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Interview: Derek Peters, Managing Director of Headline Marketing Ltd

By Laura Thomas  //  Tue 6th January 2015
Headline Marketing provide branded props for TV and Film.

1. What was your first job?
Audio-visual technician in a sports centre.

2. What made you want to pursue a career in marketing?
I have always been intrigued by brand strength and the fickle ways of consumers, what turns today's number 1 brand into tomorrow's memory. I have also had a keen interest in the medium of television and I once applied for a job as a television cameraman, I wonder where I would be today if I had waited for that opening?

3. Who is you marketing hero / biggest influence?
I have the greatest respect for Theodora Levanti (Bosch). She has an amazing analytical brain and is a methodical solution finder.

4. Best marketing resource?
I am convinced on the power of television to influence our decisions, although our views on productions change and mature, the power of the suggested marketing message incorporated into and around television productions is, and will be for a long time to come, the primary, although not sole, resource...

5. Over the past 4/5 years, what implications has technology had on product placement?
Technology has enabled the ability to overlay brand logos on items within productions, and can be different for different times of screening. This opens avenues which we are only just beginning to explore.

6. How has this impacted advertisers?
In the UK, product placement is still a dark art and has an evolution process to go through. Advertisers are finding the boundaries and utilising CGI within productions that can be region specific and therefore focused and targeted.

7. How much of an affect have recent laws had on the industry in your experience (e.g. laws forbidding placement of products such as cigarettes, medicines, alcohol, etc.)?
The change in regulations allowing placement has confused the industry and restricted many of the top-spending consumer brands. Whereas products can still be supplied as branded props to create realism, paid for placement is legislated and as such only allows a narrow range of products or services that can utilise paid for placement.

8. In your opinion, why should brands get involved with Product Placement?
Product Placement is a part of the Marketing Mix and completes a campaign to reinforce a brand message or increase brand exposure. It is an easy and relatively inexpensive part of the mix but can have a huge influence on returns. When a product is placed on a show, the viewer is focused and unlikely to channel hop or to skip if using catchup, as often happens during the commercial break.

9. What do you enjoy most about working in the TV Product Placement sector of marketing?
I thoroughly enjoy the world of television and the magic that is used to create the productions we are so fascinated by. When any of my brands appear on screen, I get a real buzz.

10. What is your favourite marketing campaign?

I love the campaigns that tell a story, where the brand is a character in the plot. The one that will remain high on my list of 'most favourite' is the Nescafe Gold Blend couple ads, developed by McCann Erickson, which ran for 6 years from 1987 and became an institution on our screens.

11. The best career advice you've ever received?
Work for yourself, then you only have one person to complain to!

12. Tell us something interesting about yourself.
I was a member of the Glenshee Ski Rescue and had training sessions with the Braemar Mountain Rescue. I admire the guys of the BMR for their selfless devotion to go out into the mountains and rescue anyone in difficulty.

13. Favourite bar / pub?
The Griffin Inn in Higham Ferrers a comfortable and friendly establishment for all, that happens to be just 83 paces from my house.

14. What piece of technology could you not live without?
I live for my iPhone. We have a loving and caring relationship.

15. What are your predictions for the next 10 years in terms of how Product Placement will evolve?
With the onset of digital formats, the production industry will fragment. This will dilute content and funding. Product Placement will continue to evolve and certain productions will require brand funding to enable them to exist. There will also be an increase in brand-created content, where the brand creates and owns the production.

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