Building Brand Recognition Through Product Displacement

I recently read an article, Brandcameo 101: How to Hide Your Movie’s Product Placement, about marketers “displacing”, or removing the brands obvious logos, in promotional movie images and trailers before the film is released. Though familiar with traditional product placement, I was hazy on product displacement; what could the benefit be to using this technique? I looked at several examples from well-known movies to further my understanding, and it be came increasingly clear that even when a logo is removed from a product, we are still wired to assess other visual cues to identify the brand. In a sense, product displacement strengthens brand recognition by forcing the consumer to recognize these subtle nuances instead of resting on the most prominent feature.

An example used in the Brandcameo article was the film Taken 2, specifically a scene depicting two Mercedes-Benz vehicles racing head-to-head. The same scene was used in promotional posters, but the iconic Mercedes logo had been digitally removed. The cars, however, were still instantly recognizable based on another brand component: the front grill design that is standard across all of the company’s vehicles. By removing focus from the three-pronged Mercedes-Benz mark, the viewer was tasked with piecing together other information offered by the car’s styles to arrive at recognition, perhaps cementing these details in their minds along the way. The technique works well when applied to such a well-defined brand, the visual consistency speaking to the consumer in a new way that remains identifiable.

Another great instance of use of alternative visual cues is in the movie Just Go With It. Brandcameo showcases a promo image from the movie showing a dining scene in which there is a bright blue soda can sitting on the table. Even without seeing the logo consumers are likely to be aware the soda is a Pepsi, based only on their classic color scheme. When used correctly, color can be a strong visual tool that drives brand recognition– consumers think of Pepsi when seeing bright cobalt blue and forge an immediate association between the brand and color.

There are countless tools used to drive brand recognition. When one of these tools is taken away, like a logo being removed or a brand name being changed, it forces the viewer to think differently about the brand in question. This is brand recognition at its core; strong brands are easily recognizable to the consumer for a myriad of reasons, and stay top of mind for that reason.

Post by Brittany Williams​

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