Media is struggling to remain profitable, apparently. Whether this may be because of outdated business models or piracy, there is still a lot of potential to be profitable. Just take a look at the possibilities in Outbreak Company.
A lot of media are using product placement to gather enough money to remain profitable or at least not make loss on their product. They use products and brands in the process to gather advertisement money. Some products are mentioned in the script, the most annoying product placement if you ask me, or the camera that is pointed towards a specific product. The latter one isn’t that big of a deal and can still get the studio or producer some decent amount of money.
Anime does the same thing. ‘K’ was a good example of product placement. Brands were present at multiple scenes and the viewer got some advertisement along the way. To make the example less abstract, look at movies such Transformers or Spiderman. Those movies use a lot of product placement throughout their run. This sort of product placement isn’t that harmful, may it be that it can function as some kind of subliminal message, but that’s another discussion.
There can be earned big sums of money with this kind of funding. Creating something beautiful and creative can be a difficult task if you don’t have the resources for it. What I find interesting though, is the usage of fake brands in anime. Fake brands that resemble real brands and are well known to the general public.
A more recent anime called Outbreak Company focuses on the otaku culture and its introduction to an audience that is unknown with the products around it. A lot of clear references are made towards existing products, the colors or designs are still different. I wonder why.
There can be multiple factors at play why this is happening. A possibility could obviously be infringement of copyrights and the costs involved. If an anime production uses trademarked names in its episodes without getting the consent of the trademark holder. This could result in a penalty fee of some sorts.
Another explanation is the fact that some brands don’t want to be associated with the product. There is some scene or multiple scenes in Outbreak company where the main character is aroused by a loli character. As a brand you wouldn’t want to be associated with a show that draws focus towards pedophilia. That could have negative impact on your brands reputation. On the other hand, Outbreak Company is focused on otaku culture, so the presence of lolicon centered themes shouldn’t be unfamiliar for the companies that roam in the realm of anime, manga and the likes.
There are still some other factors that could play, sales persons for example. A good sales person is able to draw the attention of commercial parties or advertisers. They pitch the benefits of placing a product in a show and can justify the investment from the funding parties involved. It may be a cultural aspect, I’m not sure. Perhaps anime studios don’t have a specific job placement for sales or ‘fundraising’ employees.
Apart from the points I’ve tried to discuss, there are other possibilities. Crowd funding is popular and if you can convince and reward those who chip in, a great starting budget can be at hand already. Thus resulting in a better chance of succeeding and being profitable.