If you haven’t already, begin by watching the 1 minute clip above from a popular Iron Man 2 fight scene.

Notice any particular product placement in this Iron Man 2 clip? Before I reveal what the product placement was, let’s quickly analyze why an advertiser would find appeal in placing a product in this scene in the first place. In its opening weekend, the first Iron Man movie grossed $98 million in the United States and Canada, ranking number one at the box office. It grossed $35.2 million just on its first day, giving it the 13th-biggest opening day. Getting your product/logo a spot in the, much anticipated, sequel to such a successful movie is the first appealing aspect. Getting it placed during a major fight scene where Iron Man takes on and loses to nemesis Whiplash, seems to become an opportunity you’d be foolish to pass up!

If you haven’t already figured it out, the product placement is a banner hung on the wall directly behind the action sequences which advertised for “Johnnie Walker”, a well-known brand of whiskey. According to one source, between the placement here  and very brief appearances in other scenes, it cost close to a million dollars! Let’s try to get a better idea if whether the cost was entirely worth it; take a look at the video below that displays where the 10 recorded participants looked as they watched the same movie clip that you just did.

After analyzing, we found that of the time the logo was featured it received 1.6% visual traffic and of the same participants, 0 out of 10 remembered the product placement after watching the initial clip. This seems like a crucial bit of information that I would have wanted to know, as the media buyer for Johnnie Walker, before signing a check.

The advertising industry is roughly a $131 billion industry where product placement spending accounts for roughly $4 billion and rising. Without the ability to measure visual traffic or consumer responses to certain ads, companies are left to place products based on criteria such as popularity of the show or box office hype. Johnnie Walker probably had the right idea buying advertising time in a movie expected to gross over $100 million opening night in the U.S. alone, but after seeing it tested on a group of participants, would they have thought twice?

The big question still remains, are product placements getting the return on investment they are chalked up to get? We now have the capabilities to find that out before it’s too late!