Avaya Goes to Hollywood: Avaya Phones in Big Budget Productions

You won’t find Avaya credited anywhere in the Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB). Yet, Avaya products have been a persistent presence in Hollywood in recent years.

Our phones have actually appeared on MORE TV shows and movies in the last seven years than Leonardo Di Caprio, Jennifer Aniston, Ryan Gosling and Scarlett Johansson have for their entire careers. That’s 98 movies and 90 TV productions, for a grand total of 188 onscreen appearances for Avaya, going back to 2007.

Current shows with Avaya cameos include comedies such as Girls, How I Met Your Mother, and Parks and Recreation, thrillers such as Helix, Homeland and Damages.

Probably the best chance of catching Avaya is on the critically-acclaimed Netflix TV series House of Cards. This Washington D.C. drama stars Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, a political power broker whose machinations rely on plenty of time glued to his deskphone – an Avaya 9640 that has appeared in 3 episodes of the show so far.

On the big screen, look for Avaya phones to make an appearance in nearly 30 films over the next year. You might see an Avaya phone being trashed by a giant reptile in Godzilla, blown up by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the action flick Sabotage, or used by the undercover cops in 22 Jump Street to help catch the bad guys.

The result is that Avaya phones are exposed to hundreds of millions of moviegoers and TV watchers worldwide, albeit fleeting glimpses. And expect Avaya Scopia video conferencing to start appearing on TV shows and movies soon, too.

Actual product integrations, such as when an actor mentions a product by name or the camera lingers on the brand logo for several seconds, are as pricey as advertising buys in major publications. They can cost millions of dollars.

Product placements, on the other hand, are based around an old-fashioned barter system: give me your product for free, and as soon as possible, and depending on the camera angle, you might get very lucky.

Like most brands, Avaya relies on the expertise of a partner, Upp Entertainment Marketing.

Helmed by ex-Silicon Valley consultant, Gary Mezzatesta, Upp is one of the leading product placement and integration firms in Hollywood, counting Tabasco sauce, Samsung phones and Original Gourmet Lollipops among its other clients.

Upp is strategically located in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank, home to NBC, Disney, Warner Brothers, and the Bob Hope Airport, popular with Hollywood executives. Universal Studios, Paramount, ABC and CBS are within a 30-minute drive, even in LA’s notoriously busy traffic.

This is key, since TV and movie set designers often need to get products ASAP. Upp’s experts also comb through TV and movie scripts to find opportunities for Avaya phones to be featured, and then proactively reach out with free equipment to grateful set designers.

For as much money as there is floating around Hollywood, producers still like to keep their costs down as much as possible. This is doubly true for small-budget indie movies or TV pilots that haven’t been picked up yet for distribution. Upp is a major player in this barter system that ends up being a win-win for all parties. Especially Avaya.