Friend Friday: Product Placement


This week’s Friend Friday topic was inspired by the recent rescue of 33 Chilean Miners who were trapped underground for over two months.  Each was given a pair of Oakley sunglasses to protect their eyes as they adjusted to the light as they came to the surface.  Although the donation of the glasses was certainly a charitable act on Oakley’s part, it was also a way for the company to garner much positive publicity.   It was product placement at its best!

1. As we watched the Chilean Miners being rescued last week, there were many things to take note of – the amazing faith of these people, the joy of life, love and family, and – interestingly enough – product placement. As you watched the rescue efforts did you notice the products? What were your thoughts? I did notice the Oakley sunglasses, but only because prior to the rescue, the local media outlets made a point of talking about the glasses.


Image via

I certainly believe Oakley used the rescue as a marketing tool.  Why wouldn’t they?  They were participating in an event that was being watched worldwide and pulling the heartstrings of male and female alike.  It would have been a missed opportunity had the news of the donation not been in the media. I agree with these comments from The High Low:

Yes, in fairness, Oakley is being somewhat charitable here — but news of its eyewear donation was leaked to the media well before the actual rescue, and we’re willing to bet that leak was no accident. The worldwide media is riveted to Chile right now, offering an unprecedented amount of media attention — which means millions of eyes on the Oakleys these miners are wearing. And any positive association with this heart-warming event could certainly benefit a brand.

Nevertheless, the obvious marketing and product placement did not detract from the sheer joy and happiness of the remarkable rescue. Nothing could have done that.

2. Product placement is all around us today, what do you think makes it such a marketing gold mine? The key to any marketing strategy is getting your product out there. It doesn’t matter how great something is, if no one knows about it, no one will buy it. Product placement is an effective and easy way to create publicity for something. Media outlets, whether we are talking about movies, television, news, magazines or blogs, all have built in audiences.  Sex and the City 2, for example, was basically one big advertisement, and the products sold.  Isn’t it every companies dream to have a built in audience at their full disposal?

The excellent You Tube video below shows just how much product placement occurs in film:

3. On your blog, either now or in the future, what is/will be your stance on highlighting specific products? I haven’t really delved into product reviews on my blog yet. I have shared my personal experiences with some etsy shops and with Wendy Brandes Jewelry, but I did this of my own accord. They were pieces I purchased personally, and I decided to share the positive experiences I had with my readers.

I am not opposed to doing reviews in the future, and likely will, but I have some rules I have set for myself:

  • I will only review products that have some connection to fashion or photography.
  • Although I will accept a product or sample from a company for review consideration, I will only post a review about something if I would purchase it on my own.
  • I will only write honest, truthful, and fully-disclosed posts about the products I consider worthy of review.
  • I will not accept payment for reviews, and will only post one if I have something positive to say.

4. If the opportunity arose would you give a bad review of a product? As I stated above, I would not post a negative review on the blog. I would contact the company directly and share my feedback, but I would not share it on the blogosphere.  I don’t believe that type of negativity is necessary because it doesn’t fit with the content of this blog.


Image via off the mark

5. Do you view your blog as a product? Where have you or do you hope to place it? This blog is most certainly a product. In marketing terms, a product is defined as something that satisfies the needs, wants, and demands of certain individuals or markets. I think that all blogs, whether it is the intent of the author or not, are products because they are a type of good/service. You provide a service to your readers. In the future, I hope Beautifully Invisible becomes a brand synonymous with fashion editorial content and conversation. One day… far, far in the future!

Right now the blog is young, so I am focusing on reaching out to other bloggers and to the IFB Community. I am not reaching out to PR firms yet, although a few have reached out to me. All in good time – the sky is the limit!

What about you – how do you view product placement?

If you have a blog of your own, do you view it as a product? Why or why not?

To see what other bloggers are saying about this topic, click here.
For more info on ModlyChic’s Friend Friday series, click here.

{ 11 comments… add one }

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  • Heather Fonseca October 27, 2010, 12:43 AM

    Product placement is everywhere these days. I remember when it just started. Anyway, today I was out shopping and stopped in forever 21. Guess what. There whole advertizing campaign in the store is photos of 4 fashion bloggers and how they’re wearing the forever 21 line of clothing. Talk about product placement…

    • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:57 AM

      I saw that. All I can say is that I hope the participating bloggers aren’t being taken advantage of.

  • chantele cross-jones October 25, 2010, 12:30 AM

    Great answers, we match up pretty well I think.

    Daisy Dayz Home
    Cross-Jones-Photography Home

  • Veshoevius October 23, 2010, 5:11 PM

    Great answers and I agree that Oakely were pretty canny to this – also they actually have a product fit for purpose.
    I’m not sure why so many bloggers reviewing products are unwilling to give negative reviews of products (you are one of several I’ve come across). Most say they want to keep their blogs positive and that’s nice and understandable on the blogger’s part. I’m not really sure how the reviewing thing works if you are reviewing things sent to you as a blogger (do they oblige you to say something nice?) but I think companies are more resilient to criticism of their products than people think. I recall there were once print magazines that offered independent reviews for the benefit of consumers of products on the market and they never shied away from negative feedback. Companies could actually improve their products if they know what is not working and consumers can make an informed choice by reading independent and honest reviews, which include criticism. Most large companies have an R&D budget for product development and improvement so it’s not like they don’t expect that they may still have work to do.
    In terms of fashion blogs every blogger has to decide for themselves what sort of responsibility they are comfortable taking on. Perhaps bloggers feel uncomfortable because the products feel associated with a designer so a negative review feels like a personal slight, or they might fear losing a relationship with a company providing products for review but most design and beauty houses already have the advertising backed print magazines to do all the glossing over and promotion for them. In that case they are being paid to be nice about it but bloggers for the most part are not (I think it would be different if the blogger were paid or getting some other benefit).
    It would be nice if there was still an objective fearless voice to say things that are worth saying – like this item from Brand X fell apart after one wear, avoid!

    • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:28 AM

      You’ve brought up some wonderful questions here. I can only speak for myself, but the reason I chose to not post negative reviews here is simply because I would rather focus on other things. If the focus of my blog was product reviews, my answer might be different. As it stands, I chose to promote things because of my own positive experiences. If I buy or am given something I love – I want to share that. If I buy something or am given something I don’t, have a positive experience with, then I feel no need to share that with my readers since reviews are not my focus.

      I would not hesitate to alert a company directly regarding a negative experience with a product they had asked me to review. I think the feedback would be helpful to them, but it doesn’t have to be broadcast here. I will leave that to others. 🙂

  • Monique October 22, 2010, 5:56 PM

    I also noticed the Oakley’s because they had been in the media. I don’t really find anything wrong with their tactics. I actually thought it was quite smart on their part. They did help out and well… its helping them too. As for me I would promote any product I personally love. On my blog I have in the past, promoted body scrubs, lipsticks, handbags, cookies, even a Colgate travel toothbrush! But I only did it because I truly believed in the product. I did it because I wanted to inform my readers of products they either have not tried or have not heard of. But I DO agree with you about the no negativity. I like my blog to be a happy place too!

    • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:20 AM

      I think Oakley made a very shrewd business decision in alerting the media. The positive publicity they garnered from this can only help them, not hurt them.

      I agree – if I like a product, I see no harm in sharing that with my readers.

  • Bere Parra October 22, 2010, 5:00 PM

    Again, a most gripping post on a relevant topic. I heard all about the miners’ rescue in Chile, of course, but I didn’t watch it (I haven’t watched a lot of TV in the past 2-3 months) so I didn’t notice the product placement performed by Oakley. I think that most companies – sadly – will take advantage of any situation, even a potentially tragic one, to place their products: it’s free publicity! I’ve also seen this happen in movies for a loooong time now (“The Women”, that movie starring Meg Ryan and Anette Benning, is obviously sponsored by Dove). I think that it’s OK as long as it’s not too evident because that demeans the value of the situation/movie/blog. There’s always the ethical limit and nobody should push it. It happens though, mainly because most people lack an ‘ethical’ compass. We should all have a pre-established list of conditions – like yours, which I think is great – in which it’s correct for us to allow product placement, and the manners in which we are willing to place our brand (such as our blogs or our businesses). I find that many commenters who are also bloggers will just type a random comment such as “cool blog”, only to link to their own blogs afterwards. That is BAD product placement, the equivalent of a cheap TV show in which everything on set has a bright red tag of “insert store name/brand” stuck on its surface. Sorry for the long comment btw :D…

    • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:15 AM

      Please don’t apologize for any long comments – I LOVE them! LOL I need to apologize for taking so long to respond (as I have mentioned – things have been hectic!).

      You are correct that product placement has become a huge part of media, be it print, TV/film/radio, or internet. It is everywhere. I also agree that it’s OK as long as it doesn’t become the focus of the medium. At times it is so blatant that it is laughable.

      And I of course agree re: the blog comments. I often wonder if those are just inexperienced and young bloggers who don’t know any better… I’d like to think they will learn their lesson!