Many entrepreneurs with a product to sell have fantasized about seeing it featured in a popular movie, TV show, or even a viral social media post. Not only is it a major milestone to see your product on the screen, but it can also influence consumer buying decisions.
Alexander Mendeluk, Chase Hamilton, Ashley Haber and Marley Marotta are the founders of SpiritHoods, a collection of animal-inspired funky fur headpieces. They have seen their product worn by celebs like rapper Snoop Dogg and rocker Pete Wentz. SpiritHoods have also been featured on Late Night With Conan O’Brien and Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
The company’s product placement efforts haven’t cost the founders much more than their time and a few freebies. Mendeluk said they have leveraged the company’s Los Angeles location by reaching out to everyone they know to try to get the product in celebrities’ hands. They also send them as gifts to celebrities.
Similarly, small businesses using social media marketing reach out to influencers for partnerships that promote their products to millions of followers. But that’s just half the battle. Celebs and influencers have to actually like the product for it to have any impact on the business. They’re also more likely to engage with brands that have a story behind what they’re doing, according to Mendeluk.
“The philanthropic side to a company is extremely important,” he told Business News Daily. “Celebrities are drawn to that because they are active in different causes.”
Eric Fleet, founder and CEO of sustainable fashion company Threads for Thought, agrees that a good backstory can help land your products in front of the camera. Threads for Thought’s products, especially its graphic T-shirts, have been popular with celebs and stylists since the company’s inception.
The shirts have been featured on 90210, How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Recreation, and The Walking Dead. Yet Threads for Thought has done nothing to promote the products, Fleet said. Stylists bought them all at retail.
Fleet thinks that the stylists are inspired by the company’s story – that it creates products using sustainable business practices and helps its suppliers work toward greener and cleaner goals.
“Some of them know about the social aspect of the company,” he said. “Stylists who shop all the time like our story and want to support it.”
But Fleet knows that the story is only as good as the products. Without a great product, his company wouldn’t get noticed, no matter how great its business practices.
“You have to put the fashion first,” he told Business News Daily. “Your message alone is going to sell your product.”
It’s important to have both an effective product and a story behind it to get customers engaged and willing to invest in your company.
Fleet’s not the only one who knows that having a great product is the real key to getting it placed in movies and on TV. Sarah Shaw learned that lesson firsthand. The former handbag designer’s own product lines hit pay dirt when one of her handbags was featured in the movie Legally Blonde.
Shaw’s product not only made it into the movie, but was also used in the promotional poster. Before she knew it, Shaw’s purse was carried by retailers, including Nordstrom, which promoted it with a copy of the movie poster as a free gift.
For Shaw, the placement was a big deal, even though she had worked in the movie industry before. Today, as the owner of the small business consulting firm Entreprenette, she offers a free product-placement service to any small business owners who want to sign up. The service, Instantly Famous, feeds product-placement requests from showbiz types to the regular folks who are struggling to break down Hollywood’s door.
Shaw offered Business News Daily readers some tips on how to handle product placement on their own: