We’re proud to present Erik Renko, a head of consumer analytics department in Mercator, the biggest retail company in Slovenia and in South East Europe, as Zemanta Power User of the week. He runs a unique blog that focuses on product placement in pop culture Brands & Films. A great source of news and information on the subject.
You run a very interesting blog. Where did you get the idea for it?
Back in the days I graduated with a thesis on product placement. At that time product placement wasn’t as widespread as it is today, but I loved watching movies and was interested in marketing, so product placement was a perfect combination for me. After I graduated I ended up in marketing research, but I never stopped spotting brands in movies and reading articles about product placement.
Why did you launch a blog about this topic?
I attended a monthly meeting of Slovenian Marketing Association and there was a presentation on product placement and branded entertainment. Suddenly it occurred to me that I might still know something about that topic and a blog about product placement could be a good idea. I’ve checked if there were some existing blogs, but haven’t found anything special. After a few days of thinking I asked a few friends what they think about me writing a blog and I received a very encouraging response. And then I just started to write.
What motivates you to keep blogging?
Mainly two things: I still haven’t told everything that I’d like to say and I believe I have interesting ideas to share. The second thing is a somewhat private goal that I’d wish to achieve and is only known to a few people.
Are you a “neutral” observer of the phenomenon?
Well, I’m not part of the entertainment industry, so I don’t have inside information on stories I post. I tend to be an observer of the phenomenon, but not strictly neutral. My main goal is to analyze certain aspects of product placement and give an opinion: positive or negative. Sometimes I write about bad examples, but it’s much more interesting to examine truly great cases.
This is very interesting, so, I have to ask, what are your observations about product placements in the past and today?
In the past product placement wasn’t used in every big Hollywood movie. It was more an exception to the rule. But nowadays product placement is an integral part of marketing communications and one of the ways of financing the movie. In my opinion product placement is now a strictly business oriented field, which makes it even more difficult to execute some really memorable cases. Sometimes it’s so blatant and poorly done that I really hate it, but in some rare cases you just have to admire the creativity of all parties involved in achieving a memorable stuff.
What about product placement in blogs? Does stuff like this even exist? What’s your take on it?
I think it exists and I even got an offer to publish a guest post, which would be totally free of charge for me, but some words would have had backlinks or some products would be mentioned in otherwise organic context. At that time I refused the offer, but I’m not against it. I believe that there’s nothing wrong if you mention brands or include photos of them in your blog posts. As an author you have to maintain your integrity and professionalism – you just have to be careful, because you don’t want to damage your own brand.
When did you start using Zemanta?
I started using Zemanta a few months after I published my first blog post and I’ve been using it for more than two years.
How does Zemanta help you blog better/easier?
I’m certainly much quicker and sometimes I get some ideas from your suggestions that just weren’t part of my original story.
Please share a Zemanta tip!
Use it from day one. It will save you time and energy. And if you are curious enough it will give you suggestions for the existing blog post and sometimes even ideas for future ones.