Product placement in France – an opportunity worth exploring

December 26, 2014
Updated on November 9, 2015

Whether contracted in exchange for monetary or non-monetary consideration, product placement is a non-negligible resource to consider when producing creative projects of any type: films, TV series, animation, novels, modern art, videogames, music videos, concerts, etc.

Imagine that you are about to fund your new videogame project and you are short on the marketing budget, or need the leading actors in your film to drive luxurious cars and wear designer outfits but did not allocate any money for the rental. Product placement might just help you solve such problems.

Below we provide an overview of the technique with a focus on French productions.

*** Note that we will not be discussing in this entry casual brand or product placement or the issues such practice may raise with trademark or copyright owners.

1/ Background

Product placement is far from being a new advertising technique but it is hard to say exactly when, where and in which type of content or media it was first implemented because of its coexistence with casual product or brand incorporation.

While there is no actual evidence of payment on the marketer’s part, authors quote among the first examples: Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days published in 1873, quoting the Great Indian Peninsula Railway transport company; Edouard Manet’s painting “Un bar aux Folies-Bergère” (1882-1883) depicting two bottles of beer with the easily recognizable Bass Pale Ale red triangle tag; the 1896 Lumière films “Défilé du 8e bataillon” and “Laveuses[1] prominently featuring the Sunlight Soap logo (below) and “Embarquement” and “Débarquement” featuring cases of Evian[2], or the song “Take me out to the ball game” first recorded by Edward Meeker in 1908, quoting the Cracker Jack cereals.

Over the years, the tactic has expanded to almost all categories of content and has gained in complexity. Indeed, although the traditional method of static brand placement illustrated above – where the brand lives the life of the embodying content – still remains the most widespread (and suitable) for offline and non-interactive content, dynamic placement systems have been developed for alterable content, giving producers and advertisers more flexibility and targeting precision: a good example is the 2008 Obama online in-game campaign running for a few weeks’ time in several games [3] and reportedly geotargeted to men aged between 18 and 34 in 10 states[4].

In terms of economic impact, product placement is currently following an ascending trend due to the erosion and limitations of classic advertising.

According to PQ Media analysts[5], marketers worldwide had spent in 2012 a total of $8.25B in product placement all media combined, out of which $5.37B for TV and $1.66B for film. The best increase in spending compared to 2011 was recorded in the online and mobile sectors (31.4%) and the music sector (22.7%).

Geographically, the vast majority of the spending was concentrated on the American continent (USA – $4.75B, Brazil – $861M, Mexico – $674M), however France, the UK and Italy were in the top 10 with over $100M yearly spending each[6].

The global discrepancy between France and the USA can be explained by the major difference in the market size, but also by cultural differences and the incidence in Europe of EU and national regulations aiming to ensure that advertising is respectful of authors and consumers.

Indeed, while the US public is repeatedly confronted with massive product placement and has developed increased tolerance (to the point where, asked in 2011 by director Morgan Spurlock where to go to see no advertising, political activist Ralph Nader answers “To sleep.”[7]) the French public is less accustomed to such profusion – at least in which concerns French productions[8]. Additionally under French law authors have moral rights that they can oppose to any producer that would tend to harm their work by associating it to massive or otherwise objectionable advertisement. Finally, as we will see in more detail below, France has a set of regulations that may further restrict the freedom of producers or publishers to feature brands in creative works.

That being said, product placement in French productions has been proven to work and has even been encouraged by recent changes in the existing regulations. If used properly, it can clearly have benefits for both owners of creative projects and marketers.

2/ A mutually beneficial technique…

Product placement is generally understood as an advertising technique consisting of having a product, service, brand or corporate name featured or referenced within a program or work in exchange for a monetary or non-monetary counterpart.

Although more and more commonly spread, it remains a subtle tactic, as the consumer or end user becomes rarely aware of the agreement existing between the marketer and program owner.

As such, product placement has, for the creative project owner, two main advantages: the first is the obvious financial interest; the second is the natural, realistic look of its content featuring brands from real life: in advertainment (another term for product placement) the brands “blend in” and directly contribute to the public’s enjoyment of the work.

For advertisers, it places their products in real like environments more than conventional advertising would do, most times for less money. It also has an endorsement value, tending to lead consumers to believe that the program creators or owners genuinely support the brand, or that the latter is part of the message that they are trying to pass on. Finally, consumers perceive it as a less aggressive form of advertising while it is, in the same time, more difficult to elude. Recent studies performed in France by the Public Impact agency showed that product placement in feature films and TV series was twice more efficient than TV commercials in triggering consumers’ intent to buy products or services, with most consumers not seeing product placement as a threat to the creativity or quality of the programs.

Of course, to achieve these mutual advantages correct dosage and coherence among the brands featured and with the content itself need to be observed. Unbalanced brand placement can have the adverse effect of undermining the artistic credibility of the project and ultimately of its author and aggressing the public.

Mishaps occur regularly overseas: the videogame Zool 2 (1993) was perceived as a “huge ad for Chupa Chups” because of the prominent display of the brand and candies, and Darkened Skye (2002-2003) was referred as a “game about Skittles” because of the crucial role given to the candies in the plot; in the film industry Die another day (2002) was surnamed by news outlets Buy Another Day because of its 20 product placement deals (as a result, the number of brands has been considerably reduced in the following James Bond films) and Adam Sandler’s comedy That’s My Boy (2012) was noticed for its excessive placement of Budweiser cans, bottles and signage[9]; Lady Gaga’s music video Bad Romance (2009) and its record of 10 brands caused the LA Times to call it “not a music video so much as the QVC Channel you can dance to[10]. In France, Benabar’s music video A la campagne (2008) was compared to a long commercial for Porsche[11].

  • Assessing the financial potential of your project

The amounts invested by marketers in France (including in-kind contributions) are highly variable, reportedly going from around €10,000 to several hundreds of thousands of euro. In the movie industry, where they are most common, they usually represent up to 5% of the total film budget in aggregate. In TV series, the price for a single appearance was comprised in 2011 between €10,000 and €30,000[12]. As regards online games, a 3-week dynamic campaign was worth about €15,000 in 2009[13]. Successful music videos can benefit of aggregate amounts of up to €150,000 (while production costs can go from €20,000 to €400,000)[14].

In any event, the amounts invested in each project will depend on cumulative factors such as: the exposure awarded to the brand, the type of content and its expected audience, the anticipated economic impact, the brand notoriety and the marketer’s financial power… As a creative project owner, you should take into account all these factors when trying to assess your chances for successful product placement:

The exposure that you are willing to accord to the brand

  • As part of the program content – there are different degrees of visibility with corresponding degrees of investment (in ascending order):

Stealth placement: the brand is not cited and the public cannot easily recognize the product/service featured. It is often used to show clothing in film and television, with the marketers receiving a special mention in the credits – for instance Leïla Bekhti and Géraldine Nakache wearing Kookaï in All That Glitters (2011)[15]. But it is also possible to imagine sound placements (such as, in the US, the ringtone of Coldplay’s Talk single featured in a scene in the CSI: NY series)[16].

Evocative placement: the brand and product/service are not cited or clearly depicted but, as they have already a certain notoriety for the public targeted, they can be easily recognized based on their visual identity (size, shape, color codes, etc.) – for example, the Kronenbourg can and the Adidas sweatshirt in The dinner game (1998), or the placement of Rubson Go mastics in the Chaos à la maison DIY game for Wii developed by Lexis Numérique (2009).

Corporate placement: featuring the trademark or logo, without any specific product or service, for example: Marlboro and Heineken in Jacques Tati’s feature film PlayTime (1967), McDonalds in The 5th element (1997), Kookaï (branded shopping bag) in the feature film Clara and me (2003), Henri Giraud champagne in the short film Le Sucre (2010), Axe in the videogame Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (2005).

Classic product placement (the most common type): the branded product or service is explicitly integrated in the content (i.e. graphically displayed and/or directly quoted in the written/spoken text – novel, lyrics, film script). The exposure is larger and the financing more important when the product or service is actually being used in the story/plot or presented in a positive light (some authors go as far as including actual sales pitches in their works).

For example, among the various types of content: flattering mention to OCB rolling paper in Henri Decoin’s 1955 film Raid on the Drug Ring featuring Jean Gabin; co-staring of Peugeot cars – models 406 and 408 in the Taxi film and sequels (1998 – 2007) and model 308 in Lucy (2014), visual placement of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones in The Untouchables (2011), of Evolupharm pregnancy test in the TV series Plus belle la vie (2011), scenes of Despicable Me (animation, 2010) taking place in an Auchan store and of novels Les Héritiers by Freddy Woets[17] and Palm trees under the snow by Hubert de Maximy taking place in the Parisian hotel Hilton Arc de Triomphe, use of Ice watch and Sony Ericsson phone in David Guetta’s Where Them Girls At music clip (2011); use of Adidas clothing on stage by the I am rapper Akhenaton[18]; display and use of Airwaves, AMD and Nokia products in the videogame Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (2005); use of the Twizy Z.E Concept car by Renault as part of a downloadable Electric Vehicle Pack for The Sims 3 videogame for PC/Mac (2010); sales speech for the Oenobiol sun cream in the film 18 years later (2001); prominent display of the Longchamp it-bag in the drawing album Two Loves Have I, my Handbag and Paris (2013). 

In addition to or instead of the product placement, French productions (especially in the cinematic sector) sometimes host idea placement, whereby public or private bodies pay to have their ideas, or the image of the profession they represent, included and defended in programs (for instance the placements paid by the French union of public notaries in the films Stop crying, Penelope! (2012) or An Illustrious Unknown (2014)). This practice is less frequent than product placement and, if well fitted with the original intent and script of the program, can help fund it with ten to two hundred thousand euros[19]. It is not legally admitted in television but as it usually remains very subtle there are no examples of censorship to date.

Recurrence – repeated placements have more favors with marketers as they increase the public’s awareness; certain advertising agencies have developed offers consisting of multiple placements across various contents (for example, the Malongo coffee placed in five different episodes of the R.I.S. series – French equivalent of CSI – for an aggregate cost of €100,000[20]).

Exclusivity – the marketer will benefit of more exposure with an exclusive deal: the placement should be more generously compensated.

  • Outside the program content (tie-ins)

Tie-ins are frequently accompanying product placement, especially when the latter is discrete and the brand risks going unnoticed. They can also constitute an alternative to product placement when authors wish to publish their content brand-free. Tie-ins allow marketers to expand the visibility of the brand, but the buzz created equally serves authors: for example, the film Les chevaliers du ciel (2005) – budget of €19,6M financed at 3% by product placement – has benefitted prior to its theatrical release from PLV in over 1,000 Tissot and Redskin shops; Auchan, featured in Despicable Me (2010), has accompanied the film’s DVD release by organizing sweepstakes and offering DVDs, and Yahoo! France has promoted the release of Tell no one (2006) that was featuring its search engine; in the videogame industry, Nivea has contributed to release free DLC for Your Shape: Fitness Evolved for Kinect and Xbox 360 (2010)[21], whereas a partnership entered for the latest Assassin’s Creed (2014) allows buyers of limited-edition cans of Edge Shave Gel to unlock gear in the game[22]. In the music business the limits between product placement and cross-marketing tend to fade: performers often wear products made available by marketers during their concerts, perform in private concerts sponsored by them, sometimes they even become brand ambassadors.

The audience of the program (age, gender, interests, territory, etc.)

The audience plays an important role in the marketers’ choice of the program to showcase their brands and of the amounts to invest. All factors likely to better locate it and increase it are to be taken into account, such as the subject addressed and the public targeted, the renown of the parties involved – authors, actors, publishers, a high production budget and sales potential, etc.

When seeking to approach a marketer to invest in your project you will first need to analyze the coherence between your content and its products or services. There are many opportunities as, while some marketers show particular interest in specific audiences (e.g. the brands Equidia and Les Harras de Jardy present in the feature film Jappeloup (2013) about the famous racing horse, La Redoute placed in the social game Totally Spies! Fashion Agents (2011) targeting young French women, or the Rubson Go mastics in-game placement mentioned above), others are interested in drawing the widest audience possible and tend to become associated with numerous productions of all kinds (e.g. the group Renault, who has an internal division dedicated to partnerships and product placement deals, had its cars placed in 50 feature films in 2009 alone[23] and has a growing presence in videogames and music videos; it also has partnerships with various cultural events and sponsors modern artists).

Next, you will need to evaluate the number of people expected to come in contact with the product placement, by taking into account the various means of exploitation of your content in all media and all territories until the end of its commercial life (or, if shorter, of the product placement).

From this perspective, the participation of well-known individuals or entities in your project, its selection to one or more competitions, any pre-sales, publishing or distribution arrangements that you may have already secured, or simply the public excitement created around it – for instance, via crowdfunding campaigns – is a plus to increase the projected audience.

Correlatively, the expected impact of the product placement on the commercial success of the brand:

Most marketers consider being able to measure the impact of their product placement operations as essential for their strategic decision making process.

Overseas, results obtained in a few very successful campaigns have become legendary: Ray Ban saw its U.S. sales of Wayfarer glasses soar to 360,000 pairs in one year after Tom Cruise wore them in Risky Business (1983) and its sale of Aviator rise by 40% in the seven months following the release of Top Gun (1986). Reese’s Pieces sales knew a growth of 65% two weeks after the release of E.T. (1982) and more recently, Toy Story’s box-office success resulted in spectacular increases in Etch-A-Sketch and Mr. Potato Head sales, as well as in the revival of Slinky (to our knowledge, the Toy Story placements were made free of charge). In the UK, McVitie’s prominent Penguin Biscuits ad placement in the 1991 action game James Pond II: Codename RoboCod for Amiga has directly contributed to outsell rival KitKat after the release of the game.

In France there are not many examples available. Sources quote the rise by 30% of the tourism volume in the region of Gers the year following the release of the film Happiness Is in the Field (1995) shot in and sponsored by the region, or the almost doubled marked share of the Crunch chocolate bar following its placement in (and tie-in with) the film The Visitors II (1998).

A recent study performed by the Public Impact agency based on 200 product placement operations measured the return on investment to 440%[24].

3/ … to implement within the legal and contractual limits

Depending on the type of content that you are aiming to produce, certain product placements may be prohibited by law. Once you have carved those out, you will have to accord additional care to the manner in which you negotiate the deals with the remaining marketers and get to present their products or brands from the legal and contractual perspectives.

  • Prohibited placements

First, it should be noted that the only specific restrictions relating to “product placement” under French laws and regulations are confined to the audiovisual sector (linear and on demand television services)[25]. They result from the implementation at national level of two successive European directives[26].

Product placement is defined under Article 1 (m) of the directive as “any form of audiovisual commercial communication consisting of the inclusion of or reference to a product, a service or the trade mark thereof so that it is featured within a programme, in return for payment or for similar consideration”.

In principle, it is forbidden in all types of content, however the EU member states are allowed to provide specific permissions – France (via the CSA, which is the national authority in charge of clarifying the relevant regulations, monitoring their observance and sanctioning misbehaviors) has for now authorized it in the theatrical films, audiovisual fiction films and music videos not directly aimed at children and is considering since 2012 to allow it in additional programs such as sport events or reality and entertainment shows. Product placement deals such as the multi-million US$ deal established for 13 years between Fox and Coca Cola for American Idol are not (yet) conceivable in France.

Are not eligible to audiovisual product placement marketers and products in the following sectors: alcoholic beverages of over 1.2 %, cigarettes and tobacco products, medicinal products and medical treatments, firearms and foodstuffs for infants.

Finally, product placement in authorized types of works for brands, products or services which are not prohibited by the relevant regulations still needs, in order to be lawful, to fulfill certain requirements as provided by the EU directives and further restricted at national level[27]: be formalized in a contract, not affect by its programming and content the editorial independence of the media service provider; not directly encourage purchase or rental, not result in undue prominence for the product or brand placed, and be clearly signaled to consumers.

In practice (and subject to the general restrictions below), this means that all types of creative content can feature, in exchange for compensation, the brands and/or products/services of marketers of all kind, but, if and when such content is broadcasted via audiovisual media services and:

  • said content does not pertain to the authorized categories above (such as reality show), the product placements will have to be blurred or otherwise eliminated, or
  • said content pertains to the authorized categories above but: it contains unauthorized brands, products or services (such as a brand of alcohol in a music video)[28], or it contains brands, products or services which are normally authorized but are presented in breach of the CSA requirements (e.g. a brand benefitting of unjustified prominence within the content[29], or not properly signaled as product placement), such placements will have to be blurred or otherwise eliminated.

Featuring any brands or products/services in content relayed via an audiovisual media service without having secured them under the permitted product placement regime set forth above is likely to be considered surreptitious advertising[30] and draw public warnings and fines upon the audiovisual service provider, who can subsequently turn to the content provider for indemnification. Moreover, surreptitious advertising does not necessarily involve payment or similar consideration on the marketer’s side or the existence of a contract, which means that even authors that feature brands in their content incidentally, in the pursuit of authenticity, are exposed. To qualify and sanction surreptitious advertising the CSA uses cumulative criteria (such as: the duration and frequency of the product/brand exposure, the variety of brands exposed, the author’s attitude towards the brand, etc.) and it has published guidelines in order to help creators assess their exposure in this respect.

Outside the audiovisual sector, the incorporation of certain brands or products/services in certain works can be reprimanded if it is considered a form of prohibited advertising. Indeed, certain products and services are almost completely banned from advertising, and others are severely restricted.

Tobacco: under the public health code is prohibited and severely sanctioned any direct and indirect propaganda and advertisement for tobacco and tobacco products and ingredients outside tobacco stores and communications (including online) reserved to the tobacco industry professionals. The French league against cancer has been actively monitoring potential infringements in the local motion picture industry, where it has noticed a substantial increase between 2005 and 2010. It has filed suit (apparently the first of this kind in France) against the producers and distributors of the film A French Gigolo (2008) that prominently featured Marlboro Light throughout the film and in the credits.

Alcohol: the public health code similarly prohibits and sanctions the propaganda and direct and indirect advertising for alcoholic beverages of more than 1.2%, except in certain media expressly authorized such as: written press and internet not mainly targeting youth, or radio. The supreme administrative court (Conseil d’Etat) has refused, for instance, the creation of a pay TV channel called DeoVino entirely dedicated to wine and winery and aimed to present their merits and interests because television services were not listed among the legally authorized media and because « by its own nature, the broadcast of such program would entail a violation of the legal prohibition of all direct or indirect propaganda for alcoholic beverages on the television services » (11 July 2012, n° 351253). When permitted in a given media, advertising needs to observe severe requirements in terms of objectivity of content and health warning, and the French jurisdictions are very firm on their application. For example: (i) although there was no purchase of advertising space, the Paris court of first instance considered several articles in a French newspaper on the subject of the commercial success of champagne exportations during the holidays and featuring a list of favorite brands as illegal advertising because they “exercised on the reader a psychological action of nature to incite him to consume”, (ii) the criminal chamber of the Supreme Court has sanctioned in 2006 the use of three ads for Jameson whiskey created by the author of “Blake and Mortimer” featuring men dressed in 18th century outfits as « the setting of the posters was conceived in such a manner as to make more attractive the Jameson whiskey by associating elements likely to give it a seductive image connected to Ireland and its traditions and associated with the topic of travel and with the ancientness of its processing methods, elements which are not related to the strict mention of the product origin, its composition and its production method », and (iii) the first civil chamber of the Supreme Court has condemned in 2012 an advertising campaign for Bordeaux wines using the image of young winemakers “casually dressed, arms raised holding a glass transmitting a clear impression of delight” because the posters “aimed to promote an image of sociality associated to the Bordeaux wines of such a nature to incite the consumer to absorb the products praised ”. It is interesting to note that, having faced fierce resistance from the appeal courts [31], the Supreme Court has later revised its position in the last two cases quoted above and has recognised, in the first case, that « advertisement for alcoholic beverages, as regulated by section L. 3323-4 of the public health code (…) does not prohibit the use of an attractive background on a poster »[32], and, in the second, that « the impression of delight emerging from all of the visuals is not excessive compared to what is necessary to promote the products and intrinsic to the advertising approach, which remains lawful »[33]. Despite these clarifications which are welcome it is necessary to remain vigilant in a context where there is no clear distinction at law between what pertains to freedom of information and creation on the one hand, and advertising on the other hand, as courts could still find creative works to be illegal advertisements for lack of objectivity.

As product placement of tobacco and alcohol made for money clearly implies an advertising intent, it falls under the restrictions above regardless the type of content embedding it. The only agreements possible with marketers of alcohol and tobacco are gentlemen agreements where the marketers would make products available for the use in your project, but you would remain totally free in your creative choices and not be able to guarantee the placement. Although this technique is used in France, marketers in these sectors tend to place their products in foreign projects not submitted to such restrictive regulations and where their placements are guaranteed.

Additional restrictions can apply with regards to advertising for medication (the restriction is lighter than for product placement in the audiovisual sector as it only applies to medication released on medical prescription), gambling, foodstuffs for infants, firearms, etc.

  • Restrictions regarding the presentation

The final challenge comes, for the remaining product placements, when you have reached the contract phase. Your agreement should reflect a compromise between:

  • on the one hand, the marketer’s expectations, if any, in terms of visibility and presentation of its brands/products, and
  • on the other hand: the moral rights enabling the author(s) of the work to decide of its final form for public release, the other possible rights of other parties involved, and the general obligations that you may have under the applicable consumer related regulations.

Regarding moral rights, there is no issue if you are the sole author of the work and only commit in the contract to what you are ready to give to the marketer. However the situation may be more complex if you are a book publisher, or a film producer, and you (or your agent) undertake obligations in the contract that your author does not ultimately agree with: you (and/or your agent) risk having to repair the damage caused to the marketer, as shows a recent case submitted to the Versailles court of appeals[34]. One of the leading film product placement agencies had committed to a seller of riding apparel to have the main actors in Jappeloup wear its clothing in the film. Following the release of the film without the placement agreed upon, the marketer immediately filed suit for summary judgment against the agency for full refund and a provision for damages: the agency attempted to argue that, despite the clear clauses in the contract, it could not have firmly committed to have the products placed in the film because the director had moral rights that cannot be overridden by contract. The Versailles Court of Appeals disagreed.

As moral rights cannot be waived or overridden, a possible solution against such mishaps could be to financially interest the authors in the placement deal to have them undertake contractual obligations that would counterbalance any exercise of their moral rights[35]; another one could be to propose alternatives to the marketer (either by means of tie-ins, or by placements in other works).

Similar issues can occur regarding other parties involved in the product placement operation and the rights (not necessarily moral rights) that they may oppose to the placement deal. For instance, actors and models have exclusive rights on their image and likeness and the authorizations that they usually grant for the work do not automatically extend to third party promotions: in such case, you should anticipate their claims and find mutually interesting contractual arrangements. As an example, a recent affair involving Mercedes Benz: the company had placed one of its car models in a film and used in its quarterly magazine two pictures taken on set, showing an actor behind the wheel; the actor, who only allowed the film producer to use his image to promote the film and not third party products, has sued the marketer and was awarded money damages of €30,000 (he was claiming €340,000); the film producer, who had previously validated the use of the two pictures and failed to inform the manufacturer of the terms of its contract with the actor, had to indemnify the marketer [36].

Finally, depending on the scope of the product placement, you may have a certain role in creating (or defending) and disseminating a message aimed at influencing consumers to buy the marketers’ products or services rather than those of their competitors. In this respect, you would be subjected to the general prohibition of misleading commercial practices set in sections L.121-1 and following of the French consumer code.

Misleading commercial practices include among other those that create confusion with the brands, products or services of competitors, that rely on false or misleading statements or presentations or on omissions regarding key aspects of the products or services, that do not allow a clear identification of the persons behind such practices, etc. They are criminal offences and, depending on your involvement – and even if you had no particular intent to mislead the public – you risk being pursued as an author or an accomplice[37].

You should therefore beware of including in your work false or misleading statements or sales speeches and in any event, obtain appropriate contractual guarantees and indemnification from marketers.

To sum up, product placement has all the chances to offer interesting funding opportunities for any type of creative or cultural project, provided that coherence and balance between creative intent and commercial interests are maintained at all levels – conceptual, contractual, operational, and that the parties decide to work intelligently within the existing legal framework.


[1] N°316 ( ) and n°60 ( of the Lumière catalogue. These films are officially attributed to Constant Girel and Alexandre Promio but certain sources consider them to be the work of François-Henri Lavanchy-Clarke who owned one or two Lumière Cinématographes and seized the opportunity to promote via the new medium the Sunlight Soap (manufactured by the English firm Lever Brothers, his employer at the time) – against the competing Marseille soaps.

[2] N° 125 and n°126 of the Lumière Catalogue (

[3] E.g. Madden NFL 09, Burnout Paradise, NBA Live 08, Need For Speed: Carbon, Need For Speed: ProStreet, NFL Tour and Skate



[6] Regarding France, this amount should be compared, for 2013, with the global communication spending (direct media spending and outside promotions, sponsorships, etc.) of €30.1B, out of which €10.5B spent for media advertising (sources – the UDA report Chiffres clés des annonceurs en 2014 and the CSA report Les chiffres clés de l’audiovisuel français published on December 1st, 2014)

[7] The greatest movie ever sold (2011)

[8] Indeed, certain content produced abroad manages to find its public in France despite massive brand placement (to quote but one title, the very successful Sex and the city TV series featuring 234 different brands throughout the 6 seasons according to a study by Pierre Buttin –, and 94 different brands in the 2008 feature film). On their side, French product placement agencies recommend a maximum of 5 to 10 brands per film (Stéphane Berthoux – “Quand les marques s’invitent dans les films” – Stratégies Magazine n°1441, 2007).

[9] The film is punned as a “Budweiser movie disguised as frat-boy comedy flick







[16] The scene was followed during the ad break by a promotional message informing viewers on how to purchase the ringtone

[17] The cost reported for this placement was €13,500 –; both novels were financed and co-published by Hilton.

[18] Laurene Fayolle. Le placement de produits et l’image de marque: le cas des concerts de musique. Business administration. Université Jean Moulin – Lyon III, 2012. French. – p.140;


[20] See link at no. 12



[23] See link at no. 12


[25] Law of September 30, 1986 (called Loi Léotard) – article 14-1, Decree n°92-280, Decree n° 2010-1379

[26] Council Directive 89/552/EEC Television without Frontiers (TVWF) of 3 Oct. 1989 as modified by Directive 2007/65/EC, repelled and replaced by Directive 2010/13/EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AMS) of 10 March 2010

[27] Section 14-1 of the law of 1986 and CSA deliberation n° 2010-4 of Feb 16, 2010 amended by deliberation n° 2012-35 of July 24, 2012

[28] Trace Urban was sanctioned by the CSA in 2011 for two music videos containing placements of wine and vodka

[29] For instance in 2010 the TV channel Direct 8 broadcasted the series “Ma Super Croisière”, coproduced with a cruise line and focusing on the shooting of an advert for the cruise line by the Havas media agency. The CSA considered that, despite the signage apposed by the channel in the beginning and at the end of the episodes, this was not a product placement but rather a surreptitious advertising for the cruise line and the media agency.

[30] Idem.

[31] See for instance the arguments of the Versailles court of appeals in the Bordeaux wine case (Versailles, April 3, 2014 n°12/02102): “(…) the undeniable impression of pleasure emerging from the visuals, which is related to the brightness of the color of the drink and the expression of satisfaction of the characters, does not exceed what is necessary to promote the products and inherent to the advertising approach itself, which remains lawful. Advertisers could obviously not be asked, under the pretext of meeting the legal requirements, to depict professionals who are grumpy, with unpleasant looks, or seeming to doubt about the qualities of products of an indefinable color, just to avoid any temptation of excess to the consumer. Finally, the image given, of professions invested by young people, open to women, in search for modernity, is in full accordance with the legal provisions allowing a reference to human factors connected to a designation of origin (…).

[32] Supreme Court, criminal division, 15 May 2012, n°11-83686
[33] Supreme Court, 1st civil chamber, 1 July 2015, n°14-17368

[34] Versailles court of appeals, 5 March 2014, n°13/04229, Marques et Films vs. LND

[35] Courts consider since 1987 that “the author’s moral right in its work does not exist prior to the work itself and the author can validly consent in advance by contract to limit his/her freedom of creation and particularly commit to abide by the requirements of an advertisement order or to seek, in this field or in another, the approval of his/her contracting partner » (Cass. Civ. 1ère 7 April 1987, n° 85-12101, Etat Gabonnais)

[36] CA Versailles, 8 nov. 2012, n° 10/05462, Aliceleo vs. Sté Hemels Publishers, Sté Mercedes Benz et X.

[37] See, in the neighboring field of endorsement, the condemnation of a well-known chef as an accomplice to misleading advertising (€15,000 fine) for having permitted to appose his picture on bottles of olive oil and suggest that he had personally selected the products, whereas in fact (without him necessarily being aware) the oil had a distinct provenance than the one publicized – Supreme Court, criminal division, 27 June 2006; n°06-80.103.