Product displacement is the removing of trademarked products from primarily visual media in order to avoid the payment of licensing fees, if the trademark owner objects, or if the broadcaster would prefer not to publicise a product for free, if the owners have not paid for it to be included in a programme.
Product displacement can also refer to brands/companies deliberately modifying their name or logo in an attempt to make people see the logo and realize that the logo/name is not correct. This extra thinking time forces people to register the real brand. This method can be more effective than product placement.
Product displacement is usually achieved via digital pixelation, though prior to the widespread availability of computer post-production, stagehands would cover up brands on bottles, etc., using tape, or by using fake labels. This was called "greeking" and the term is also used now for the digital process as well.
According to Danny Boyle, director of 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, the makers had to resort to "product displacement" when companies such as Mercedes refused to allow their products to be used in non-flattering settings. While they didn't mind having a gangster driving their cars, they objected to their products been shown in a slum setting. This forced the makers in post-production to remove logos digitally, costing "tens of thousands of pounds".
The practice of product displacement is also frequently seen on reality television programs which do not have clearance to display the logos or products of non-sponsor companies. This accounts for the frequent appearance of pixel mosaics and blurring of logo t-shirts and other instances on shows such as America's Next Top Model, Survivor, and The Real World.
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