The Wall Street Journal:

Product appearances in TV shows and movies are no longer exclusively for big companies with marketing budgets to match.

Publicists and other promoters are actively going after small businesses for product-placement opportunities. And from Facebook to Twitter to bloggers, more ways exist to chat up and spread the word about a product after it’s been discovered by the entertainment world.

For small companies on tight budgets, product placement may offer better value than purchasing traditional TV spots.

“With TV ads these days, people can just record the shows and zip right through the commercials,” says Steve Newton, chief executive of Designers Surplus, a year-old retailer based in Braintree, Mass., that sells kitchen-renovation materials, such as cabinets, through its own stores in six states.

Often small businesses pay a publicist for arranging such renown. Like many, New York publicist Nicola Parish charges an annual retainer fee for her services. Ms. Parish, who obtained the “Sex and the City” cameo for Eileen Shields Footwear, says she focuses on emerging fashion and “life-style” companies. Retainer fees charged by most publicists for small businesses run to several thousand dollars a year.

Photo by The Wall Street Journal.