In an age of media proliferation, product placement in music videos continues to be a popular method of advertising for brands who can afford the price tag.

Unlike advertising by conventional means, product placement in music videos are an attempt to ‘subliminally’ influence consumers through popular culture.

Doting fans will often make conscious lifestyle choices and purchasing decisions according to what brands their favourite musicians associate with.

For advertisers that study the demographics of artist fanbases, product placement in the music industry has become a powerful way to manage brand perceptions.

In this post, I’ll explore a number of examples of product placement in the music industry, spanning from the mid-eighties up to the present day.

DJ KHALED (BELAIRE, KANDYPENS, BUMBU, CIROC, FASHION NOVA, D&G)

We start with arguably the most conspicuous product placements in recent years – and it comes from none other than the music marketing mogul that is DJ Khaled. This music video for ‘No Brainer’, which features Justin Bieber, is basically one long advert for not one, not two, three, four or five, but six brands.

SUBTLETY RATING: 0/10


POST MALONE (ROLLS ROYCE + MERCEDES-BENZ)

When Post Malone entered the scene in 2015 with his debut single ‘White Iverson’, he released a video alongside the track that featured a Rolls-Royce from the opening few frames. Throughout the video, the white Rolls-Royce can be seen drifting on dry plains, with some frames shot alongside a Mercedes-Benz.

SUBTLETY RATING: 3/10


DRAKE (NIKE)

In his music video for ‘Headlines’, the first few scenes show us Drake wearing a Nike Hoodie and a pair of Nike gloves. In these frames, the Nike logo appears to be a focal point as the dark garments contrast with the white swoosh, making the logo pretty hard not to notice.

SUBTLETY RATING: 4/10


JUSTIN BIEBER (CALVIN KLEIN)

Calvin Klein’s marketing relationship with Justin Bieber isn’t exactly a secret. Besides featuring as an underwear model in recent ad campaigns, it looks as though the deal included promotion in music videos too. In his video for ‘What Do You Mean’, the camera focuses in on Bieber’s boxers as he gets cosy with his female counterpart.

SUBTLETY RATING: 5/10


AVICII (SONY)

In his video for ‘Wake Me Up’, the late Swedish DJ Avicii is seen playing a concert in front of thousands of fans. From 2:56, one of the fans can be seen pulling a Sony Xperia out of her pocket and taking a photograph, with the glimmering Nokia logo clearly visible throughout the frames.

SUBTLETY RATING: 6/10


MILEY CYRUS (BEATS BY DR. DRE + EOS LIP BALM)

In her 2013 single ‘We Can’t Stop’, American idol and Disney protégé Miley Cyrus can be seen starting the video by turning the volume up on a Beats Pill, shortly followed by a scene of Miley applying EOS lip balm before proceeding to do what she’s become known for in recent years: being incredibly weird.

SUBTLETY RATING: 3/10


KE$HA (PLENTY OF FISH, REVOLUCION, & BABY-G)

In Ke$ha’s 2010 music video ‘We R Who We R’, two women can be seen DJing in front of a crowd whilst simultaneously using the dating website ‘Plenty Of Fish’ (because that’s what all DJs do). The following scenes feature multiple frames of people pouring Revolucion tequila and one very blatant frame shortly after promoting Baby-G watches.

SUBTLETY RATING: 0/10


DUKE DUMONT (PUMA)

As far as product placements in music videos are concerned, this example is pretty subtle. In the music video for ‘The Giver’, released by Duke Dumont in 2015, the camera momentarily pans in on a puma trainer at 2:47 for less than a second – it’s still enough to be noticeable (but subtle enough to get away with!).

SUBTLETY RATING: 8/10


NIRVANA (CONVERSE)

Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is one of the earlier examples of product placement in music videos. In the opening few frames, the camera moves alongside a member of the crowd, who is wearing converse shoes. Despite featuring a product from the start, this is a very subtle placement compared to others. Nicely done.

SUBTLETY RATING: 9/10


JENNIFER LOPEZ (BLACKBERRY, FIAT, PLANET LOVE MATCH, TOUS, CROWN ROYAL)

Another shameless multi-product placement – and this time, it’s Jennifer Lopez in her music video for ‘Papi’. The video starts off with J-Lo brandishing her shiny Blackberry before frantically trying to escape the hoards of men chasing after her (OK, J-Lo). During her plight to escape, J-Lo hastily walks past TOUS jewellers, paces past a man holding a bottle of Crown Royal whisky, passes another man using Planet Love Match on his laptop before jumping into a Fiat 500. Smooth.

SUBTLETY RATING: 0/10


DAVID GUETTA (RENAULT)

I don’t think anybody would disagree that David Guetta’s music video for ‘The Alphabeat’ really is just an elongated advert for the Renault Twizy electric car. The video begins with Guetta getting out of the car and hooking it up to a charging station next to a row of Renault Twizy’s. He then proceeds to play a concert which appears to generate electric to charge the cars below.

SUBTLETY RATING: 0/10


RUN DMC (ADIDAS)

Another early example of product placement in music is from eighties hip-hop group Run-DMC. In their video for ‘Walk This Way’ the pair are seen sporting identical Adidas trainers as they do their thing on stage.

SUBTLETY RATING: 10/10


PSY (MERCEDES-BENZ)

It’s hard not to remember the song that broke the internet in 2012 from Korean pop star PSY. During the amusing video with what can only be described as ‘cocktail of drugs dad dancing’, PSY is seen prancing around a very, very shiny red Mercedes-Benz in more than a few scenes. With 3.3 billion views, it’s one of the most viewed YouTube videos of all time.

SUBTLETY RATING: 6/10


LIL PUMP (GUCCI)

It’s not often that the brand is literally found in the name of a song – and Lil Pump’s hit single ‘Gucci Gang’ is probably the most blatant example of product placement in music videos in recent years. Besides being in the title, the word ‘Gucci Gang’ is uttered a total of six times during the chorus. And if that’s not enough, Lil Pump is also sporting a Gucci belt.

SUBTLETY RATING: 0/10


 

Do you know of any other notable examples of product placement in music videos? Leave us a comment and let us know!