Does product placement make good PR?

Securing TV exposure for your products during prime time viewing without having to go down the expensive route of advertising can only ever be a good thing, right? The idea, in theory is a great one; researchers working on the latest home makeover show give your marketing department a call asking if you would be willing to donate your latest all-singing, all-dancing shower to the programme because it really fits the design brief. In return, your product will be seen by potentially thousands if not millions of people who regularly tune into the show.
All sounds good so far, so what’s the catch? The downside to all this positivity is that the majority of TV programmes have policies in place to prevent brand names from being mentioned, at least within the main show itself. The BBC are particular sticklers for this, understandably given that it is a strictly ad-free channel, while other channels also have strict policies on product placement that must be adhered to. Despite this though, companies virtually line-up to offer their products, time and expertise to the plethora of home makeover shows that grace our TV screens of a weeknight.
That’s because there is still a lot to be gained in terms of ‘good PR’ for your brand, despite not receiving much of an on-screen plug for the products themselves. The biggest pro of unpaid-for product placement has to be the reputation-building affect and the general feel good factor that donating products to a worthy cause can result in. That’s what makes brands and firms turn out in their droves in support of programmes such as the BBC’s DIY SOS where the feeling of simply doing a good deed and creating a good impression of your business among peers and employees should be reason enough for getting involved.
It’s also well worth remembering that one of the main reasons researchers have sought your product out in the first place is that it will make a real and genuine difference to the makeover and isn’t available from your competitors. This means it likely to be noticed by viewers anywhere making whether the brand name is mentioned or not largely irrelevant as consumers will seek you out regardless.
Another big plus point of securing TV exposure for your products though is the amount of post-show PR that can be garnered from it. Okay, so your products may only enjoy a brief moment of TV glory, but once the programme has been aired there’s nothing stopping you shouting about your involvement. Post a story on your website, issue a press release to the local and trade media and, above all else, enjoy your time in the limelight, albeit retrospectively. After all, any publicity is good publicity, right?