Product placement, also known as embedded marketing, is a marketing technique where references to specific brands or products are incorporated into another work, such as a film or television program, with specific promotional intent.
While references to brands (real or fictional) may be voluntarily incorporated into works to maintain a feeling of realism or be a subject of commentary, product placement is the deliberate incorporation of references to a brand or product in exchange for compensation. Product placements may range from unobtrusive appearances within an environment, to prominent integration and acknowledgement of the product within the work. Common categories of products used for placements include automobiles and consumer electronics. Works produced by vertically integrated companies (such as Sony) may use placements to promote their other divisions as a form of corporate synergy.
During the 21st century, the use of product placement on television has grown, particularly to combat the wider use of digital video recorders that can skip traditional commercial breaks, as well as to engage with younger demographics. Digital editing technology is also being used to tailor product placement to specific demographics or markets, and in some cases, add placements to works that did not originally have embedded advertising, or update existing placements.