What do, Reeces Pieces, Gordon’s Gin and Cadillac have in common?
Absolutely nothing except all three brands have been used in promotional product placements.
Product placement is a form of advertising where branded items are used in a visual medium as a natural part of the storyline. It’s not a new marketing tactic; Gordons Gin paid Katherine Hepburn to dump cases of their gin overboard in the African Queen, Spielberg incorporated Reeces Pieces in the movie ET and Cadillac was a central story line in several Seinfeld episodes. All three products paid to be added to the show, were seen by millions, reported increased sales and will enjoy lifetime residual exposure.
Does the concept sound familiar? Even in its simplest form, link building IS product placement. Links are brands; they’re visual, memorable and have huge residual value. When you leave your link on someone else’s website you’ve left behind an identifiable image that reinforces your product for the long term.
Given the constant nature of the Internet and the fact links are interactive, online product placements are even MORE valuable than their offline counter parts. Links provide an opportunity for transactional advertising in a way most offline marketing can’t. We get double duty out of them (triple if you count humans and search engines separately) when creative anchors are used and placed on the right websites.
A can of Coke in a movie is just that – a can. Seeing that can of Coke does little to stimulate further action on your part. But an interesting link? Click that and you start the ball rolling on a possible purchase, tweet or link!
The next time you’re link building, don’t just ask for space on a website, ask to pay for a promotional link placement. I’m betting the terminology opens doors and stimulates new link partnerships for your products.