Advertising is a way companies and brands share their products and services in a public media space with the purpose of increasing sales. There are many different mediums on which companies can advertise including magazines, newspapers, internet and TV. In television and movies, product placement and product integration may both be effective for increasing exposure for your small business or products.

Product Placement

Product placement is when you arrange for your company’s product or service to appear in a scene of a TV show or movie. For example, if your company makes cereal, product placement could be having your branded cereal box appear on a table while a family on a show is having breakfast. Or if your company is a cable installation company, an actor dressed as a technician in your company’s uniform could appear in a scene.

Product Integration

Product integration occurs when a company’s product or service is integrated into the dialogue of the show. For example, if you have a cereal company, your product wouldn't just appear on the table during breakfast, but would be favorably mentioned by name by a member of the family in the dialogue. In effect, it is a very brief commercial inserted into the script.


Traditionally the difference between product placement and product integration is that in product placement the products aren’t mentioned by name, while in product integration they are. However, according the NPR, the lines between product placement and product integration can be blurred depending on the prominence of the products in the show. For example, because "American Idol" judges routinely drink Coca-Cola on the show and Coke cans appear prominently displayed in front of the judges, the brand arguably is so much a part of the show that it exemplifies product integration even when not mentioned by name.

Role for Small Businesses

While many small businesses may not be able to afford product placement or integration in television sitcoms or movies, the basics of product placement and integration can be used in less expensive advertising mediums. Small businesses could look to online content producers who have audiences that reflect their target market. For example, if you create all-natural hair products, look to beauty bloggers and video bloggers, or vloggers, and come up with a product placement or product integration agreement with them. It is important that the placement and integration complies with FTC regulations however, in that the relationship between the endorser and seller must be disclosed to the public in the form of a disclaimer.