Movie star cars: How much is product placement worth to makers?

“Manufacturers will do some pre-release awareness-raising – whether print media, online, digital or heavily targeted towards the customer database – for three weeks before the movie release and several weeks afterwards.

“This often goes through a specialist agency like ours. We get the scripts, then go to clients and explain the opportunity. Manufacturers and production companies will sometimes deal directly, though.”

They consider the character, synopsis, target audience and release territories but ensure it avoids pitfalls like association with drink-driving.

“It’s in the film’s interest to ensure manufacturers exploit it as much as possible across all platforms,” adds Kellaway.

Consider, he says, the global communication might of the likes of BMW: promote the car, promote the movie.

Freelance ‘action vehicle co-ordinators’ (there are maybe a dozen of them in the UK) know the agencies and manufacturers and understand the detail of relevant car and placement.

One win arising from Kellaway’s deep understanding is Renault placing a car in the recent Netflix series Bodies. The car featured was the Scenic Vision, which at the time of production technically didn’t exist yet – but that didn’t get in the way.

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