Product placement is a tactic used by marketing executives in order to promote a real commercial product used in fictional or non-fictional media. The presence of the product appears as the result of an economic exchange whereby a brand's logo is seen, or a favorable mention is given, to a product. This is done without divulgence being made to the viewer. The audience is given the impression that it is just a natural part of the work. Product placement appears in plays, movies, television programs, music videos, books and even video games now, and is a relatively new practice. Although product placement occurred in some films, such as a Mobil logo used in the Marx Brothers 1949 movie Love Happy and the Kawasaki motorcycles allegedly donated for the making of the 1979 flick Mad Max, it wasn’t until E. T. gobbled up the trail of Reese’s Pieces in 1982 in E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial and increased sales of Reese’s Pieces by 65% that product placement really gained a hold with Madison Avenue.
How are we doing with our “product placement” as Christians when we are interacting with those of the world? Are we truly letting our lights shine forth in a positive manner (Matthew 5:16), or do we spend our time with the world speaking negatively about our brothers and sisters in Christ? If it is the latter, then how can we expect to convert anyone to Christ?
We could take a cue from Madison Avenue and use these times to invite people to join our gatherings with our own “product placement”. We could mention how wonderful and uplifting the singing was, or relay something interesting that we learned in class or heard in the sermon, or let them know what a warm and loving welcome awaits them.
In John 4 we have an example of “product placement” being employed by early disciples of Jesus Christ. Many people, including the Lord, had been in Jerusalem for a feast day. While there they heard the Lord speak and witnessed as He healed people of various diseases and ailments. They then returned to their homes, telling others about Jesus.
Because of their “product placement” regarding the Lord, a certain nobleman from Capernaum heard the good news about Jesus and traveled about 25 miles to find Christ, who was now staying in Cana of Galilee, to beg the Lord to come to his home to heal his dying son. Jesus told the man, “Go your way; your son lives,” (John 4:50), and the nobleman believed Jesus’ words. That same hour his child was healed. None of this would have happened without the “product placement” being made by those early disciples. Let us learn from their example and do our part of “product placement” in order to grow the body of Christ for the glory of the Lord! May He bless you!