[Interview] product Placements in films (Olivier Bouthillier – DG Brands and Movies)

The movies have become today one of the most attractive for brands to advertise. So how does it work ? And how much it’s worth ? This is what we have tried to find out. To answer these questions, the Blog Of The Film has met with Olivier Bouthillier, managing director of Brands & Films, a agency product placement for the film.

Mr. Bouthillier, how long do you do product placement ?

I have been doing product placement since 1994. I founded Brands & Films in 1994, this is how I started.

Today at what stage is the evolution of this market ?

The product placement is a market out there for more than 100 years. Today, I would say that it is in full maturity and in a increasing phase. The brands want to communicate differently, they search for content and emotion. They reject more traditional advertising deemed lascivious and above all without effect on the consumer. For example when you watch a movie on tv, and it comes a page of advertising that is-what are you doing ? This kind of advertising today no longer has any impact on the viewers. Advertisers are looking for content and emotion, we are in the reflection of life, we can not zap it because it is an integral part of the film. It is associated with stars recognized in the world.

Plus, the movies have very long lifetimes since they released the first cinema, then on DVD, on pay channels and on channels free. All of these elements mean that brands have such an importance in life that playwrights, when they write a story, write the marks in their scenario.

What kind of films the brands use for product placement and how important are their products to the cinema?

Today the brands are interested in any type of films, it all depends on the universe of the brand, its territory of communication. This also depends on the role that is given to this brand within the film. We can have a film dark, dramatic, in which a product would have a particular importance and despite the dark and difficult film, some brands may choose to place their product in it because her role is a must. At the same time it can be a huge comedy, funny, powerful, hyper media in which a product would have quite an important role but in a situation shaky, doubtful, with a comical ” limit “, in the margins of the universe of communication of its brand. And even if this comedy is very media, we may encounter difficulties bringing a mark in this film. The marks do not like that the laughs of their products or they are used to dubious ends, the marketing managers often have no humour with it, or they do not want to take risks.


The blockbusters have a lot of anticipation, for Audi and Marvel/Disney in the context of Iron Man 3 for example, it is global partnerships, which demand months of negotiations. Because the brand in question gives the credit to the film, and that the latter serves as a means of awareness, communication at the heart of a cultural event.

To sum up, I’m going to take a Steven Spielberg movie, Minority Report in which there were the presences of brands as important as Tom Cruise himself, because they were playing a real role in the film. Moreover, when discussing with the production, it is known that they did not need money to finance the film, being financed at the international pre-sales. It is a question of will of S. Spielberg to have well-known brands of all, used by all so as to give realism to the universe in the future presented. The spectators will say that this future is real, because there is in it of codes of consumption which their belong. The purpose of the product placement in this film is not for Spielberg to make revenue, but to create a future world matérialisable and real.

The product placement is a market out there for more than 100 years.

Are there any brands that put their products in a genre of film in particular ?

First of all it depends on the text but actually in the vast majority of brands are looking to the cinema of the universe that are specific to them. It is their universe of communication, I give an example : a bank will come more easily on a film where we talk about businesses, families and not on an espionage film, of a hold-up where there are car chases, each universe of a trademark must be respected. However, we are not immune to a very good surprise when a brand despite the fact that the film does not correspond to the universe accepts, however, our proposal, because the appearance of its product in the film is a must.

What are your greatest collaborations in the history of Brands & Films ?

There are a lot. It can be very powerful as Peugeot and Taxi which is a synonym of recurrence (four episodes), fame, exposure for the brand, because the film is sold in Europe, in all Asia and it switches back to the tv.

After that may be more iconic, I’m delighted for example to have made The Fabulous destiny of Amelie Poulain with the lollipops Pierrot Gourmand because it is a cult film. I am also delighted to have been The Truth if I am lying 3 putting into it MonShowRoom.com in spite of the refusal to the departure of the authors who wanted to stay on a name invented and we managed to make them change their opinion by telling them that he needed a site not necessarily known, but which corresponded completely to the aberration rather than invent a world that does not exist. I am delighted to have been Jappeloup by providing the presence of a trademark that did not exist at the time (Equidia) by this that there is a real logic and we went a little further than reality, but the two parties that is to say, the film and the brand has accepted to collaborate because there was a crossroads of interest in terms of narrative, universe, and brand.

How does the product placement ?

The product placement is to propose to the director the scenes of the brands according to his scenario, what it requires and what it specifies, it can be very sharp or under-heard. We are working from the scenario, we read all the texts, it makes proposals to the director, who accepts or refuses, the staging features of our proposals. We create the agreement with the brand, the filming takes place, the brand is so shot, then spends a period of several months where the film is in the editing phase. During this period, the film is mounted only in the interest of it to be successful and not in the interest of presenting the brand. We can therefore end up in situations where the sequence with the mark is cut. In this case, the agreement is null and void, therefore, there is no billing and hence no revenue. The recipe of the product placement is thus always hypothetical in anticipation of the film’s editing.

For the director and the producer, there is only a single interest premium it is to make a film successful. I don’t know of any production company whatever its size, which prioritizes the placement agreement product rather than the movie. We can remove a sequence in which there is a very important agreement for the sole reason that the director thinks that it is better without than with. It is the fact that we prefer the fiction that is the strength of an agency like ours.

Some agencies sell quantity, we sell the quality with the producers. Anyway, the current legislation gives those rights to the author, we can’t impose to film a brand.

What are the terms of a contract for the product placement ?

This is a contract of partnership classic on which it specifies in advance the film, the sequence in which the product is going to appear, his role (used, quoted, if it is several times…). Then we wait for the final result and at this time, we see if he stays or not. It has roughly 30% of agreements that do not succeed.

Why brands use now the movie for product placement ?

The brands who are doing product placement now consider that the audiovisual media (cinema, tv, clips, etc.) is a reflection of life, a universe of emotion. Today all the brands have increasingly abandoned the pages of the pubs, the press, the pubs, on tv, on the radio, to go in search of content of emotions, it is pending on the desires of the brands, the brands pay for it and are waiting for a recipe possible from the moment the agreement is respected so charged.

The brands pay them all to get to the cinema a means of communication ?

No, there are brands who in life have a predominant position and it is normal to find them in the same way at the cinema. Apple, Coca-Cola, Nike, Adidas and many others are brands that are so powerful and essential in our daily lives that often the directors make the choice to show these marks, but they have never paid to appear in a film. Today, there are many films in which one sees Apple products, but it is a reflection of our current society. Apple is dominant on the market and this dominance appears in movies but she is free, that is to say that it is the directors who make the choice to use these products.

Today Samsung is a brand that has a position almost equivalent to the market high-tech to Apple. And Samsung has put in place a communication strategy which is to go to the cinema but the brand pays for that the directors do appear in the film, unlike Apple. What Nokia had in place for 10 years but they have now disappeared from the image.

Y a-t-he of competition in the product placement ?

Today Brands & Films is the indispensable leader and incontourné of product placement in the cinema. We work with 50% of French films at the cinema and for tv we have 70% market share.

Is it possible that a brand that has placed a product in a film is found to obtain the reverse effect of what she expected ?

The marks, when they place their products are carefully thought out and the placement agency of product to be controlled the appearance of the product in the film, so that it can not be found in the opposite effect. When you place a product in a movie, it ensures that the universe is controlled and this excludes the possibility of a contrary effect.

However, a brand may find itself in a situation with a film for which it has not asked for anything and realize that the universe in which its product is filmed does not correspond to its current policy. I take an example : when Fabien Onteniente is Camping, there are Ricard city and consumed it several times ; it is clear that there is no financial agreement, as first prohibited by law, and that the proposed placement does not correspond to the image that Ricard is trying to convey in this moment. Ricard tries to adopt codes of “premium” in terms of communication and their brand is found associated with characters aging rather popular which is not wrong in relation to the face of the consumer. But this is not what this brand uses in terms of the advertising codes. The film was a hit but somehow it keeps the brand in an image to the past that tries this through advertising campaigns to leave.

Website : marquesetfilms.com

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