Product placement is defined by the brain-substitute Wikipedia, as a “form of advertisement where branded goods or services are placed in a context usually devoid of ads, such as movies, the story line of television shows, or news programs”. Where does this fit into music? Two words – Hip hop.
There are bountiful examples in recent years, from the sublime to the ridiculous, including more than the odd chorus where name brands are dropped left, right and centre (don’t worry we’ll get onto these later), but lets start at the beginning. Hip hop, even in its early Bronx roots, has long had a traditional of pop culture references being dropped in the lyrics, everything and anything is included, because hip hop language is supposed to be the language of the every day with added word play.
In the old school those brands synonymous with a particular product service found their way in, not least because they did in normal conversation. From the Sugarhill Gang’s word association “Ho-tel, Mo-tel, Holiday Inn” on the commercial breakthrough ‘Rapper’s Delight’, to the Cold Crush Brothers ending their 1984 12” ‘Fresh, Wild, Fly & Bold’ with the words “Man, lets get outta here, its Miller time!” In the early days the dropping of products makes these lines stand out as memorable, highlighting that just as Hoover became a synonym for vacuum, ‘Miller time’ had become exchangeable for relaxing with a beer, and ‘Holiday Inn’ for hotel.
Of course this isn’t product placement, no money was exchanged, they’re just prevalent brands that found their way into the MCs consciousness. The real roots of hip hop product placement are in 1986 with the harder edged new school, and Run-DMC’s homage to their favorite trainers ‘My Adidas’, which hit the US RnB top 10. The potential was realised. . . read more . . .http://www.whatisthegrain.com/feature/hip-hop-product-placement-pt-1-my-adidas-by-run-dmc/