Media Lifeline: Film product placement

DHL is providing planes and logistics for Mission Impossible III.

1965: The Bond film producer, Cubby Broccoli, strikes a deal with Henry Ford for the Ford Mustang Convertible to feature in Thunderball. In all likelihood, a similar agreement had already led to the Aston Martin DB5 gaining iconic status as the ultimate Bondmobile.

1979: The practice begins to become formalised with the launch of specialist agencies in the US such as Norm Marshall and Associates in 1979 and, later, Davie Brown Entertainment, now an Omnicom-owned operation. The Hollywood studios also begin taking a more structured and sophisticated approach.

1982: Product placement takes a huge leap forward as a marketing technique with the integration of a Hershey product, Reese's Pieces, into the plotline of ET. The original script had ET addicted to M&Ms, but Mars refused even to open negotiations on a possible tie-up. Sales of Reese's Pieces triple in the week after the film's premiere.

1997: A Bond film breaks new ground again with the first truly integrated marketing partnership, as Ericsson products are featured in Tomorrow Never Dies. Instead of paying a simple upfront fee, Ericsson enters into a joint marketing agreement. In a $40 million-plus global ad campaign - the tagline of which is "Ericsson made: Bond approved" - the film and Ericsson products are jointly promoted.

2006: DHL takes placement to the next level when it partners with Paramount Pictures on Mission Impossible III. DHL is a marketing partner on a global ad campaign, and also works as the producer's official logistics partner, providing delivery of movie sets and charter flights.

Fast forward ...

2009: Ad avoidance and advertiser-funded content have been top of the agenda now for several years and producer relationships have been growing in sophistication. Now, major multinational advertisers begin taking stakes in the world's major content-creators, including film studios and television companies.