Shameless Product Placement in Pop Music Videos

I love pop music videos because they serve one purpose for the industry: to shamelessly advertise musicians and sponsored products through vivid colors, rapid movement, and stimulation of basic human instincts. I love that they appear stupid and thoughtless on the outside, but how under the surface they are a truly unassuming and effective marketing tool.


Music videos reach billions of viewers. Since the launch of YouTube in 2005, 26 music videos have surpassed the 2 billion views mark. In fact, since Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” (2009), every video that has reached the top of the “most-viewed YouTube videos” list has been a music video.

As of January 2019, the fastest videos to reach the one billion view mark are “Hello” (87 days), “Despacito” (96 days), “Shape of You” (97 days), “Mi Gente” (103 days) and “Échame la Culpa” (111 days). These numbers are staggering if you consider that the average Super Bowl gets 113 million views and occurs once a year.

Long lasting

Music videos don’t go away. Any millennial can reminisce about the lost days of MTV which would consistently air videos throughout the day. Looking back at some of the top 100 billboard videos from the early 2000’s we see product placement for Motorola Razr flip phones, Sony Discman CD players and early US model Mini Coopers cars.

Once a video is shot and aired, the products on display last far longer than their sales cycle.


Pop music is an unobstructed mirror into youth culture. It is a direct reflection of what young people hope for out of life. As such, it is the perfect medium for product placement.

Take the example of Beats headphone company which used product placement to turn themselves into a billion-dollar company. Beats was co-founded by a rapper in 2006 as a means of replacing diminishing revenue generated by CD sales due to online piracy. By sponsoring and putting their product in music videos of musicians who were currently famous, they transformed a brand created by an old artist in a dying industry into a beacon of popularity and coolness amount young people.

Curious to hear your opinions on product placement in music videos or in general. Do you think it is an effective means of marketing? Let us know your thoughts via LinkedIn.

Lee Sumner, Sr. Research Manager