Product placement on television is not a new concept, but the ever-increasing popularity of reality TV has changed the landscape of television programming. As of March 2011, Nielsen reported that 8 out of the 10 top shows with product placements were reality television programs. Product placement on reality TV has the ability to drive sales, but seconds of exposure don’t do much in providing value and differentiation in today’s product saturated media world. Whether these product placements were predetermined, or happen organically within the context of the show, search can play a critical role in these moments where consumers are looking to discover and engage with your brand.

There is undoubtedly a clear connection between television hot topics and increased product searches conducted. An example of this relationship can be seen by the number of searches that have been done in the past two months related to the outfits that “Bachelorette” Ashley Heber has been donning during her appearances on the long-running reality-hit “The Bachelorette”.

So what should retailers do to be prepared for this type of phenomenon?

Set up Google News alerts for your brand
If not a strategic product placement, it is difficult to predict when your brand will be featured on a reality T.V. show, but these types of items are often being blogged about and news alerts will give you a heads up about what is top of mind for your consumers.

Work with reality show to get trademark approval
If trademark approval is granted, language such as “…as seen on the Bachelor” could be used in an ad, which could potentially improve click-through rates. Similarly, another strategy could be to add keywords to your account related to a show that your product was featured on.

Consider using Product Listing Ads
This AdWords feature allows you to quickly and precisely capture missing, relevant queries without the need of updating your keywords. Product Listing Ads use your existing Merchant Center product feed, creating ads for the products you want to promote in a dynamic way.

These three items should help prepare retailers for the possible influx of searches on their brand when it is featured on a reality T.V. show.

All in all, this phenomenon reiterates the fact that searches do not happen in silos and that the online and offline world are inherently connected. Significant value can be gained for those businesses that understand these connections and are actively looking for ways to capitalize on the multi-channel aspects of search.

Posted by Liz Ott, The Google Retail Team