Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Biggest Product Placement Coup EVER?

Some have called this the most brilliant PR move ever. Others are saying it's the most exploitative example of product placement they've ever seen. I'm with the latter. In an effort to raise awareness about Belly Maternity clothes, PR firm 5W delivered a "hand selected" baby shirt for little Shiloh, the newborn daughter of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, anticipating that the baby photos would be broadcast all over the world.

By now everyone's seen the photos. Does anyone notice the Belly Maternity logo on the infant? No. You don't. You would have no idea what brand of clothing Shiloh was wearing if not for 5W's press release. 5W is currently patting itself on the back, heralding its success like some sort of military mission that no one expected them to win. Did they win though? Are pregnant women and new mothers going to rush out and buy Belly Maternity clothing? I wish I could say otherwise, but I expect there will be a spike in sales. Especially since People Magazine cover is right on their homepage, with the infant T that Shiloh wore selling at $42. (Belly's even watermarked the images of the T-shirt, if you can believe it.)

It's disgusting that Shiloh has no say in what she's being used to sell, and it's worse that it's a marketing technique that will probably work. If the most anticipated celebrity baby of all time is wearing a special shirt, why not everyone else too? Pregnancy's becoming less of a stigma and way more hip-- women have more choices in what they wear while pregnant, and infants evidently do as well. It's yet another culture taken over by trends, marketing, and fashion. Littlest trend-setters of the world unite!

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