Product Placement. Anybody know anything about the legal ramifications over Product Placement???
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Product Placement is, essentially, advertising. Companies pay a studio to have their product used in a film. Typically the film must be high profile. For example car companies fight to get James Bond to drive one of their cars in his latest adventure.
ok. I am talking about my web series. Would I get in trouble if I had a bottle of RC in a scene without their permission???
I've been in product placement for 12 years and rarely if ever do companies pay a studio for product placement for cars to be seen in a film. Its usually a trade off for a promotional campaign when you're talking a James Bond type of placement. Usually product placement occurs when a brand wants to get their name or product in front of the same audience as the production is reaching. They usually provide free product for best efforts usage. If there is a big name or a distribution plan in place, the right brand may pay an integration fee as well as provide free product once the film is released and the deliverables are confirmed. To answer your clearance question - its usually best to provide a signed clearance form for any brands, especially logos seen in a film or project. However, if the brand is being used in a way that the manufacturer intended it to be used, and if it isn't being seen in a negative light, a clearance agreement is not legally mandated.
So if I had a dinner scene and somebody is seen drinking an RC or Coke I do not need permission from RC or Coke to do that??
Not really as long as that person isn't a murderer or addict of some sort. As long as the scene isn't against RC or Coke's brand messaging. If there's any question as to the usage of the product based on the story line or characters, its best to get a clearance agreement signed, though.
OK Thank you. If anything the product would always be seen in a positive light.
That should be fine, then. Without reading the script or the scene, its hard to tell, but your description of "seen in a positive light" is a good rule to follow in defining when a Clearance Agreement is legally needed. Other things to think about would be if the character is a positive character (not a mass murderer) is the coke being mixed with alcohol by an alcoholic or underaged drinking, or in the foreground while a crime is being committed? In those situations don't use real brand labels.
Here is a link to the scene http://valiantvisions.com/simply_me.html
I looked at the scene, and my opinion is that you should seek clearance for the Barq's only because the label is so obviously seen. Its a Coca Cola item and can be sent to Ward Larsen at Premier Entertainment for clearance. I'm pretty sure the other soda is Sierra Mist, which is a Pepsi item and can be cleared by Davie Brown, their product placement agency. It shouldn't be a problem because the product is used in a very positive light.
Thank you VERY much. That was VERY helpful. I appreciate it. I assume I should send him the link to the scene?
You can. I forgot to mention that Coke doesn't sign placement agreements, but rather will send you an email allowing its products usage. Please feel free to use my name when reaching out to Ward. Please let me know at email@example.com if you need his email information.