- Mountain Dew will play a role in an upcoming episode of the AMC's "The Walking Dead: World Beyond," according to a report by Variety. Characters in the show will consume the product and mention it by name as part of the show's script.
- AMC Networks' Content Room devised the stunt with assistance from Omnicom Group's The Content Collective, which helps facilitate product placement. AMC Networks launched the Content Room earlier this year to give advertisers a single point of entry for customized creative campaigns and tailored messaging across all of the network's content and platforms.
- The in-show appearance extends the two brands' relationship. In 2017, Mountain Dew created an augmented reality app that enabled users to view some of the show's famed "walkers" in the real world. That deal also included in-store branding and show character images on Mountain Dew bottles.
Mountain Dew's 2017 foray into the post-apocalyptic world of "The Walking Dead" convinced company executives that the show's viewers had a natural affinity for the soda, Nicole Portwood, vice president of marketing for Mountain Dew-parent PepsiCo, told Variety.
This latest product placement takes that connection one step further by linking the audience's product affinity with the show's characters. In the episode, scheduled to air on Nov. 15, one character gifts another character a full bottle of Mountain Dew. After identifying the soda by name, the recipient says: "I will never stop missing these. I mean, I used to drink this like water back in the day."
As ad-skipping, media fragmentation and multi-screen viewing have upended the traditional between-act TV ad model, product placement within content has grown substantially. By placing products directly within the show, consumers are far more likely to see the product. As a result, the total value of product placements has increased annually for 10 straight years, reaching $20.57 billion in 2019, according to PQ Media.
Additionally, "deft" product placements often lead to online engagement and create emotional connections with the notoriously hard-to-reach millennial and Gen Z demographics, per PQ Media's CEO Patrick Quinn.
"Paid placements have grown substantially in number and value during the past several decades because brands have become more willing to invest in skillful integration of their logos and products in storylines that will expose their assets in meaningful ways," Quinn said in a release earlier this year.
The trick to reaching those audiences, however, lies in skillfully managing product placements. Consumers are on high-alert for ham-handed placements that take them out of the content experience or story. To make the "World Beyond" placement — which takes place in a future where no new products are created — realistic, company executives went into the brand's archives to find a label that might have been used in 2010, when the last product might have rolled off the production lines in the show.