You wouldn’t be wrong if you’ve noticed more MillerCoors beers popping up in your favorite films and programs.
Yes, those were bottles of Miller High Life featured in a scene in Hulu’s “The Act.” Those were Coors Light bottles starring in a hot tub scene in “Wrecked.” That was Peroni hanging out on the couch with Jack on the “Will & Grace” reboot. That was Jennifer Lopez’s character drinking a Coors Light in “Shades of Blue” on NBC. And yes, that was a Miller Lite neon sign in a line dancing scene in “The Americans.”
It’s no coincidence. Expect to see a lot more in the back half of 2019.
Eighteen MillerCoors brands were featured across 43 programs in 2018, securing nearly 600 placements that delivered more than 1 billion impressions, data show. The number of placements was up 36% from 2017.
The company expects to exceed those figures in 2019, prioritizing placements on high-profile shows aired on streaming platforms and other networks not supported by ads, such as HBO and Showtime, says Nathan Knaeble, a media manager who leads product placement efforts for MillerCoors.
So far this year, MillerCoors products have made appearances in programs such as HBO’s “Barry,” “Big Little Lies” and “Veep”; Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” and “Homecoming”; Netflix’s “The Punisher,” “Daredevil” and “Maniac”; and the film “Captain Marvel.” Later this year, MillerCoors brands will be featured in shows such as “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “High Fidelity” (Hulu); “Mr. Robot” (USA TV); and “Living With Yourself” (Netflix).
“This is all about the idea of moving at the speed of culture and being part of culture, and the content people immersive themselves in is a key to being part of culture,” says Brad Feinberg, vice president of media and consumer engagement at MillerCoors. “We are focusing more and more on inserting our brands in entertainment that people talk about. And, increasingly, that means on the programs and ad-free platforms our drinkers are spending more of their time with.”
Those platforms increasingly are streaming, on-demand and available across digital platforms, including TVs, tablets and smartphones. Think Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, among others.
The movement by consumers to these services is accelerating, and marketers like MillerCoors are doing everything they can to keep in front of it.
Product placement in television programs and movies has long been a marketing staple. Remember “E.T.” filmed with a Coors Banquet in 1982? But what’s different today is “it’s so much harder to reach drinkers,” Feinberg says. “Audiences are more fragmented than ever, and they’re either tuning out ads, skipping through them or avoiding them altogether by consuming media in ad-free environments.”
So MillerCoors is prioritizing placing products on these platforms, and it’s attempting to do so in a way that feels both authentic to the program and its brands. In many cases, that means a can, bottle or pack of beer. In others its neon signs, branded apparel or tap handles.
“We go to great lengths by reading every script and meet with producers to makes sure the brand is authentic to the environment and situation,” Feinberg says. “So if a scene is taking place in a neighborhood bar in Chicago, we may prioritize Miller Lite or Miller High Life. If it’s in a program that takes place out west, Coors Light or Coors Banquet may be more authentic to that space.”
Efforts behind securing these placements do not come at the expense of more traditional marketing or spending in other areas. Rather, it’s “a mechanism for us to help elevate our brands by embedding them in environments that reinforce what they’re all about,” Feinberg says. “This is all about embedding our brands in culture and making them brands that people want to hang out with.”