Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Product Placement

It's pretty commonplace to see products placed in TV shows and movies. It's no surprise to see a character crack open a cold one while we're reminded that he likes Bud Light. It's no surprise to see the same type of Cisco phone on almost every show you watch.

I find it really odd then, when product placements are so blatant like it makes you gag ...or worse laugh. Case in point, I finally saw The Island last night (sort of dumb movie BTW, expect for the eye candy that is Scarlett Johansson). At one point, Ewan McGregor goes for a drink and we're zoomed into a shot of an aluminum bottle of Michelob which stays on screen for at least 3 seconds. Ewan then proceeds to take a small swig and we never hear from the bottle again. That doesn't sound like much screen time for the brand, but the way it was done was really odd. Seriously, it was a fast zoom into just the bottle with nothing else on screen. I get the feeling that the director, Michael Bay, was told to place the bottle into the movie and he didn't like that. So he directed this ridiculous spot in. But hey, I guess I remember the brand so in some sense it worked.

Compare that placement with Puma's placement of their shoes at the beginning of the same movie. There was a rack of the same cool looking pair of shoes which Ewan McGregor looks through. Not a huge deal and the puma logo itself is a bit blury since the focus is not on the shoes themselves. In this case, I still remember the brand, but it definitely didn't feel odd to see the shoes in this context.

The most ridiculous, contrtive product placement in recent memory has got to be Oreo cookie placement on 7th Heaven. It might just be because I think 7th Heaven is the most contrived drama on TV, but the way they "weave" the story of Oreos into the plot itself. At a few points in this episodes, the characters specifically mention Oreos and talk to each other about whether they like to twist open their cookies and lick the cream or if they just bite right into them. Actual plot lines to ensure we remember the product!

Got any other ridiculous, contrived product placements you recall?

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