Apple Heads, they’re everywhere. Whether it’s a couple getting married in an Apple store, or reporters lining up around the block to catch a glimpse of the company’s latest product, it’s undeniable that Apple has developed a cult following.
Companies from a variety of industries typically pay for the opportunity to build a fan base like this. They shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to place their products on hot new TV shows, blockbuster movies and the latest music videos to attract consumers. Ironically, Apple’s powerful grip on Hollywood has nothing to do with the benjamins it forks over; in fact the company refuses to pay one cent for product placement.
According to a piece by Peter Burrows and Andy Fixmer of Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple devices were discussed or shown 891 times on TV in 2011, up from 613 in 2009. And, how much money did it cost Apple? Zero dollars.
Now, that’s not to say Apple doesn’t view product placement as important – it actually modified its logo in the ’90s to make it more convenient for filmmakers. And, with fewer people watching TV ads than ever before – due largely in part to DVRs – Apple’s popularity among Hollywood heavyweights has become an invaluable asset. Where popular brands like BMW must arrange “barter deals” with filmmakers, agreeing to make a number of investments in exchange for placement in a movie, Apple appears in movies like Mission Impossible without making any such agreements.
Unlike other vendors, Apple also has been the inspiration for an entire episode of a popular TV show. Modern Family built an entire plotline around dad Phil Dunphy’s quest for the new iPad just two days before the first iPad hit stores. According to industry insiders, the episode was very unusual in part because “Modern Family executive producer, Steve Levitan, has on multiple occasions nixed eight-figure product placement deals that don’t feel true to the plot.”
So how does Apple do it? They build an excellent product that producers and executives love. But, while the company won’t pay to have their products featured, they aren’t getting off scot-free. Apple is reportedly more than willing to hand out an endless amount of computers, iPads and iPhones.
Nothing in life is totally free – not even for Apple.
A little bit about me: Mobile enthusiast, interested in how devices work and where the tech industry is headed. In my free time you will find me: YouTube watching, mobile shopping and eReading. If you need to reach me: Text. Anything worth saying can be said in less than 20 words.