Product placement is nothing new, in fact it generated more than $24 billion in 2010. However, Ashton Kutcher’s recent attempt on the premiere episode of Two and Half Men was unique example of how quickly product placement, and branding, can fail.
During the episode, Kutcher’s character was using a laptop that had six stickers of company logos on it – the catch is Kutcher is an investor in each of the companies. Since the episode aired, Kutcher has been banned from promoting his own companies on the show.
All six companies received valuable prime-time TV exposure for free. However, the logos did not have words or company names, and only one was easily identifiable – FourSquare.
Many companies strive to create a signature logo that speaks for itself, such as the Nike Swoosh or Apple’s apple.
It is imperative that new companies take the time to establish brand credibility and recognition over time before transitioning fully to image-only logos. Simply put, startup logos must incorporate company names, because you cannot Google-search a logo.