Archive: Jun 2015

Product placement or overload?

If you saw the latest big blockbuster hit Jurassic World, you may be wondering what you saw more of in the sci-fi film: dinosaurs or product placement. Most would say the latter.

Product placement is nothing new, dating back as early as the nineteenth century. It’s a marketing strategy based on including or referencing products in entertainment, such as movies, events and even Instagram posts. Brands spend billions and billions of dollars each year to put their latest product in front of a captive audience, some more egregiously than others.

The iPads and iPhones used in that Modern Family episode? Product placement. The Coke your favorite NASCAR racer is drinking after winning the big race? Product placement. How about that Neiman Marcus dress worn by your favorite Instagram celebrity? You guessed it – product placement. Our favorite example of product placement has to be Wayne’s World‘s blaringly obvious parody in which Wayne and Garth proclaim they won’t bow to any sponsor.

So what makes product placement successful? Product tie-ins can be extremely valuable when executed correctly, but it takes more than just paying to have your product on screen. Truly successful product placement occurs when the product is an integral part of the story line.

Reese’s Pieces saw sales triple just weeks after E.T. was released. FedEx paid nothing for their brand’s inclusion in Castaway and saw major increases in brand awareness in Asia and Europe. While Newman’s Barbasol can in the original Jurassic Park is one of the most recognized products in a movie, Jurassic World lacked subtlety or even moderation in its product placement.

Here’s what we learned from Jurassic World:

  • Jurassic World: Where everyone owns a Samsung smartphone.
  • Mercedes-Benz conquers jungles and battles dinosaurs.
  • Drinking a Coke helps you pretend to be really busy.
  • Ignore your parents, while listening to Beats by Dre.
  • Killer hybrid dinosaurs are brought to you by Verizon Wireless.
  • What theme park (or any place for that matter) would be complete without a Starbucks?

The only brand placement not on the receiving end of an eye roll? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. A brave man (aka Jimmy Buffet) saved himself AND his two margaritas during the Pteranodon & Dimorphodon’s aerial attack. A true hero. Well played, Jimmy. Well played.

Worse than the product placement, however, was the possibility that Claire, or anyone for that matter, can outrun a T-Rex in high-heels. But just for fun, enjoy this video of Chris Pratt prancing around in heels.

AD Vice

Summer Newsletter

New client work, new peeps and an Emmy® nomination. It’s been a busy summer at TKA! Click each image for more information.


The Scoop

Welcome to the family!

Bryan, Jeff and MaryJo are the new kids on the block here at TKA, collectively bringing in over 40+ years of experience with them. Welcome to the family!

Bryan Farkas  Senior Art Director


Throughout his career as a three-sport high school athlete, VCU baseball star and MLB draftee, Bryan was always obsessed with one thing — #winning. (And we’re not talking the Charlie Sheen kind, either.) Today, he’s still swinging for the fences with award-winning concepts and designs that move our clients’ brands forward. With over a decade of agency experience, his work has been recognized in multiple advertising and design shows, including the Richmond Show, Telly Awards and National Healthcare Advertising Awards.

Jeff Erickson
– Account Director


Jeff’s background reads like a veritable “who’s who” of the marketing industry. With 10 years on the agency-side (Eisner, Saatchi & Saatchi) and another 8 on the client-side (Circuit City, Capital One), he honed his skills on brands as diverse as Tylenol, Absolut Vodka, Sprite and Circuit City. As account director, he oversees planning and management for all agency clients.

MaryJo Steinmetz
Senior Media Strategist


With 14 years of industry experience, MaryJo is our senior media strategist. Whether managing a multimillion dollar media budget for a large auto group or creating workable strategies for small businesses, she brings the same insight and attention to detail to all of her media plans. Having held positions at Elephant Auto Insurance, MetLife and S&K Men’s Wear, she brings a well-rounded approach that gives her an edge in effective planning and placement.

TKA News

The Pledge

The King Agency recently created a branding video for Peak Fresh Produce, an exclusive product of Performance Food Group.

“The Pledge” illustrates Peak Fresh Produce’s pledge to grow America’s highest quality produce and deliver fresh-from-the-farm flavor. The highest standards are set for growers and packers, and produce is picked at its peak to ensure a premium product every time.

TKA Work

Q-Man Nominated for an Emmy

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences nominated The King Agency and Dreams Factory’s “Q-Man” TV spot for an Emmy® Award. This is the first Emmy nomination for The King Agency.

The Emmy Awards honor excellence in television production in various sectors of the television industry, including entertainment programming, news and documentary shows, sports programming and craft categories. Winners will be announced at the 57th Annual Emmy Awards Gala on Saturday, June 27th.

TKA developed the Question Mark Man, or “Q-Man,” campaign for Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers in 2014. Dreams Factory and director Sunny Zhao were tapped to bring the idea to life in TV. Both TKA and Dreams Factory donated their time for the production of the campaign.

TKA News