A visual interpretion of Katy Perry’s message to product-placement haters (Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images)
Even though product placement has become standard in music videos, Katy Perry recently felt the need to take to Twitter to defend it. After a Perry tweet last week that some in the media interpreted as criticism of product placement in Britney Spears’ new video for “Hold It Against Me,” Perry posted a five-part message on her Twitter page to defend the practice.
“Dear tabloid media aka FILTH: pls note I expressed an overall feeling about product placement, their roles in vids & the art of them being [complementary] or sticking out. Most, if not ALL popsters welcome deals w/products 2 offset costs of big budget vids in these recessional music industry times. I’VE used them in MY vids before & am happy 2b able 2 make a better vid because of. Once AGAIN, stop pitting artists against artist for ur sensational satisfaction & stick to what ur best @: lying, gossiping, exaggerating & overall lending a hand 2 the deterioration of a generation.”
In the eyes of product-placement specialist Adam Kluger, there’s nothing to debate. “Every artist needs to do product placement,” he tells Billboard. “It’s as simple as that.”
Kluger, who founded the Kluger Agency in 2007, works with over 60 brands, from Cadillac to Penthouse, to get their products into music videos (and song lyrics, too); he got the PlentyOfFish dating site into “Hold It Against Me.”
“I can guarantee that every artist gets the offers [for their videos],” he says. He should know. His agency has worked with such artists as Lady Gaga, T-Pain, Akon, Lil Wayne, and Flo Rida. “Ultimately, it’s the artist’s decision,” he says, “just like Katy said.”
In each case, Kluger says, the video needs to strike a balance. “There’s a difference between a creative product placement and an effective product placement. You have to combine both to make it work for both parties.” That was the case in 3OH!3’s video for “Double Vision,” a clever, real-life recreation of a website. Likewise, he says PlentyOfFish was a natural fit for Spears’ video. “I think it’s one of the more creative product placements ever,” he said (rather immodestly).
So how valuable are these product placements? Specific amounts vary from case to case, but Kluger estimates the money raised from brands can pay for anywhere from 20% to 100% of the cost of the video. That revenue can obviously be enormously helpful to labels and artists who rely on videos’ promotional value but need to be mindful of expenses.