Getting product placement in blockbuster movies is actually affordable? It sure is and we dig into it with Mark McFann from Casting a Long Shadow. Mark talks through how he’s been featured in numerous films including Salt, Avengers and Iron Man. Here’s some things we discuss in todays episode:

  • Is product placement affordable?
  • How you measure ROI 
  • What type of companies are best for product placement
  • Specifics on how to get your physical product in the next blockbuster

FULL TRANSCRIPT

RT: welcome to the products worth talking about. Main stage here. Mark appreciate. We are really excited because I’ve been working with you for a little while now on product placement and I honestly don’t really know your whole backstory. Um, and of course I know how I’m working with you, but I just think product placement and getting, you know, products in movies and on TV is the coolest thing. So I’m just excited to learn more today.

Mark: Yeah, thanks a lot. So it’s great fun and it’s been a wonderful journey just getting to this point. So

RT: yeah. So can you just tell us a little bit about yourself and like how you got into the product placement world?

Mark: Yeah, yeah. Well, I’d always been on the marketing side of things. That’s what my MBA was focused on and worked for a number of companies and different marketing capacities. And uh, my family had a small industrial lubricants business in Texas called Royal Purple and they brought me on board to develop a consumer market division. So we basically took the same technology that we had been used in the industrial side, brought it to market on the consumer side. And I wanted to do something a little bit different that no one else in the lubricant industry was doing. And that was product placement. No one was using that. But it’s a great tactic to culturalize a brand and create top of mind awareness. Right. So in the course of 10 years, we went basically from nothing to having 25,000 retailers nationwide and we were the third best selling brand of open motor oil when we sold it in 2012.

Tyler: That’s pretty cool. Tell me like, are you sitting around and you’re like, how do we, how do you drive sales? How do we get more, you know, acquisition like, like how do you come up with the product placement concept? Like we were reading an article like Kinda give me some,

Mark: um, you know, it was just kind of another marketing Arrow in the quiver. A, I think any brand that has aspirations, uh, to become at least a nationally known brand should seriously consider it. Um, but boy, that’s a great question. How did it really come about and what was the epiphany? I can’t tell you other than the fact I’ve always been a movie Fan and I’ve always noticed brands and movies, so it seemed like a logical connection. Gotcha, Gotcha. Okay.

RT: And so how did morph into you having a product placement company?

Mark: Well, the folks that saw the growth that we were having at Royal Purple, a lot of them, you know, asked me, well, what are you doing differently that other companies aren’t doing? And there were a lot of other things that we were doing. Uh, but you know, people notice the product placement, right? Because when you get things like Angelina Jolie and salt jumping jumping off of a overpass onto a moving royal purple truck, you get noticed. So we had people sniff around. And so I launched this other company focusing on product placements. And now we work with great folks like a celestial seasonings, new Belgium continental tire, and doing everything from stuff like the Avengers to things on, um, you know, Netflix and Amazon. Wow. Yes. Yeah. It’s an adventure for sure.

Tyler: So who’s your first client? So you’re doing this right, right, with your own brand, and then like, who is that first client that you’re like, let me do this for you? Um, well, uh, I guess you could say royal purple was the first client. Yeah.

Mark: After that. I don’t really recall off the top of my head. Um,

Tyler: but yeah, results, I’m sure. Yeah, I’m sure they refer their, you know, other, other people in the mystery and yeah. Well, you know, depending on the product,

Mark: like we have some clients that are project only clients and we also have clients that are regular retainer clients. The different thing, you know, there are some brands that are so nichey, it doesn’t make sense for them to try to be involved in, in every film. Um, so I think that goes back to your original question. I think we are doing stuff for magnaflow early on. Yeah. Yeah. So anyway, awesome stream of consciousness.

RT: Yeah. And what did, like when you had the first, um, client or, or one of your first clients, you know, I guess how did the relationships start and do you work with, um, the producers of the film or the, I guess like how specifically does it work?

Mark: That’s a damn good question cause I wish I had the straight answer, but the reality is it is incredibly nebulous and ambiguous. And if you’re not doing good at dealing with ambiguous ambiguity, it’s probably not for you. Um, but we work with, you know, c level folks at the studios. We work with producers, we work with prop masters and set decorators clearance coordinators and everything in between. So, you know, what we try to focus on is what would be called in kind placement. That’s the free placement where there’s no sort of quid pro quo. You’re not paying anything to be in the film. Um, cause that’s really kind of a sweet spot. And the more of those that you get, it’s heck of a lot more cost effective. But there are times to where it might make sense. You know, if there’s going to be an Avengers movie and you know that 2 billion people on the planet are going to see this thing in some form or fashion, at some point it makes sense for some folks to say, yeah, I’m going to strike a check. Let’s do it that way. Yeah, let’s get a watch on, right? Yeah. Danny Jr. Yeah, there you go.

Tyler: So we’ve got these products and all these people watching this are gonna be product people who own brands. So if they’re thinking, wow, like how do I go about doing this? Like what are the steps? Like how do we help? How do we give benefit to these people who have these products?

Mark: First thing is go out and talk to some agencies. There are a number of wonderful agencies out there. Um, there’s a great resource called Erma. It is the entertainment Resource Marketing Association. The website is e r m a.org and it lists companies like mine that specialize in product placement and also other things like celebrities and seeding and things of that ilk. But you just talk to folks and find out, you know, what are some of the things that you’ve done in the past that have been successful and you know, just kind of make sure that they’ve got some street cred. Um, you know, that’s probably the easiest way to do it. Um, if there’s an agency that is again, authentic and legitimate, they’re probably going to be involved with Erma cause it’s a, a trade organization that really strives to, you know, increase the level of professionalism with all the folks who are doing placement.

RT: And how, like from a financial perspective, you know, for our listeners, do, does it work like a PR company typically where it’s like a retainer that you pay monthly and, and you know, you as the agency tried to requesting movies as possible or do you just pay per movie or you know, what’s normal in that sense?

Mark: Well, the retainer model is still kind of the de facto norm. Um, but it really doesn’t make sense for every brand and not agency. Not every agency does it the same. Uh, we offer both the retainer option and that makes sense for brands that are more, for lack of better word, mainstream products that you see a light food, beverage, electronics. I mean there’s, you know, a reason why apple is that one of the most seen brands on the planet. It’s because phones, laptops are ubiquitous. But if it’s something like a product, let’s say Edelbrock who is a project specific client of ours, you know, their product is very niche. It’s not seen in use in case you’re wondering what Edelbrock is. It’s hard parts for cards under the hood. So for them to try to get product placement on an ongoing basis using a retainer model and kind doesn’t make sense. But for project specific or like a fast and furious, something like that sort of film. It makes sense. So kind of a long winded answer to your question though. That’s terrific.

RT: So it sounds like for most people when you’re looking at awareness and you’re trying to build brand awareness, you can have a retainer and just kind of shotgun approach, just get as much and not just movies, right, TV as well and things like that. But yeah, that’s a one option. Or if you’re really niche, you know, you can just go in and say, hey, I make car parts and I only want fast and furious and these types of movies, so I’ll pay you x for that.

Mark: Exactly. Exactly. And it’s gotta be a good foot for the brand. It doesn’t fit for all brands. Um, again, you’ve got to be good with ambiguity. You’ve gotta be good with long lead times because movies typically take anywhere from nine months to 18 months to get film produced, edited, and marketed and out there. So, uh, gotta kind of wrap your head around it and a little bit different way to traditional marketing.

Tyler: question with our team. Like how, what’s the lead time? Like, how, how do you measure return on investment to, so, you know, so you maybe put some out there and maybe a check also plus your product and you’re talking six, eight, 10, 12, 14 months. And then you measure ROI. Like how’d you do it for all people?

Mark: Well, measuring ROI is really pretty bloody simple. Uh, you, you know what the box office results are or you know, with the network result resort on, Bro presorts results are from Nielsen Ratings, etc. So, you know, what the size of the audience, all you have to do is take the amount that you spent, whether it be a retainer fee or if it’s actual paid placement. And you can do the math very simple and get your ROI, basically a CPM just like you would with any traditional advertisement.

RT: I didn’t think about it like that. So like in, in a literal example, you know, we got to watch, um, what was the, the political movie that puts calm, irresistible, irresistible. So let’s say I paid $10,000 to put a watch on one of the lead actors rays. And that movie is seen by what’s normal, 100 million people. It just depends on the movie, but then you just divide those two numbers. Exactly. Exactly. That makes total sense.

Mark: And what is great too about theatrical releases specifically is the CPM decreases over time because after it’s been seen at the theater, then it goes to streaming and DVD and hotels and air, you know, airplanes, whatever. Uh, so it’s one of the few forms of advertising and I actually decreases and CPM every point that’s out there forever. Yeah.

RT: And speaking of out there forever, does the actor or the producer or the company keep the product like in my, like if I do a watch for, you know, uh, some famous actor, do they keep it after the movie or what’s normal?

Mark: There is no normal, but, well I guess there isn’t normal. Um, if it’s a higher priced product, uh, typically it goes back to the manufacturer. A lot of things like beverages, food, things like that are considered, you know, expendables. Yeah. So once it’s done, it’s recycled or you know, whatever, you know, but there are times too where a brand may to your point, want to, you know, endear themselves to a, an actor or a director and may gift it. So it just depends on the, the needs and wants of the brand.

Tyler: So what if an entrepreneur is out there, they have a product, the early stages, maybe they have zero budget. Like is it unlikely for them to maybe reach out and do this themselves or do they need an agency in between them?

Mark: Um, it is all relationship business. So it’s not like, it’s not like going and placing a Google ad and you can’t just do it. I mean, you’ve got to know these people and know them well and know their idiosyncrasies. So I wouldn’t suggest trying it on your own. Um, going back in time to royal purple, I had actually used a UN agency, uh, for about a year, year and a half. And uh, God was them. Nice folks. Uh, but what I found is after a year and a half, what they had basically done was just introduced me to everyone and not did any of the work. So that’s when I’m like, yeah, I’m going to bring this in house. I can do it more efficiently, more effectively. Um, but um, going back to your question, you know, it is great for emerging brands cause again, when you’re an emerging brand, you’re trying to gain awareness, you’re trying to become culturally relevant and that makes good sense. But you don’t have to have a bit of a budget. But um, it’s a lot cheaper than people, you know, with think, um, we structure like our retainer fees. It depends on the product category, uh, but it’s very affordable. Um, typically we charge about the same or less than a PR firm

RT: to put it in perspective. Okay. Well and when you do that math on CPM, it might make a lot more sense to do this kind of thing. Then I’ve, I don’t want to say wasted, but feel like I’ve wasted a lot of money in, in PR for that reason that you just made where I’m paying them to just shake my hand to the person that makes a decision at the magazine or the radio or you know, wherever. Um, and, and it’s very valuable that first time, but as soon as I know the editor, you know, what am I paying for anymore? Um, so exactly. That makes, that makes a lot of sense. But it’s good to know it’s, it’s relationship based. That’s um, thankfully with the Internet today, I feel like we can create those relationships if we hustle hard enough. Right? Yeah.

Mark: Yeah. But Damn, back to the point about affordability, I had a, a recent a pending client. We’re still finalizing discussions. Uh, he wanted to talk about ROI and there is a film that I got them involved with, just sort of introduce them to the whole process. And we did the math. It’s a, um, a franchise film and I said, Hey, here is what our retainer fees would be for the entire year. Now, if this film does what the previous films have done and they’ve always done within a range of $750 million plus in business, did the math and it’s like, well your CPM for this one film that is only 11 cents. That’s yeah. Yeah. And that was just men that was paying for the entire year retainer fee and get all that back with one film.

RT: That’s amazing. Yeah. And I guess my next question is let’s say a predominant actor. Let’s just, let’s have fun with this, right? Robert Downey Jr likes watches. I get a watch on, you know, iron man and it’s in the movie and then they send it back after the movie. Um, is it weird if I, the owner of the watch company reach out to Robert Downey jr or his people or whatever and say, hey, you are this watching this movie. Would you like one as a, as a gift or as a, you know, in kind to hopefully, you know, share it, you know, now that we have a connection, is that, is it weird to try to make it a more solid connection out of that?

Mark: I wouldn’t say I’m wise enough to make judgements and you know, one thing to bear in mind is we really rarely interact directly with the actors. Like if it is a watch, it’s going to be going through a pop prop person or a wardrobe person. I may hear from that person and they may say, yeah, Joe Schmoe, you know, loved your watch or you know, Joe Schmoe didn’t think it made sense for their character, whatever it is they say, but it’s not like, you know, Robert Downey’s calling me up and saying, Hey Dick,

RT: that’d be fine. That makes sense. Yeah. So, so the, the act are basically your, your point is that the actor, whoever is actually wearing the watch or, or using the product, um, might not know anything about it. They might just have prop director comes up and says, Hey, put this on, or hey, drink this. And

Mark: yeah, and usually most, you know, alias actors, they’ve got a a hundred percent rider refusal to deny or where would ever is put in front of them. Right. But we’ve had some great success with that in the past with things like putting a branded t-shirt on an actor. But it’s because that person liked the brand. And again, it is, there’s so many levels of um, uh, I don’t want to say bureaucracy, but so many people that have their hands in the pot so to speak, like, um, the movie salt Angelina Jolie had write a refusal on any brand that was used in that film. And if you look, you don’t. really see a lot of brands that you notice other than Ducati and royal purple and you know, Brad Pitt, I assume he still drives a Ducati but used to. So I don’t know. I’m making some assumptions [inaudible] stretch.

Mark: Like what was her connection there, do you think? Like why does she go with you guys brain? That’s so interesting. I don’t really know. I can speculate all I want, but I’d be full of crap.

RT: Yeah. Yeah. But so what, what’s the success rate? You know, like if we’ll just stick with watches cause that’s what we work on rate. Um, if, if you are working with me and we’re trying to get a watch on prominent actors, mostly in movies and you pitch a hundred different films you know, what do you think is realistic fed that we get?

Mark: I wish I could give you a straight answer, but it’s really truly all over the board and it’s very much product specific. There are some product categories where I know if, you know, we send stuff out to 10 different movies that you know, it’s actually going to be used in at least seven or eight and then it might actually make the final cut of the film or show in four or five. There are other more nichey categories where it might be less. So it’s kind of all over the board. Uh, one thing that we have done with our agency, which is a little bit different, and I’m kind of hesitant to say this cause I don’t want to want to be getting a ton of calls, but if we don’t have experience in a product category and we like the brand and they like us, we want to play together, you know, we will typically do a pilot program and we’ll say, hey, for next x period of time, we’re going to do this for you pro bono with the caveat that, you know, if we get results and you know, you can legitimately say, you know, you’re feeling good about it, blah, blah, blah, blah, that had such and such time, you will come on board as an actual paying client.

RT: Um, and that’s basically what we did. You know, you and I sat down and had breakfast, right? I said I have watches and no money. So, um, but yes, it’s fun to talk about. So let’s, let’s try it. And, and then we were in a movie like six months later, so yeah. Um, thank you. Um, and maybe we should talk money after this and, and it’s by now, but it’s too early for that. It’s really cool that, um, and I think that’s what separated the conversations that we had versus like, you know, I’ve, I’ve talked to a lot of different owners of PR companies and worked with I think five different PR companies and I, I just think, you know, PR is this, it’s so hard to grasp, like the potentially nebulous, so many different things you could do and, um, you know, public relations, what does it mean and why is it $10,000 a month? You know what I mean? Um, where versus this, it’s like we’re just gonna try to put your watch on somebody risk that’s famous in a movie and it’ll work out. That’d be great. Yeah, it was just really easy for me to wrap my head around. No, sir.

Mark: Thank you. I’m glad. And again, we can’t do that with every single brand and I will try to be blatantly honest with people, maybe brutally honest at times and say, hey, this doesn’t make sense, um, for your brand and here’s why.

RT: But the resource she gave the Erma, you know, it sounds like there’s a lot of other companies like yours that exist that hopefully would do similar things. Especially I would think there’s some smaller companies as well that that might be willing to work with startups.

Mark: Yeah, for sure. And um, the great thing about this really niche-y industry product placement is by and large everyone in it, you know, is really a decent person and we all play nice together, man, you’re always going to find a jerk everywhere.

Mark: But by and large, most of the folks really want to help each other. And it’s not uncommon, you know, for me to go, Oh, I’ve just been called by, you know, such and such filmmaker and they’re looking for x. While I know I don’t have x, I can go to that Irma website. And most of the, um, product placement agencies will list their clients so I can look up and go, oh, this agency has it. Tell the producer, oh, you know, Joe Schmo has this stove that you’re looking for because we don’t have it. And again, it’s nice to be able to play nice like that with us. Surprises me, like of everything you said that this isn’t like a cutthroat industry. I forget this be cutthroat, you know, but it’s pretty well there are some cut throat folks in it and I will just leave it at that and not name names and we’ll leave the corpses where they lie. But uh, most of the people I’ve interacted with have been great. Phenomenal. That’s awesome.

RT: What advice would you have for, um, for either clients of yours or if somebody is doing this and trying to get their products in movies once the movie launches? Um, is it okay for the brand to, you know, use a clip from the movie or take a screenshot of the actor wearing the watch, you know, um, you know, obviously part of the, trying to find out for myself, but what, what is okay and not okay once the movie or the TV show is out there for the brand to do, to like cross promote.

Mark: Gotcha. Well, I will couch this by saying, first of all, I’m not an attorney. Yes. But you know, the industry, uh, by and large they understand the way it works and they want us to be successful cause it helps filmmakers to having real brands and you know, lowers their cost if they don’t have to go out and buy products or, or rent them to be in their films. So, but to get back to, to your question, it really depends on the film, how much you’re involved. If you’re a promotional partner on a film where you know, as part of your deal with placement, you said in the studio is agreed that, you know, you’ll do x to promote the film, social media campaign, sweepstakes advertising, blah, blah, blah, blah. Usually they’ll give you, you know, almost carte blanche to do any sort of posting whatever you want to do. If it’s just an in kind placement where you’re doing nothing to support the film beyond providing the product, it’s really not in the filmmaker’s best interest to let you have carte blanche to do what you want. But that said, I mean, if you’re in name, your flavor of movie fast and furious, it’s just releasing and you’re in the film, you can see it, see it in the film. Yes, of course you can, you know, through your social media, say, hey, check out the next fast and furious you’ll find our, our watch there. But if you wanted to do stuff like use clips, things about elk, it’s a much, um, stickier, wicked and it’s very contextual. And I don’t think I have enough time to go through every possible situation for sure. Maybe blanket just, yeah, be careful. Yeah. Well, and that’s when it really behooves someone to use an agency. Certainly a brand can, you know, go on their own and build the relationships over 10 years, whatever, and do this on their own. Um, but there are gonna be a lot of, you know, hard lumps and, and learning it where, you know, folks like me, I’ve made most of those mistakes probably already and can help someone learn from that and, and not make those same mistakes again.

RT: So if you’re my agency, I can say, Hey, Mark, I’m thinking about using this image on social media that has this actor that has the watch on it. Do you think that’s okay? What, who should I tag? You know, how do I do this properly? If I have an agency, I can have that conversation. If I don’t, it’s you just be careful.

Mark: Yeah, that makes sense. And also turn a two in terms of, you know, using assets for promotional type purposes. Uh, oftentimes it’s easier with television productions just because the window of time is shorter. You know, typically if you’re wanting to, uh, use, uh, uh, whatever a clip or a screen grab from a placement in a film, well number one, you’re gonna have a hard time even getting access to that because while it’s in theaters, you know, you can’t get it once you go in and take a picture of it in the theater, which is illegal and you’re going to jail for that. So don’t do that. Um, but you know,

RT: can, you know, share the social media posts of the, of the production company or, or the movie itself. And say, hey, we have a product in this movie.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. Um, I’m working with a automotive aftermarket manufacturer on, uh, the next fast and furious film. And, uh, they have product on various different vehicles and they have every right to go, oh, check out this fast and furious film. You’ll see that we’re on this car and that car and this car and cool. So yeah, there was a lot that you can do. Um, even if you’re not, you know, being a, an official promotional partner. So action items. So if somebody has a brand, they’re super excited about what they just heard, what is an extent, what would you advise them? Uh, go to Irma and check that out, poke around, go to our website, cast a long shadow.com because we do provide information pre of charge that just goes through some of the educational on product placement, the value of it, when it works, how it works, when it doesn’t work. Um, and ask a lot of questions. Uh, I would suggest talking to more than one agency. I will happily take, uh, emails and answer questions. Uh, I may not be able to answer the question when they email, but I can find the answer or find a person who has got the answer. And I’m happy to refer people into other agencies too.

RT: Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time. This was massively beneficial and you know, I’m, I’m excited. We just talked about this morning, um, Russell Crowe held a watch in his hands and said it was too nice or the movie or something like that. Um, and that’s, that’s just so cool, you know, like, just the fact that, that someone at that level held my product and decided whether or not they wanted on their wrist for a movie. Um, it is, it’s just an [inaudible] I never thought I could get. So thank you for that. And thank you for the time here. I’ve got this. This hopefully is beneficial to a lot more than just us. Beautiful. Yup. Thanks. Good.

Tyler: So you guys have your action items, so go out and look at the website he suggested, and, uh, get to work. This is exciting.

why don’t we start a podcast?

Tyler: I Dunno. Well I started a podcast because I owned a product company and I’m trying to get better. Can I be part of it? Yeah.

RT: That’s awesome. I’m super stoked because that’s exactly why I want to do it too is we both were sitting having coffee one day and you know, I’m basically complaining about how lonely entrepreneurship is. Um, and I think we realized we were just trying to solve the same problems. Yeah.

Tyler: Duplicate everything. Yeah. So we decided, hey, let’s turn on a camera. Let’s record this stuff, show people our progress as we grow as product based founders of companies and uh, let’s help some people.

RT: Let’s figure it out. So I r t this is Tyler and this is products worth talking about, a podcast about disruptive product companies and the people who built them.

Tyler: Yeah. We can’t even talk about like not sign a podcast dude is a Vlog.

RT: Like so got a whole thing going, right? Yeah. There’s lights, cameras, two cameras where you can like move in over here. It’s nuts. I’m go band. And yeah, I mean, if we’re, I think that’s everything that I do in my business. If we’re going to do it, let’s do it. Right. Yeah. You know what I mean? And we’re really trying to do this right. I’m like, it probably took us 20 minutes to stick the sticker on the wall. Um, but that’s how we look at everything. And you know, that pursuit of perfection is sometimes a bad thing as we’ve, as we’ve talked about. But also I think during that pursuit we can hit record and share the process with others and hopefully they can avoid the same problems.

Tyler: Yeah. And the difference between us and a lot of other people, I think in this space that maybe are recording stuff is we’re not experts, right? We’re not gonna claim to be experts. We have both owned several companies over the last couple of years. Um, they’ve been successful. But like there, we’re going to make mistakes, right? I mean, that’s just part of it. And we’re okay, like putting that out there and say, hey, we’re gonna make some mistakes. Yep. Watches.

RT: and you know, we’re going to figure it out. Yeah. And, uh, we’ll learn as we go. And hopefully you do too. Yeah. So backstories.

Tyler: So tell a little bit about our RT

New Speaker: Yeah. So my name’s Archie Custer. I grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Redding, Pennsylvania and went to Penn state, studied industrial engineering. And while at school I started in this franchise company called college works painting. Literally went door to door knocking on people’s doors and painting their homes that summer. That was first real, uh, entrepreneurial venture. Um, took a great job with Walmart and logistics out of school when they graduated and moved out to Colorado. Um, and kind of during all of that, my other business partner, Tyler and I had the idea for Vortic watch company. Basically we take old pocket watches. Uh, we just take these old pocket watches and turn them into wristwatches and we call it the American artists series. Every single watch is one of a kind. Um, we run the business on Shopify and we sell mostly online, a few retail stores. And you know, it’s been a basically five year journey, uh, developing a manufacturing company. We make almost all the parts here in Colorado. So trying to do all that the right way.

Tyler: That’s just so cool. Cause it’s an American company. You guys have incredible equipment at your shop. You make so many of these parts. You employ how many people you have on staff right now.

RT: There’s six of us total, three, four machines now that are worth a combined total of almost half a million dollars in equipment. I mean I’m all in. Yeah, it’s super cool. So yeah, it’s a, it’s, it’s been awesome.

Tyler: Beautiful watches too about you were getting from, so my name is Tyler. I grew up in Iowa, also a big 10 guy. I’m a Hawkeye though, baby. No, no. Penn state took my Penn state flag. This wall wasn’t gonna have that. Leave it over there. No Way. Um, had several businesses, man, I started, I was 14 years old. Um, when my first business, and I’m 37 today. So I’ve had about a job about eight months out of that life. So I’ve been doing this for awhile. I’ve been grinding awhile, um, owned a restaurant’s a chain of retail supplement stores a couple of years ago. Like three years ago, I dove head first into e-commerce, um, started building some brands, uh, recently sold one of those actually last week, which is cool. And then I’ve got a new brand launching here in a couple months and we’re gonna really document that on this show as well and show the process, but super excited about that. So, yeah, last couple of years I’ve been in ecommerce, um, basically building websites and doing a lot of different, uh, models there.

RT: And when we first met, you know, we connected on all that stuff as, as well as, you know, I’m, I’m a month out from having my second son. You already have two. And we both have girlfriends, um, that we’re not married but have, you know, two kids each. So we’ll figure that out and you’ll see that process, uh, come through in our personal lives as well. And, um, you know, it’s just so funny how much we have in common outside of business, um, that we said, you know, let’s just spend more time with each other and lock ourselves in a basement and hit records. So yeah, welcome products we’re talking about.

Tyler: Yeah. So I guess, uh, yeah, so, uh, the format of the show is cool. So we’re committed to doing four shows a month. Um, the format is essentially this. So we’ve got one episode where we’re going to interview founders. We’ve got a great network of people we’re going to tap into for that. Yep. Um, one episode is going to be, uh, I guess experts or people maybe that, you know, if we need like influencer expert or a Facebook ads expert, we’re going to reach out to this person, have them on the show, walk through stuff. Yeah. Um, the exciting one is where we dig into the back of these companies. So we find a product based businesses, they’re doing really well and try to figure out why. And so we use a bunch of great software technology to do that and we put that out there for all you guys to see, which is super cool. Yeah.

RT: And I think, you know, we have a few different audience members in mind. You know, there, there’s people like us, right, that, that want to learn from other people like us and kind of grab some of those best practices. Then there’s also, I think going to be people that are watching that just might like to see, uh, cool products. Um, you know, people that watch shark tank for just the, the thrill of it. Right. And so, um, you know, we, we want to be entertaining to, to those people as well. Um, and then there’s a lot of people out there and I interact with them all the time, which is you have a really good idea or you know, you have a product kind of in the conceptual phase. Um, but you just don’t know how to get started or you don’t know how to launch that Shopify store. You don’t know how to make it, you know, whatever. Um, and hopefully we can help some of those people as well. So a lot of different, uh, hopeful audience members that are watching and learning and um, you know, we’re to try to give everyone a little bit of that time and um, you’d just be entertaining as well.

Tyler: Yeah. Um, so I think the biggest thing here is that we’re all in on this, like Artie said, and so we’re going to try to invest everything we learn. We’re going to put it back out to you guys in the form of obviously video, podcasts, all sorts of websites. So products worth talking about.com. We’re going to invest a lot into that and they show us very specific examples and ideas of how to grow your product base business or how to get started. You know, we’ve actually developed a get started section that we’re working on right now. Um, so if you don’t have an idea, you know, if you just wanna like be an entrepreneur, you hate your nine to five, maybe you want to side hustle. We’re coming up with a really cool platform for that just to get people started. Um, with some easy concepts and get their feet wet with entrepreneurship.

RT: Absolutely. And you know, one of the things I’m really excited about it as a basically a business plan template and a pitch deck template and you know, some of those things that you and I have done a whole bunch of times. Um, and we can just put that on paper and share it with people that hopefully those things are really valuable. Um, but at the same time, hit us up with feedback. I mean comments on Youtube, uh, we’re on Instagram and Facebook all over. Um, just let us know what you think. Let us know if you see a product company or a person that we should interview, you know, let us know and we’ll go track them down and find them and get them here at the table with us and figure out how they did it. And that’s the thing. I’m the most excited.

Tyler: Yeah. Yeah. And the format of our one show where we actually break down the companies, we actually have a scorecard called the beer scorecard. Yeah. Which is super cool. And the idea is that we subjectively go through a lot of criteria at the end. We have a beer score. Yeah. That is our, the final score. The highest score is the founder we’re going to reach out to and try to have a beer with and have them on show and just figure out how they did it. Yeah. Sometimes just sitting down with these successful founders. The best way to do it,.

RT: I just motivational too, you know, and, and just inspirational to see how they did it and see that they’re just a normal person just like us. So if they can figure it out, we can too. So that’s products worth talking about products we’re talking about. Dot Com, youtube, Instagram, Facebook, et cetera. Um, go check us out and let us know what else you want to see. And that’s a wrap on episode number one of products worth talking about. Thanks so much for watching and make sure you subscribe to our email newsletter so you get alerted when episode two comes out. Hit us up on social media anytime products worth talking about. We’ll see you next time

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

RT: welcome to the products worth talking about. Main stage here. Mark appreciate. We are really excited because I’ve been working with you for a little while now on product placement and I honestly don’t really know your whole backstory. Um, and of course I know how I’m working with you, but I just think product placement and getting, you know, products in movies and on TV is the coolest thing. So I’m just excited to learn more today.

Mark: Yeah, thanks a lot. So it’s great fun and it’s been a wonderful journey just getting to this point. So

RT: yeah. So can you just tell us a little bit about yourself and like how you got into the product placement world?

Mark: Yeah, yeah. Well, I’d always been on the marketing side of things. That’s what my MBA was focused on and worked for a number of companies and different marketing capacities. And uh, my family had a small industrial lubricants business in Texas called Royal Purple and they brought me on board to develop a consumer market division. So we basically took the same technology that we had been used in the industrial side, brought it to market on the consumer side. And I wanted to do something a little bit different that no one else in the lubricant industry was doing. And that was product placement. No one was using that. But it’s a great tactic to culturalize a brand and create top of mind awareness. Right. So in the course of 10 years, we went basically from nothing to having 25,000 retailers nationwide and we were the third best selling brand of open motor oil when we sold it in 2012.

Tyler: That’s pretty cool. Tell me like, are you sitting around and you’re like, how do we, how do you drive sales? How do we get more, you know, acquisition like, like how do you come up with the product placement concept? Like we were reading an article like Kinda give me some,

Mark: um, you know, it was just kind of another marketing Arrow in the quiver. A, I think any brand that has aspirations, uh, to become at least a nationally known brand should seriously consider it. Um, but boy, that’s a great question. How did it really come about and what was the epiphany? I can’t tell you other than the fact I’ve always been a movie Fan and I’ve always noticed brands and movies, so it seemed like a logical connection. Gotcha, Gotcha. Okay.

RT: And so how did morph into you having a product placement company?

Mark: Well, the folks that saw the growth that we were having at Royal Purple, a lot of them, you know, asked me, well, what are you doing differently that other companies aren’t doing? And there were a lot of other things that we were doing. Uh, but you know, people notice the product placement, right? Because when you get things like Angelina Jolie and salt jumping jumping off of a overpass onto a moving royal purple truck, you get noticed. So we had people sniff around. And so I launched this other company focusing on product placements. And now we work with great folks like a celestial seasonings, new Belgium continental tire, and doing everything from stuff like the Avengers to things on, um, you know, Netflix and Amazon. Wow. Yes. Yeah. It’s an adventure for sure.

Tyler: So who’s your first client? So you’re doing this right, right, with your own brand, and then like, who is that first client that you’re like, let me do this for you? Um, well, uh, I guess you could say royal purple was the first client. Yeah.

Mark: After that. I don’t really recall off the top of my head. Um,

Tyler: but yeah, results, I’m sure. Yeah, I’m sure they refer their, you know, other, other people in the mystery and yeah. Well, you know, depending on the product,

Mark: like we have some clients that are project only clients and we also have clients that are regular retainer clients. The different thing, you know, there are some brands that are so nichey, it doesn’t make sense for them to try to be involved in, in every film. Um, so I think that goes back to your original question. I think we are doing stuff for magnaflow early on. Yeah. Yeah. So anyway, awesome stream of consciousness.

RT: Yeah. And what did, like when you had the first, um, client or, or one of your first clients, you know, I guess how did the relationships start and do you work with, um, the producers of the film or the, I guess like how specifically does it work?

Mark: That’s a damn good question cause I wish I had the straight answer, but the reality is it is incredibly nebulous and ambiguous. And if you’re not doing good at dealing with ambiguous ambiguity, it’s probably not for you. Um, but we work with, you know, c level folks at the studios. We work with producers, we work with prop masters and set decorators clearance coordinators and everything in between. So, you know, what we try to focus on is what would be called in kind placement. That’s the free placement where there’s no sort of quid pro quo. You’re not paying anything to be in the film. Um, cause that’s really kind of a sweet spot. And the more of those that you get, it’s heck of a lot more cost effective. But there are times to where it might make sense. You know, if there’s going to be an Avengers movie and you know that 2 billion people on the planet are going to see this thing in some form or fashion, at some point it makes sense for some folks to say, yeah, I’m going to strike a check. Let’s do it that way. Yeah, let’s get a watch on, right? Yeah. Danny Jr. Yeah, there you go.

Tyler: So we’ve got these products and all these people watching this are gonna be product people who own brands. So if they’re thinking, wow, like how do I go about doing this? Like what are the steps? Like how do we help? How do we give benefit to these people who have these products?

Mark: First thing is go out and talk to some agencies. There are a number of wonderful agencies out there. Um, there’s a great resource called Erma. It is the entertainment Resource Marketing Association. The website is e r m a.org and it lists companies like mine that specialize in product placement and also other things like celebrities and seeding and things of that ilk. But you just talk to folks and find out, you know, what are some of the things that you’ve done in the past that have been successful and you know, just kind of make sure that they’ve got some street cred. Um, you know, that’s probably the easiest way to do it. Um, if there’s an agency that is again, authentic and legitimate, they’re probably going to be involved with Erma cause it’s a, a trade organization that really strives to, you know, increase the level of professionalism with all the folks who are doing placement.

RT: And how, like from a financial perspective, you know, for our listeners, do, does it work like a PR company typically where it’s like a retainer that you pay monthly and, and you know, you as the agency tried to requesting movies as possible or do you just pay per movie or you know, what’s normal in that sense?

Mark: Well, the retainer model is still kind of the de facto norm. Um, but it really doesn’t make sense for every brand and not agency. Not every agency does it the same. Uh, we offer both the retainer option and that makes sense for brands that are more, for lack of better word, mainstream products that you see a light food, beverage, electronics. I mean there’s, you know, a reason why apple is that one of the most seen brands on the planet. It’s because phones, laptops are ubiquitous. But if it’s something like a product, let’s say Edelbrock who is a project specific client of ours, you know, their product is very niche. It’s not seen in use in case you’re wondering what Edelbrock is. It’s hard parts for cards under the hood. So for them to try to get product placement on an ongoing basis using a retainer model and kind doesn’t make sense. But for project specific or like a fast and furious, something like that sort of film. It makes sense. So kind of a long winded answer to your question though. That’s terrific.

RT: So it sounds like for most people when you’re looking at awareness and you’re trying to build brand awareness, you can have a retainer and just kind of shotgun approach, just get as much and not just movies, right, TV as well and things like that. But yeah, that’s a one option. Or if you’re really niche, you know, you can just go in and say, hey, I make car parts and I only want fast and furious and these types of movies, so I’ll pay you x for that.

Mark: Exactly. Exactly. And it’s gotta be a good foot for the brand. It doesn’t fit for all brands. Um, again, you’ve got to be good with ambiguity. You’ve gotta be good with long lead times because movies typically take anywhere from nine months to 18 months to get film produced, edited, and marketed and out there. So, uh, gotta kind of wrap your head around it and a little bit different way to traditional marketing.

Tyler: question with our team. Like how, what’s the lead time? Like, how, how do you measure return on investment to, so, you know, so you maybe put some out there and maybe a check also plus your product and you’re talking six, eight, 10, 12, 14 months. And then you measure ROI. Like how’d you do it for all people?

Mark: Well, measuring ROI is really pretty bloody simple. Uh, you, you know what the box office results are or you know, with the network result resort on, Bro presorts results are from Nielsen Ratings, etc. So, you know, what the size of the audience, all you have to do is take the amount that you spent, whether it be a retainer fee or if it’s actual paid placement. And you can do the math very simple and get your ROI, basically a CPM just like you would with any traditional advertisement.

RT: I didn’t think about it like that. So like in, in a literal example, you know, we got to watch, um, what was the, the political movie that puts calm, irresistible, irresistible. So let’s say I paid $10,000 to put a watch on one of the lead actors rays. And that movie is seen by what’s normal, 100 million people. It just depends on the movie, but then you just divide those two numbers. Exactly. Exactly. That makes total sense.

Mark: And what is great too about theatrical releases specifically is the CPM decreases over time because after it’s been seen at the theater, then it goes to streaming and DVD and hotels and air, you know, airplanes, whatever. Uh, so it’s one of the few forms of advertising and I actually decreases and CPM every point that’s out there forever. Yeah.

RT: And speaking of out there forever, does the actor or the producer or the company keep the product like in my, like if I do a watch for, you know, uh, some famous actor, do they keep it after the movie or what’s normal?

Mark: There is no normal, but, well I guess there isn’t normal. Um, if it’s a higher priced product, uh, typically it goes back to the manufacturer. A lot of things like beverages, food, things like that are considered, you know, expendables. Yeah. So once it’s done, it’s recycled or you know, whatever, you know, but there are times too where a brand may to your point, want to, you know, endear themselves to a, an actor or a director and may gift it. So it just depends on the, the needs and wants of the brand.

Tyler: So what if an entrepreneur is out there, they have a product, the early stages, maybe they have zero budget. Like is it unlikely for them to maybe reach out and do this themselves or do they need an agency in between them?

Mark: Um, it is all relationship business. So it’s not like, it’s not like going and placing a Google ad and you can’t just do it. I mean, you’ve got to know these people and know them well and know their idiosyncrasies. So I wouldn’t suggest trying it on your own. Um, going back in time to royal purple, I had actually used a UN agency, uh, for about a year, year and a half. And uh, God was them. Nice folks. Uh, but what I found is after a year and a half, what they had basically done was just introduced me to everyone and not did any of the work. So that’s when I’m like, yeah, I’m going to bring this in house. I can do it more efficiently, more effectively. Um, but um, going back to your question, you know, it is great for emerging brands cause again, when you’re an emerging brand, you’re trying to gain awareness, you’re trying to become culturally relevant and that makes good sense. But you don’t have to have a bit of a budget. But um, it’s a lot cheaper than people, you know, with think, um, we structure like our retainer fees. It depends on the product category, uh, but it’s very affordable. Um, typically we charge about the same or less than a PR firm

RT: to put it in perspective. Okay. Well and when you do that math on CPM, it might make a lot more sense to do this kind of thing. Then I’ve, I don’t want to say wasted, but feel like I’ve wasted a lot of money in, in PR for that reason that you just made where I’m paying them to just shake my hand to the person that makes a decision at the magazine or the radio or you know, wherever. Um, and, and it’s very valuable that first time, but as soon as I know the editor, you know, what am I paying for anymore? Um, so exactly. That makes, that makes a lot of sense. But it’s good to know it’s, it’s relationship based. That’s um, thankfully with the Internet today, I feel like we can create those relationships if we hustle hard enough. Right? Yeah.

Mark: Yeah. But Damn, back to the point about affordability, I had a, a recent a pending client. We’re still finalizing discussions. Uh, he wanted to talk about ROI and there is a film that I got them involved with, just sort of introduce them to the whole process. And we did the math. It’s a, um, a franchise film and I said, Hey, here is what our retainer fees would be for the entire year. Now, if this film does what the previous films have done and they’ve always done within a range of $750 million plus in business, did the math and it’s like, well your CPM for this one film that is only 11 cents. That’s yeah. Yeah. And that was just men that was paying for the entire year retainer fee and get all that back with one film.

RT: That’s amazing. Yeah. And I guess my next question is let’s say a predominant actor. Let’s just, let’s have fun with this, right? Robert Downey Jr likes watches. I get a watch on, you know, iron man and it’s in the movie and then they send it back after the movie. Um, is it weird if I, the owner of the watch company reach out to Robert Downey jr or his people or whatever and say, hey, you are this watching this movie. Would you like one as a, as a gift or as a, you know, in kind to hopefully, you know, share it, you know, now that we have a connection, is that, is it weird to try to make it a more solid connection out of that?

Mark: I wouldn’t say I’m wise enough to make judgements and you know, one thing to bear in mind is we really rarely interact directly with the actors. Like if it is a watch, it’s going to be going through a pop prop person or a wardrobe person. I may hear from that person and they may say, yeah, Joe Schmoe, you know, loved your watch or you know, Joe Schmoe didn’t think it made sense for their character, whatever it is they say, but it’s not like, you know, Robert Downey’s calling me up and saying, Hey Dick,

RT: that’d be fine. That makes sense. Yeah. So, so the, the act are basically your, your point is that the actor, whoever is actually wearing the watch or, or using the product, um, might not know anything about it. They might just have prop director comes up and says, Hey, put this on, or hey, drink this. And

Mark: yeah, and usually most, you know, alias actors, they’ve got a a hundred percent rider refusal to deny or where would ever is put in front of them. Right. But we’ve had some great success with that in the past with things like putting a branded t-shirt on an actor. But it’s because that person liked the brand. And again, it is, there’s so many levels of um, uh, I don’t want to say bureaucracy, but so many people that have their hands in the pot so to speak, like, um, the movie salt Angelina Jolie had write a refusal on any brand that was used in that film. And if you look, you don’t. really see a lot of brands that you notice other than Ducati and royal purple and you know, Brad Pitt, I assume he still drives a Ducati but used to. So I don’t know. I’m making some assumptions [inaudible] stretch.

Mark: Like what was her connection there, do you think? Like why does she go with you guys brain? That’s so interesting. I don’t really know. I can speculate all I want, but I’d be full of crap.

RT: Yeah. Yeah. But so what, what’s the success rate? You know, like if we’ll just stick with watches cause that’s what we work on rate. Um, if, if you are working with me and we’re trying to get a watch on prominent actors, mostly in movies and you pitch a hundred different films you know, what do you think is realistic fed that we get?

Mark: I wish I could give you a straight answer, but it’s really truly all over the board and it’s very much product specific. There are some product categories where I know if, you know, we send stuff out to 10 different movies that you know, it’s actually going to be used in at least seven or eight and then it might actually make the final cut of the film or show in four or five. There are other more nichey categories where it might be less. So it’s kind of all over the board. Uh, one thing that we have done with our agency, which is a little bit different, and I’m kind of hesitant to say this cause I don’t want to want to be getting a ton of calls, but if we don’t have experience in a product category and we like the brand and they like us, we want to play together, you know, we will typically do a pilot program and we’ll say, hey, for next x period of time, we’re going to do this for you pro bono with the caveat that, you know, if we get results and you know, you can legitimately say, you know, you’re feeling good about it, blah, blah, blah, blah, that had such and such time, you will come on board as an actual paying client.

RT: Um, and that’s basically what we did. You know, you and I sat down and had breakfast, right? I said I have watches and no money. So, um, but yes, it’s fun to talk about. So let’s, let’s try it. And, and then we were in a movie like six months later, so yeah. Um, thank you. Um, and maybe we should talk money after this and, and it’s by now, but it’s too early for that. It’s really cool that, um, and I think that’s what separated the conversations that we had versus like, you know, I’ve, I’ve talked to a lot of different owners of PR companies and worked with I think five different PR companies and I, I just think, you know, PR is this, it’s so hard to grasp, like the potentially nebulous, so many different things you could do and, um, you know, public relations, what does it mean and why is it $10,000 a month? You know what I mean? Um, where versus this, it’s like we’re just gonna try to put your watch on somebody risk that’s famous in a movie and it’ll work out. That’d be great. Yeah, it was just really easy for me to wrap my head around. No, sir.

Mark: Thank you. I’m glad. And again, we can’t do that with every single brand and I will try to be blatantly honest with people, maybe brutally honest at times and say, hey, this doesn’t make sense, um, for your brand and here’s why.

RT: But the resource she gave the Erma, you know, it sounds like there’s a lot of other companies like yours that exist that hopefully would do similar things. Especially I would think there’s some smaller companies as well that that might be willing to work with startups.

Mark: Yeah, for sure. And um, the great thing about this really niche-y industry product placement is by and large everyone in it, you know, is really a decent person and we all play nice together, man, you’re always going to find a jerk everywhere.

Mark: But by and large, most of the folks really want to help each other. And it’s not uncommon, you know, for me to go, Oh, I’ve just been called by, you know, such and such filmmaker and they’re looking for x. While I know I don’t have x, I can go to that Irma website. And most of the, um, product placement agencies will list their clients so I can look up and go, oh, this agency has it. Tell the producer, oh, you know, Joe Schmo has this stove that you’re looking for because we don’t have it. And again, it’s nice to be able to play nice like that with us. Surprises me, like of everything you said that this isn’t like a cutthroat industry. I forget this be cutthroat, you know, but it’s pretty well there are some cut throat folks in it and I will just leave it at that and not name names and we’ll leave the corpses where they lie. But uh, most of the people I’ve interacted with have been great. Phenomenal. That’s awesome.

RT: What advice would you have for, um, for either clients of yours or if somebody is doing this and trying to get their products in movies once the movie launches? Um, is it okay for the brand to, you know, use a clip from the movie or take a screenshot of the actor wearing the watch, you know, um, you know, obviously part of the, trying to find out for myself, but what, what is okay and not okay once the movie or the TV show is out there for the brand to do, to like cross promote.

Mark: Gotcha. Well, I will couch this by saying, first of all, I’m not an attorney. Yes. But you know, the industry, uh, by and large they understand the way it works and they want us to be successful cause it helps filmmakers to having real brands and you know, lowers their cost if they don’t have to go out and buy products or, or rent them to be in their films. So, but to get back to, to your question, it really depends on the film, how much you’re involved. If you’re a promotional partner on a film where you know, as part of your deal with placement, you said in the studio is agreed that, you know, you’ll do x to promote the film, social media campaign, sweepstakes advertising, blah, blah, blah, blah. Usually they’ll give you, you know, almost carte blanche to do any sort of posting whatever you want to do. If it’s just an in kind placement where you’re doing nothing to support the film beyond providing the product, it’s really not in the filmmaker’s best interest to let you have carte blanche to do what you want. But that said, I mean, if you’re in name, your flavor of movie fast and furious, it’s just releasing and you’re in the film, you can see it, see it in the film. Yes, of course you can, you know, through your social media, say, hey, check out the next fast and furious you’ll find our, our watch there. But if you wanted to do stuff like use clips, things about elk, it’s a much, um, stickier, wicked and it’s very contextual. And I don’t think I have enough time to go through every possible situation for sure. Maybe blanket just, yeah, be careful. Yeah. Well, and that’s when it really behooves someone to use an agency. Certainly a brand can, you know, go on their own and build the relationships over 10 years, whatever, and do this on their own. Um, but there are gonna be a lot of, you know, hard lumps and, and learning it where, you know, folks like me, I’ve made most of those mistakes probably already and can help someone learn from that and, and not make those same mistakes again.

RT: So if you’re my agency, I can say, Hey, Mark, I’m thinking about using this image on social media that has this actor that has the watch on it. Do you think that’s okay? What, who should I tag? You know, how do I do this properly? If I have an agency, I can have that conversation. If I don’t, it’s you just be careful.

Mark: Yeah, that makes sense. And also turn a two in terms of, you know, using assets for promotional type purposes. Uh, oftentimes it’s easier with television productions just because the window of time is shorter. You know, typically if you’re wanting to, uh, use, uh, uh, whatever a clip or a screen grab from a placement in a film, well number one, you’re gonna have a hard time even getting access to that because while it’s in theaters, you know, you can’t get it once you go in and take a picture of it in the theater, which is illegal and you’re going to jail for that. So don’t do that. Um, but you know,

RT: can, you know, share the social media posts of the, of the production company or, or the movie itself. And say, hey, we have a product in this movie.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. Um, I’m working with a automotive aftermarket manufacturer on, uh, the next fast and furious film. And, uh, they have product on various different vehicles and they have every right to go, oh, check out this fast and furious film. You’ll see that we’re on this car and that car and this car and cool. So yeah, there was a lot that you can do. Um, even if you’re not, you know, being a, an official promotional partner. So action items. So if somebody has a brand, they’re super excited about what they just heard, what is an extent, what would you advise them? Uh, go to Irma and check that out, poke around, go to our website, cast a long shadow.com because we do provide information pre of charge that just goes through some of the educational on product placement, the value of it, when it works, how it works, when it doesn’t work. Um, and ask a lot of questions. Uh, I would suggest talking to more than one agency. I will happily take, uh, emails and answer questions. Uh, I may not be able to answer the question when they email, but I can find the answer or find a person who has got the answer. And I’m happy to refer people into other agencies too.

RT: Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time. This was massively beneficial and you know, I’m, I’m excited. We just talked about this morning, um, Russell Crowe held a watch in his hands and said it was too nice or the movie or something like that. Um, and that’s, that’s just so cool, you know, like, just the fact that, that someone at that level held my product and decided whether or not they wanted on their wrist for a movie. Um, it is, it’s just an [inaudible] I never thought I could get. So thank you for that. And thank you for the time here. I’ve got this. This hopefully is beneficial to a lot more than just us. Beautiful. Yup. Thanks. Good.

Tyler: So you guys have your action items, so go out and look at the website he suggested, and, uh, get to work. This is exciting.

why don’t we start a podcast?

Tyler: I Dunno. Well I started a podcast because I owned a product company and I’m trying to get better. Can I be part of it? Yeah.

RT: That’s awesome. I’m super stoked because that’s exactly why I want to do it too is we both were sitting having coffee one day and you know, I’m basically complaining about how lonely entrepreneurship is. Um, and I think we realized we were just trying to solve the same problems. Yeah.

Tyler: Duplicate everything. Yeah. So we decided, hey, let’s turn on a camera. Let’s record this stuff, show people our progress as we grow as product based founders of companies and uh, let’s help some people.

RT: Let’s figure it out. So I r t this is Tyler and this is products worth talking about, a podcast about disruptive product companies and the people who built them.

Tyler: Yeah. We can’t even talk about like not sign a podcast dude is a Vlog.

RT: Like so got a whole thing going, right? Yeah. There’s lights, cameras, two cameras where you can like move in over here. It’s nuts. I’m go band. And yeah, I mean, if we’re, I think that’s everything that I do in my business. If we’re going to do it, let’s do it. Right. Yeah. You know what I mean? And we’re really trying to do this right. I’m like, it probably took us 20 minutes to stick the sticker on the wall. Um, but that’s how we look at everything. And you know, that pursuit of perfection is sometimes a bad thing as we’ve, as we’ve talked about. But also I think during that pursuit we can hit record and share the process with others and hopefully they can avoid the same problems.

Tyler: Yeah. And the difference between us and a lot of other people, I think in this space that maybe are recording stuff is we’re not experts, right? We’re not gonna claim to be experts. We have both owned several companies over the last couple of years. Um, they’ve been successful. But like there, we’re going to make mistakes, right? I mean, that’s just part of it. And we’re okay, like putting that out there and say, hey, we’re gonna make some mistakes. Yep. Watches.

RT: and you know, we’re going to figure it out. Yeah. And, uh, we’ll learn as we go. And hopefully you do too. Yeah. So backstories.

Tyler: So tell a little bit about our RT

New Speaker: Yeah. So my name’s Archie Custer. I grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Redding, Pennsylvania and went to Penn state, studied industrial engineering. And while at school I started in this franchise company called college works painting. Literally went door to door knocking on people’s doors and painting their homes that summer. That was first real, uh, entrepreneurial venture. Um, took a great job with Walmart and logistics out of school when they graduated and moved out to Colorado. Um, and kind of during all of that, my other business partner, Tyler and I had the idea for Vortic watch company. Basically we take old pocket watches. Uh, we just take these old pocket watches and turn them into wristwatches and we call it the American artists series. Every single watch is one of a kind. Um, we run the business on Shopify and we sell mostly online, a few retail stores. And you know, it’s been a basically five year journey, uh, developing a manufacturing company. We make almost all the parts here in Colorado. So trying to do all that the right way.

Tyler: That’s just so cool. Cause it’s an American company. You guys have incredible equipment at your shop. You make so many of these parts. You employ how many people you have on staff right now.

RT: There’s six of us total, three, four machines now that are worth a combined total of almost half a million dollars in equipment. I mean I’m all in. Yeah, it’s super cool. So yeah, it’s a, it’s, it’s been awesome.

Tyler: Beautiful watches too about you were getting from, so my name is Tyler. I grew up in Iowa, also a big 10 guy. I’m a Hawkeye though, baby. No, no. Penn state took my Penn state flag. This wall wasn’t gonna have that. Leave it over there. No Way. Um, had several businesses, man, I started, I was 14 years old. Um, when my first business, and I’m 37 today. So I’ve had about a job about eight months out of that life. So I’ve been doing this for awhile. I’ve been grinding awhile, um, owned a restaurant’s a chain of retail supplement stores a couple of years ago. Like three years ago, I dove head first into e-commerce, um, started building some brands, uh, recently sold one of those actually last week, which is cool. And then I’ve got a new brand launching here in a couple months and we’re gonna really document that on this show as well and show the process, but super excited about that. So, yeah, last couple of years I’ve been in ecommerce, um, basically building websites and doing a lot of different, uh, models there.

RT: And when we first met, you know, we connected on all that stuff as, as well as, you know, I’m, I’m a month out from having my second son. You already have two. And we both have girlfriends, um, that we’re not married but have, you know, two kids each. So we’ll figure that out and you’ll see that process, uh, come through in our personal lives as well. And, um, you know, it’s just so funny how much we have in common outside of business, um, that we said, you know, let’s just spend more time with each other and lock ourselves in a basement and hit records. So yeah, welcome products we’re talking about.

Tyler: Yeah. So I guess, uh, yeah, so, uh, the format of the show is cool. So we’re committed to doing four shows a month. Um, the format is essentially this. So we’ve got one episode where we’re going to interview founders. We’ve got a great network of people we’re going to tap into for that. Yep. Um, one episode is going to be, uh, I guess experts or people maybe that, you know, if we need like influencer expert or a Facebook ads expert, we’re going to reach out to this person, have them on the show, walk through stuff. Yeah. Um, the exciting one is where we dig into the back of these companies. So we find a product based businesses, they’re doing really well and try to figure out why. And so we use a bunch of great software technology to do that and we put that out there for all you guys to see, which is super cool. Yeah.

RT: And I think, you know, we have a few different audience members in mind. You know, there, there’s people like us, right, that, that want to learn from other people like us and kind of grab some of those best practices. Then there’s also, I think going to be people that are watching that just might like to see, uh, cool products. Um, you know, people that watch shark tank for just the, the thrill of it. Right. And so, um, you know, we, we want to be entertaining to, to those people as well. Um, and then there’s a lot of people out there and I interact with them all the time, which is you have a really good idea or you know, you have a product kind of in the conceptual phase. Um, but you just don’t know how to get started or you don’t know how to launch that Shopify store. You don’t know how to make it, you know, whatever. Um, and hopefully we can help some of those people as well. So a lot of different, uh, hopeful audience members that are watching and learning and um, you know, we’re to try to give everyone a little bit of that time and um, you’d just be entertaining as well.

Tyler: Yeah. Um, so I think the biggest thing here is that we’re all in on this, like Artie said, and so we’re going to try to invest everything we learn. We’re going to put it back out to you guys in the form of obviously video, podcasts, all sorts of websites. So products worth talking about.com. We’re going to invest a lot into that and they show us very specific examples and ideas of how to grow your product base business or how to get started. You know, we’ve actually developed a get started section that we’re working on right now. Um, so if you don’t have an idea, you know, if you just wanna like be an entrepreneur, you hate your nine to five, maybe you want to side hustle. We’re coming up with a really cool platform for that just to get people started. Um, with some easy concepts and get their feet wet with entrepreneurship.

RT: Absolutely. And you know, one of the things I’m really excited about it as a basically a business plan template and a pitch deck template and you know, some of those things that you and I have done a whole bunch of times. Um, and we can just put that on paper and share it with people that hopefully those things are really valuable. Um, but at the same time, hit us up with feedback. I mean comments on Youtube, uh, we’re on Instagram and Facebook all over. Um, just let us know what you think. Let us know if you see a product company or a person that we should interview, you know, let us know and we’ll go track them down and find them and get them here at the table with us and figure out how they did it. And that’s the thing. I’m the most excited.

Tyler: Yeah. Yeah. And the format of our one show where we actually break down the companies, we actually have a scorecard called the beer scorecard. Yeah. Which is super cool. And the idea is that we subjectively go through a lot of criteria at the end. We have a beer score. Yeah. That is our, the final score. The highest score is the founder we’re going to reach out to and try to have a beer with and have them on show and just figure out how they did it. Yeah. Sometimes just sitting down with these successful founders. The best way to do it,.

RT: I just motivational too, you know, and, and just inspirational to see how they did it and see that they’re just a normal person just like us. So if they can figure it out, we can too. So that’s products worth talking about products we’re talking about. Dot Com, youtube, Instagram, Facebook, et cetera. Um, go check us out and let us know what else you want to see. And that’s a wrap on episode number one of products worth talking about. Thanks so much for watching and make sure you subscribe to our email newsletter so you get alerted when episode two comes out. Hit us up on social media anytime products worth talking about. We’ll see you next time

 

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