audience, and at the same time satisfying the needs of the audience/customers.

About the author: The author, Dr. A. Nagraj is working as Assistant Professor in Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Tezpur University, Tezpur, Assam, India. [Read More]


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