Concave Brand Tracking looks at the 10 movies that generated the most product placement value for brands in 2020. 
14th March 2021 
Concave Brand Tracking has combed through all 4 seasons of HOUSE OF CARDS, recording all recognizable Branded products that appeared in them. We observed how visible the products were, whether or not their logos/names were visible and how long they were on screen, as well as an array of contextual data regarding their portrayal. 
Using this data we have compiled a ranking of the top 10 most Brands in season 4 of HOUSE OF CARDS. 
For more information on our data or services, please contact us at 
#10 Microsoft 
episodes: 6 screen time: 4 minutes 51 seconds 
logo/name visibility: 31% most visible episode: CHAPTER 49 
discernibility: 42% discreet, 25% subtle, 19% background, 14% close-up 
products: TV, mobile phones and tablets 
Why so visible? 
Microsoft got a majority of its exposure from a single scene in CHAPTER 42, when Wolf Blitzer and John King use a Microsoft powered TV to discuss the potential outcomes of the Democratic convention. The scene provides the Brand with over 1 ½ minutes of screen time in a combination of subtle and close-up shots in which its logo was clearly visible. This one scene accounted for 61% of Microsoft’s overall exposure in season 4. 
The remaining exposure came from Microsoft/Nokia mobile phones used mainly by Molly Parker (Jackie Sharp) and Elizabeth Marvel (Heather Dunbar) as well as Surface tablets repeatedly seen discreetly in the White House Situation Room. 
How was the Brand portrayed? 
In every single appearance, Microsoft products were portrayed as professional. Whether on the CNN set, in congressional offices or in the Situation Room the Brand was exclusively shown in professional contexts. 
The Microsoft-powered touchscreen TV on CNN also associated the Brand with news reporting and technology. 
It’s mobile phones and tablets were all used in contexts of government and politics. 
#9 Fiji Water 
episodes: 7 screen time: 13 minutes 46 seconds 
logo/name visibility: 2% most visible episode: CHAPTER 51 
discernibility: 99% discreet 
products: water bottles 
Why so visible? 
Following less visible appearance in seasons 1 and 3 Fiji Water is the 9th most visible Brand in season 4 of HOUSE CARDS. This is largely due to its 13 ¾ minutes of screen time. Their water bottles appeared exclusively discreetly or in the background and the Brand’s logo was only visible in 2% of its screen time. No character was ever seen drinking Fiji Water. 
Fiji Water was the most visible water Brand in season 4 of HOUSE OF CARDS, ahead of Tŷ Nant, Dasani, Perrier and Evian. 
How was the Brand portrayed? 
Fiji Water got 99% of its screen time by appearing on the table of conference rooms such as the Situation Room. The only time it appeared elsewhere was in the background of the Underwood kitchen back in South Carolina. 
By appearing in conference rooms, Fiji Water is strongly associated with professional use, government and work. It appears extensively alongside Diet Coke in such contexts. 
As no character is seen drinking Fiji Water, none of them are associated with the Brand. 
#8 C-SPAN 
episodes: 2 screen time: 2 minutes 27 seconds 
logo/name visibility: 55% most visible episode: CHAPTER 41 
discernibility: 50% close-up, 45% background 
products: TV channel 
Why so visible? 
After being absent from season 3, C-SPAN returns in season 4 of HOUSE CARDS, but much more visibly than it was in seasons 1 and 2. 
In season 4 of HOUSE OF CARDS, C-SPAN had almost 2 ½ minutes of screen time, less than any other Brand in this top 10. Despite this low amount of screen time C-SPAN achieved such high visibility due to the fact that, like most TV channels in the show, it had a strong logo/name visibility and when it appeared on screen it did so very discernibly. 50% of C-SPAN’s screen time was in the form of close-ups. 
C-SPAN is the 2nd most visible Brand of TV channel in season 4 of HOUSE CARDS, ahead of Fox News and PBS. 
How was the Brand portrayed? 
C-SPAN only appeared in 2 episodes covering 2 particular live events. They were the State of the Union in CHAPTER 41 and the Democratic National Convention in CHAPTER 48. 
Hence C-SPAN was portrayed as a news source for live political event coverage. 
C-SPAN was shown on TVs in professional locations such as Convention hotel rooms and conference rooms as well as casual location such as bars. 
#7 Blackberry 
episodes: 10 screen time: 11 minutes 59 seconds 
logo/name visibility: 5% most visible episode: CHAPTER 44 
discernibility: 56% subtle, 40% discreet 
products: mobile phones 
Why so visible? 
After losing ground to the numerous new competitors in season 3, Blackberry has a strong showing in season 4. In fact, as Apple’s share of visibility was further eroded by Samsung, Nokia/Microsoft and OnePlus, Blackberry actually became the #1 mobile phone Brand in this latest season. This both in terms of screen time and overall visibility. 
Blackberry accounts for 28% of mobile phone visibility, followed closely by Apple with 26%. Samsung comes in 3rd with 20%, newcomer OnePlus was 4th with 17% and Nokia trails the lot with under 5%. This is a very different picture than season 1 when mobile phones were split 66/44 between just Apple and Blackberry. 
How was the Brand portrayed? 
While Blackberry had a strong showing in season 4, it did so due to its status as a legacy Brand for the show’s stars. Indeed, no new major characters used Blackberry handsets. Rather, it was Kevin Spacey (Frank Underwood) and Michael Kelly (Doug Stamper) who accounted for 63% of the Brand’s visibility. Others who continued to use Blackberry phones were Mahershala Ali (Remy Danton) and Jayne Atkinson (Catherine Durant). All the above are in their 40s or 50s. 
With its use coming mostly from politicians, Blackberry was largely portrayed as a professional Brand used in contexts of politics and government. 
#6 Chevrolet 
episodes: 13 screen time: 10 minutes 10 seconds 
logo/name visibility: 65% most visible episode: CHAPTER 40 
discernibility: 65% subtle, 19% background 
products: cars 
Why so visible? 
Chevrolet has always been the vehicle of choice for politicians in HOUSE OF CARDS. In season 1 Kevin Spacey was often seen being chauffeur around in a Tahoe. In season 4, as in season 3, Chevrolet Suburbans are mostly seen as part of presidential convoys for both Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as they go about their first couple business. With such travel being increased, and all convoys having at least 2 Chevrolet SUVs the Brand had over 10 minutes of screen time in season 4, far more than in the 3 previous ones. 
Chevrolet also had a strong logo/name visibility of 65% and its cars were shown subtly in 65% of its screen time. All this contributed to maintaining the GM Brand as the 6th most visible Brand in HOUSE OF CARDS, just as it was in season 3. 
How was the Brand portrayed? 
As the presidential SUVs, Chevrolet vehicles are portrayed as professional vehicles used by the secret service in security convoys. This creates associations with safety, the government and politics. 
With her character travelling more, Robin Wright was associated with Chevrolet in 48% of the Brands screen time, more than any other character. Kevin Spacey was associated with 23% of Chevrolet’s screen time while no other character was in more than 4%. 
#5 Avaya 
episodes: 12 screen time: 32 minutes 47 seconds 
logo/name visibility: 0% most visible episode: CHAPTER 50 
discernibility: 47% discreet, 30% subtle 
products: telephones 
Why so visible? 
Last year Concave reported that Avaya was among the most consistently present Brands in HOUSE CARDS. The Brand appeared in all but 2 of the previous 39 episodes. In season 4, we find Avaya present in all but 1 episode and with more screen time than in any previous season. With 32 minutes of screen time, the 3rd most after Samsung and Dell, Avaya is the 5th most visible Brand in season 4 of HOUSE OF CARDS. This is the same position it had in season 2 and is down from #4 in season 3. Avaya’s increased visibility is largely due to its products being used, and hence seen subtly as opposed to just being background or discreet parts of the set. Its telephones were shown subtly in 30% of its screen time in season 4, up from 8% in season 3. 
How was the Brand portrayed? 
In HOUSE OF CARDS, Avaya is the telephone of choice for the White House and Congress. As such it appears almost exclusively within government-related locations. This translated to a 100% association with professional use in season 1 and 2. However, as Frank and Claire moved into the White House residence, which was also equipped with Avaya phones this dropped as they were considered home phones. Still, in season 4, Avaya phones were used professionally in 65% of their screen time. 
Kevin Spacey was by far the most associated individual with the Avaya Brand. He accounted for 57% of the Brand’s screen time. This included many scenes in which Avaya phone were merely in the background of the Oval Office. 
#4 CNN 
episodes: 10 screen time: 7 minutes 40 seconds 
logo/name visibility: 71% most visible episode: CHAPTER 49 
discernibility: 58% close-up, 28% background 
products: TV channel 
Why so visible? 
CNN was the 2nd most visible Brand in season 1 and 2 but dropped to #5 in season 3. In season 4 it rose to #4 with the most screen time it has had since season 1. 
Despite having far less screen time than most Brands in this top 10, we find CNN so high because of its very strong logo/name visibility and discernibility. Indeed, in 71% of its screen time the CNN logo was visible, and 58% of it came in form of close-ups. This means either the entire screen showed a CNN program or that the TV showing it took up over ¼ of the screen. 
How was the Brand portrayed? 
In HOUSE OF CARDS, CNN is used as a narration tool to show how events are reflected in the media. This resulted in CNN being portrayed as a primary source of news both regarding politics and world affairs. It is also watched by characters both at home as well as in their workplaces, whether it be within the White House or newspaper offices. 
In season 4 of HOUSE OF CARDS, CNN covered live press conferences, the State of the Union and the Oval Office Address. It is also shown giving in-depth analysis of the primary elections both in terms of reporting on them and analysing the potential outcomes. 
#3 DELL 
episodes: 13 screen time: 39 minutes 15 seconds 
logo/name visibility: 5% most visible episode: CHAPTER 51 
discernibility: 66% discreet, 17% background, 14% subtle 
products: laptops, monitors, keyboards, mouses, computer and servers 
Why so visible? 
Dell was the 6th most visible Brand in season 1, the 4th in season 2 and the 7th in season 3. In season 4 the Brand over tripled its season 3 showing to become the 3rd most visible Brand. Dell achieved this exclusively with computer related products, as opposed to Apple whom combined computer products with portable devices and Samsung who also had home appliances on top of computer and portable electronics. 
Dell achieved a whopping 39 minutes of screen time, 2nd only to Samsung. 46% of this came in the form of laptops, 47% in the form of monitors and the rest as keyboards, mouses, computers and servers. The most screen time Dell had received in a previous season was 12 ½ minutes in season 2. 
However, as is often the case when a Brand receives a large amount of screen time, the average quality of its appearance declined. Indeed, Dell’s logo/name was only visible in 5% of the screen time, down from between 25% and 40% in the past seasons. 
Dell’s product discernibility also fell significantly. In 66% of its screen time its products were only discreetly visible, meaning they took up very little of the screen, were not being actively used and might not have been noticed by many viewers. Furthermore, it’s close-up screen time fell from 12% in season 2 and 7% in season 3 to 2.5% in season 4. 
So Dell reaches the top 3 Brands in season 4 of HOUSE OF CARDS due to its product appearing far more often, albeit mostly discreetly. 
How was the Brand portrayed? 
Dell was overwhelmingly portrayed as a professional Brand. This was the case in 91% of its screen time, up from 80% in season 3. This was a far stronger association with professional use than Apple or Samsung. 
While much of the professional use was in the context of government and politics, Dell monitors also appeared extensively in the background of the hospital scenes, creating a portrayal of professional use in the health industry. Furthermore, the external company that deals with the internet surveillance in season 4 was filled almost exclusively with Dell products. As well as professional use these appearances associate Dell with technology, data processing and surveillance. In another form of professional use, Dell monitors were seen in the control room of a radio station. Finally, Paul Sparks (Thomas Yates) repeatedly uses a Dell laptop to work on his writing. 
Dell products appeared in offices for 35% of their screen, conference rooms for 33%, hospitals for 7% and homes in only 6%. 
As for who used Dell products, the most associated individual in season 4 was Derek Cecil (Seth Grayson) whose office was equipped with a Dell monitor and keyboard. Paul Sparks (Thomas Yates) was the 2nd most associated individuals, followed by Jeremy Holm (Nathan Green). In 4th position we find Damian Young (Aidan MacAllan), the head of the aforementioned surveillance company. All 4 of the above of are white men in their 40s or 50s. 
#2 Apple 
episodes: 13 screen time: 28 minutes 28 seconds 
logo/name visibility: 30% most visible episode: CHAPTER 50 
discernibility: 36% subtle, 33% discreet, 26% background 
products: mobile phones, laptops, computers, tablets, keyboards, (…) 
Why so visible? 
Though still a staple of HOUSE OF CARDS, Apple falls to #2 in season 4 after being the top Brand for the past 3 seasons. 
In season 1, Apple had 30% more visibility than any other Brand. In season 2 this gap increased to 50%. In season 3 however, Samsung fell only very short of Apple, coming in at #2. While Apple did received 18% more visibility in season 4 than season 3, Samsung continued its faster growth and achieved the top spot this year. While Apple has a diverse presence in the form of phones, computers, tablets and other electronics, it must be noted that Samsung’s visibility does include home appliances such as fridges, stoves and microwaves. 
However, Apple’s fall from #1 is not only explained by the rise of Samsung, but by other factors. For instance, Apple accounted for between 40% and 70% of laptop visibility in seasons 1 through 3, but in season 4 this dropped to 27% with Dell being the #1 laptop Brand. Dell also overtook Apple in terms of monitors/computers. 
If we look at phones, Apple’s share was over 60% in season 1 and over 30% in seasons 2 and 3. In season 4 it fell to 24% behind both Samsung and Blackberry. Mobile phones became more and more competitive every year. In season 1, virtually all characters used either Blackberry or iPhone handsets, but in season 4 they also use Samsung, Microsoft/Nokia and OnePlus. 
In short, the fall from #1 comes down to there being more and more competing Brands that are growing more visible faster than Apple. 
How was the Brand portrayed? 
Much like in the past 2 seasons, in season 4 of HOUSE OF CARDS, Apple was portrayed as professional in about 50% of its screen time. 
This portrayal is created both by the location the Brand is seen but also by its uses. Apple products appeared in offices for over 35% of their screen time as well as in radio stations, photo studios and occasionally in conference rooms. Apple was however a notable absentee in Situation Room scenes in which Dell, Samsung and Microsoft laptops or tablets appeared. We also saw a lot less iMacs as far fewer scenes took place in Congressional offices, which almost always seemed to be equipped with Apple computers. Apple was however one of the few Brands whose professional associations extended beyond the world of politics and government. An Apple laptop was used by a radio host during an interview with Claire Underwood and iMacs were used repeatedly to view and edit photos during professional shoots. 
Outside of professional environments we saw iPhones being used for phone calls, selfies and filming at political events. We saw an iPad being used to play by the Finn Douglas (as Charlie Conway) as well as laptops being used for internet browsing, watching videos and reading the news. 
Overall, Robin Wright (Claire Underwood) was most associated with Apple between her continued use on an iPhone and a MacBook Air. Michael Kelly was the 2nd most associated with the Brand as his office was equipped with an Apple computer, mouse and keyboard. Kevin Spacey (Frank Underwood) and Joel Kinnaman (Will Conway) were 3rd and 4th most associated with Apple, respectively. 
#1 Samsung 
episodes: 13 screen time: 48 minutes 8 seconds 
logo/name visibility: 7% most visible episode: CHAPTER 41 
discernibility: 49% background, 22% discreet, 19% subtle 
products: TV, laptop, mobile phones, fridges, stove, microwave, tablet, (…) 
Why so visible? 
With over 48 minutes of screen time – almost 10 minutes more than any other Brand – Samsung finally overtook Apple as the #1 Brand in season 4 of HOUSE OF CARDS. Samsung has gradually risen from #15 in season 1 to the top spot in season 4. It came in #2 in season 3 with Apple remaining #1, as it had been since the beginning of the series. 
Samsung received 87% more exposure in season 4 than in season 3, propelling it past Apple which only saw a 15% increase. Samsung’s increased visibility is largely due to its screen time tripling from about 16 minutes in season 3 to over 48 minutes in season 4. Its logo/name visibility and discernibility remained very similar. As such, Samsung had over 30% more visibility in season 4 than any other Brand. 
While all other Brands in this top 10 appearing in the form of a single type or category of product, Samsung had a far more diverse presence. Indeed, in season 4 HOUSE OF CARDS one can spot Samsung phones, tablets, laptops and TVs but also home appliances such as fridges, stoves and microwaves. 
Scenes in the White House kitchen, which was filled with Samsung electronics, contributed over 10% to Brand’s total visibility. Laptops and phones accounted for 13% and 17%, respectively. It was however TVs, which benefitted from both numerous close-up shots and strong logo/name visibility that made-up the majority of Samsung’s visibility in season 4 of HOUSE OF CARDS. Samsung TVs accounted for 77% of TV screen time, with LG making up the remaining 23%. 
How was the Brand portrayed? 
Much as its products fell broadly into 2 categories – electronics and home appliances – so did Samsung’s Brand portrayal. 
On the one hand, appearing in the forms of fridges and microwaves within a home environment portrays Samsung as a modern, clean-cut home Brand. In these contexts, the characters most associated with the Brand were Frank and Claire Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. 
Conversely, Samsung mobile and computer devices were mostly used in professional environments by younger characters. In 48% of their screen time, non-home appliance products were used in professional contexts. These include campaign offices, newspaper offices, the White House Situation Room and Air Force One conference rooms. These different contexts resulted not only in a professional portrayal of the Brand but also one that spans the worlds of campaign politics, journalism, the military and government. While Kevin Spacey was still strongly associated with the professional Samsung products, so were Derek Cecil (Seth Grayson), Joel Kinnaman (Will Conway) and Elizabeth Marvel (Heather Dunbar) all in their 30s or 40s. While these characters are all white, a Samsung laptop was also used extensively by Alfredo Narciso – who is latino – as Agent Holbrooke in the final 2 episodes of the season. 
The one Samsung product which is shown consistently in both professional and home contexts is TVs. 
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