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China: a goldmine for Hollywood's product placement

"This agreement with China will make it easier than ever before for U.S. studios and independent filmmakers to reach the fast-growing Chinese audience, supporting thousands of American jobs in and around the film industry."

That's U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's summary of a groundbreaking new deal between the two nations that will relax the controls on China's movie market. The agreement came at the end of leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping's visit to the US in february 2012.

A case study in the kinds of films that will benefit is "Transformers: Dark of the Moon". China was Transformers 3's most profitable market after the US, and its opening weekend set the all-time China record.

The (not totally) secret silver lining for China in Transformers 3 was all the Chinese product placement that made it into the film.

China homegrown brands Lenovo, Meters/Bonwe, TCL and Yili Milk all scored major roles in the film. The upshot: record numbers of Chinese filmgoers watching an American film featuring Chinese products.

But it wasn't just the Chinese brands that benefited. Thanks to the Transformers franchise, the Chevrolet Camaro is the muscle car of choice in China. The Transformers Camaro is so popular in fact that GM released the special bumblebee-yellow, Autobot-decaled edition Camaro model to the China market via last year's Guangzhou Auto Show. It retails for about 475.800 yuan ($75,000).

Read "Brand Channel" article...