The growth of product placements in movies has been outstanding in the last 10 years. With growth rates doubling year upon year in the form of revenues, it is a multi-billion dollar industry that helps brands get in touch with specific target demographics. Brand integration and product placement are firmly established marketing tactics that are used by at least 89% of Fortune 100 companies. Year 2020 be remembered first by global pandemic. All business segments have stagnated. All you could read in the media was the new Covid world wide situation. cancelled Cancelled flight, events, bad economic trend … this was all you are reading these days. New beginning is a chance for a fresh start, these are the words our interlocutor Morana Petričević starts this interview. Petričević, founder of many projects in Croatia, after 15 years of international wine career in management and marketing she has recently became part of Sphots team.
Few months back you mentioned that you are working on a global project in the movie industry. At that time you only gave me a small hint, a name Sphots and that we will be hearing about it in very near future.
Yes, it was during lockdown. My collaboration with Sphots came very spontaneously. I got an inquiry from CEO of Sphots, Nadiya Bezhnar who was forming a team. Inquiry was more directed towards my collaboration with Vantguard group from Spain where I was listed as contact for this part of Europe. After a few emails exchange and one zoom meeting, she scheduled one more meeting together with her international partner. My ex boyfriend is European movie director so I have quite a widequite wide knowledge of the industry. This and other business aspects have made it easy for us to want to collaborate more widely. In a week her HR team contacted me and signed a contract.
What is Sphots and who is behind the name ?
Sphots is a company established beginning of the year. It's main focus is virtual product placement (VPP) in international movies. It's CEO Nadiya Bezhnar has wide knowledge in marketing and IT. Till this day SPHOTS has signed multi contracts with companies from the whole world from the movie production and distribution sector. Traditional product placement is a quite well known marketing tool that global brands have been using for years not only in movies but also in other forms of visual content. SPHOTS offers a new way of the process that is more accessible and affordable for the smaller brands. Our business model allows brands to feature the products for a price that can be compared to a printed leaflets campaign, or a paid ad campaign in a magazine. But with SPHOTS, Your Brand gains long-term wide exposure either locally, or on the targeted territories in the international movie that will be circulated for numerous years. With virtual product placement, we eliminate traditional logistical hustle. Our top-level VFX and CGI team recreate your brand look and message it seamlessly into the film. It is affordable, simple, prestigious, targeted.
How does VPP works ?
VFX technology allows a product to be „drawn“ into the scenes and showcased on selected territory of the film distribution. Take for instance Croatian coffee brand, Franck. If your main market is Croatia then it is logical to choose for your brand to be shown only locally. But if you plan to expand ( export or franchise ) to let's say Germany and would like to increase consumer perception on that market, you can buy a spot for that market as well, without paying for the rest of the world like in traditional product placement. To be very brief VPP offers for your brand to be in an international movie that will be shown on your local/target market, and where we will see a Lead Character drinking let's say Franck coffee while in England he will enjoy Starbucks.
Why choose to pay for virtual product placement and what are theirs advantages ?
There is one simple goal - that moviegoers (or movieViewers) will see the product in the movie, remember it, and then choose to purchase it. The prospective consumer is positively influenced by the brand, without overtly noticing the advertising of that brand. Product placement is a long-term marketing tool, which can be an alternative to traditional advertising in print or “TV”. It also can work as a good supplement to digital marketing tools, some of which are short-term and can easily be blocked, skipped, or clicked by the wrong audience. VPP is much more effective because of the ability to direct the relevant marketing message (or show interaction), to the selected audience group on the right territory.Statistics on existing product placement cases show about a 20% increase in brand. Higher brand recognition will benefit business to immediate and/or long-run sales. It's not one-time exposure. As long as the movie is circulated, viewers will be interacting with the brands in it. It's a long-term reach that traditional marketing and advertising doesn't provide. During whole process of production the client will be given all the updates that can be used for marketing purposes. Average price for VPP for Croatian market is about 1000 USD.
How to measure the ROI ( Return on investment ) from Virtual Product Placement?
If you compare product placement with other forms of advertising, you should always take all parameters and dimensions into account. But there is no accurate approach and calculations can be misleading at the end. That's why it is advisable to consider product placement as a complementary component of the marketing mix and not directly compareing it with traditional marketing activities. Before the movie is distributed it's difficult to give an accurate number of TMV (Total Media Value), a traditional impression-based metric. With our distribution agreements the movie will be broadcasted at least on one of the public (Free TV) channels on the target territory. That varies in different countries which in many cases can cover about 50% of the TV audience. Though, the real number of viewers can be extensively higher due to the multiple runs on different platforms (we will aim for the widest possible distribution).
In how many countries does SPHOTS offers it's services, why form a company now and what is your role in company?
Sphots operates in 60 countries worldwide. It is global team of professionals that helps local brands to do targeted placement of their products in international movies. I am in charge of Croatian market but also working on global develpment strategy with Nadiya. Why form company now … it sounds very brave. But as I say, this is a new chance for a fresh start. It is always easier to except positive changes rather thaen to adjust to uncertain new reality. I have learned during last few years we need to approach constructively always looking good that can be achieved from it. Yes there were a lot's of tears, anger, shocks but there is not point in feeling bad about what we had. We had it good. Maybe even too good, ignoring simple life values. We got a chance to slow down, think about many things and move forward. Now is a time to give maximum. We are here to help with reconstruction of businesses, to help local brands accomplish leading positions on their markets. We are giving opportunity for some local sparkling wine producer from Plešivica to be in an international movie for affordable rate instead of the global Champagne brand. I would say this is a very smart marketing approach for any Croatian brand. In a year of science and technologytechology, with all the changes around us, marketing and it's investment in it needs to be significantly different.
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