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Ask BENlabs | What does a character’s car say about them? Automotive Product Placement

What does Mr. T pulling up in a 1983 GMC Vandura say about his character on The A-Team? What does the Pontiac Aztek tell us about Brian Cranston’s Walter White character? What do we learn when Bumblebee transforms into a Camaro?

A vehicle says a lot about a character without saying a word

Without thinking about it, an audience draws a lot of conclusions about America Ferrara’s character in Barbie when she saves the day in a Chevy Blazer EV SS. The electric midsize SUV provides context for who the character is, what she cares about, and where she’s going.

And a character says a lot about a vehicle

In turn, the character, and Barbie as a whole, says a lot about the Blazer and about GM.

As BENlabs’ Director of Automotive Product Placement Kristen Rubi points out, the same story-driven vehicle placements that say so much about characters also let automotive marketers tell the story of their brand within the context of popular entertainment.

Automotive and entertainment share some similarities: both are aesthetic, both create art that integrates into our lives. Both shape, reflect, and reshape culture. Both carry nostalgia and history. 

When automotive marketers bring these two cultural juggernauts together in a story-driven collaboration, audiences walk away with a clear understanding of a brand’s story.

photo of audience for automotive product placement

A note about target audience for automotive placement

While a blockbuster franchise may have a massive reach, as Rubi points out, there’s no shortage of opportunity in niche audiences. Smaller productions and niche entertainment aren’t only less expensive, they can also pay dividends in brand loyalty.

BENlabs AI delivers deep audience intelligence to find the perfect film and TV opportunities for vehicle placement, and BENlabs deep production relationships bring it all to life on the big or small screen. 

Why should automotive marketers consider brand collabs? Ask BENlabs: Video Transcript

Entertainment is a really important space for automakers to be. First of all, auto and entertainment have a lot of similarities. They both make products that are art, that are culture, that are history, and it’s important for automakers to tap into that pop culture, to tell the story to their customers. 

Producers and content creators also know a vehicle is a very powerful way to say something about a character. The character shows up on screen driving a truck, that’s a specific person. If they show up driving a family vehicle, they show up driving an electric vehicle–all of those things say something about who that character is. 

So, storytellers really gain a lot from partnerships with automakers as well. That story driven approach is a really important one.  

And finally, through entertainment, automakers can reach large audiences through large projects, tentpole movies, things like that. They also can reach more discrete audiences through projects that are not as big but have maybe a niche following and a loyal following, so they can tell their story in different ways to different audiences.

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Don’t go it alone. Tap the BENlabs team and AI tools to make your next campaign smart, scalable, and successful. When you partner with BENlabs, our industry-leading AI will find the best opportunities to integrate your products and services into new and popular productions. Pairing 40+ years of experience and exclusive production relationships, we’ll help your brand more effectively connect with audiences who will love you most.

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