Product placement or embedded marketing is a form of advertisement where branded goods goods or services are placed in a context usually devoid of ads, such as movies, the story line of television shows, or news programs. The product placement is often not disclosed at the time that the good or service is featured. Product placement became common in the 1980s. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_placement]. Take my picture above of my dear friend, the intention of this shot was to take a picture of her to remember her by before she moved away but in the processes I captured the Coca-Cola bottle she was drinking as well which was on the table behind her. Though blurred out, clearly not the subject of the photograph, you can still make out that it is a bottle of coke. So as you peruse my work above you might be thinking a nice cold drink would be nice...maybe even a coke? That is how product placement works! The debate about the rights and wrongs of product placement are without our sphere of discussion today and I neither support nor refute its usage in a commercial setting.
There is a type of product placement that is called ‘self promotion’ [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_placement], which entails one advertising / selling one’s self in a socio-economic setting. I was considering this practice of product placement in relation to everyday life and our interaction with one another. People naturally use the method of ‘self promotion’ in settings that are unfamiliar, in the work environment or anywhere there is a sense of ‘needing to impress’ or gain a good opinion’. Parents do this with their children when they boast of their achievements to friends and strangers. People do this upon introduction to strangers especially in a romantic or business setting. I made a new contact recently and when asked what I do, I don’t think I stopped talking for 15 minutes! Evaluating the conversation later that night I had to ask myself, do I just do a lot of different things that were necessary to share in response to a polite enquiry (which was probably not even a genuine interest)? Or was I just going through the motions of self promotion and positioning myself for whatever contacts may be derived from this individual talking about me and all I do to a third party?
My conclusion in the evaluation process was this; if indeed the former is true, maybe I should review my workload to make sure I’m not biting off more than I can chew. If however the latter was true, I really need to work on and recognize when to use my elevator pitch! An elevator pitch is an entrepreneur's one-minute explanation of his/her business model, often heard in an elevator and directed at anyone who might want to provide funding[or professional connections] for the entrepreneur's startup. [http://www.investorwords.com/1684/elevator_pitch.html].I realised that I had not specific intention when sharing what I do beyond listing everything I could think of. A completely pointless exercise because in reality people are not really that interested in other people or what they do unless there is a benefit to them. With that in mind I had a brain wave, ‘Be quick to listen and slow to speak’ [James 1:19] – This is indeed a principle for all of life! You see, had I spent more time listening to who they are, what they are about and what their interests are, when it was my turn to speak, rather than state everything I do (at the risk of boring them to death!) I could have correctly placed the ‘product’ (that is the things I do that would be of interest to them) I have into a concise yet effective elevator pitch. This can be a highly effective approach, if correctly utilised in all areas of professional as well as social interaction. The key is to be deliberate in what and how you present yourself in your socio-economic discourses. Always ensuring that your audience is captured, your information current, relevant and understandable (not technical jargon) and that you allow them the freedom to speak first whilst you listen intently.