Anyone annoyed with product placements in films?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Siddartha_Gau, Sep 16, 2002.

  1. Siddartha_Gau

    Siddartha_Gau Auditioning

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    Hello. This is my first post on this forum, so please bare with me. I hope I am not stirring a hornet nest on this issue.

    Is it me or is it that there is something really wrong with product placements in Hollywood films? For one thing, I remembered watching "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" and noticed the prominence of the Starbucks logo and products in one early scene. The scene was a conversation between Dr. Evil and Number #2 on Starbucks and how Number #2 tried to convince Dr. Evil (unsuccessfully) to leave the "evil business" and devote himself to Starbucks, because he will make more money than extorting the world. I have not thought about it at first, and upon seeing other brands names in the film, I noticed that the Starbucks scene was a product placement to promote Starbucks. Upon knowing about this, I become unease about product placements in films.

    We are already bombarded with advertisements on television, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, and the Internet, and it is now a common practice to have advertisements (through product placements) in many Hollywood films. How far will advertisers go to put their brands in a Hollywood film, and how much tolerance will movie-goers have until they have enough of product placement?

    Fortunately, fantasy films such as "The Lord of the Rings" does not have product placements, or else Tolkien fans would had cried bloody murder!
     
  2. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Welcome to the forum! Of course I agree with you entirely.
    I do my bit to block out the evil advertisers and marketing wallies as much as possible:
    1. I mute the TV or switch over during ad breaks;
    2. I boycott companies that send me junk mail;
    3. I have a separate email account for websites, surveys etc so that junk email is sent there (and never looked at)
    4. I don't watch channels with burned-in logos in the corner
    5. As for modern films, there's not much anyone can do... They are geared towards youngsters who have been conditioned not to mind so much... Historical dramas, fantasy films and movies before 1977 are the best option [​IMG]
    As for TLOTR, isn't it just one big advertisement for the multitude of related Tolkien merchandising?
     
  3. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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    Yes, I skipped Minority Report because all I saw and heard about it was excessive product placement. Lexus vehicles. Guinness beer. ET did that a lot, too. It was a 2 hour Reese's Pieces commercial.
     
  4. Anders Englund

    Anders Englund Second Unit

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    Not really. As long as scenes aren't written with the specific purpose of showing a certain product. A variety of products are bound to be use by the characters in one way or another. To simply create fake products seems quite silly (though it's pretty funny in Repo Man). If it also helps funding the movie, why not?

    --Anders
     
  5. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    I don't mind it if it's done with wit (Wayne's World, Austin Powers, where basically they're saying that Starbucks is EVIL [​IMG] ) or where it advances an idea like in Minority report. There are sometimes when it's blatant that it totally gets pissy
     
  6. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Yeah that 2001: A Space Odyssey film was spoiled due to excessive product placement. They had those darned Pan Am logos on the shuttles, and there was a Hilton hotel in the space station. The picturephone was clearly marked Bell System.

    Heck Kubrick did too much product placement in A Clockwork Orange too - all of Alex's microcassettes had Deutsche Gramophone logos on them. And the writer was using a clearly marked IBM typewriter.

    And how about all those cowboy movies where they keep talking about Colt or Smith & Wesson? And Stetson hats too.
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Don't forget the IBM logo on the Orion space shuttle control panel, Dennis, as well as the Whirlpool logo on the food station of the Aries lunar lander as the flight attendant is pulling trays for the captain and pilot!
     
  8. D. Scott MacDonald

    D. Scott MacDonald Supporting Actor

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    I always notice product placement and it usually does annoy me. I liked the Starbucks references in Austin Powers 2, however, as they were making fun of Starbucks and how the organization is the pawn of Dr. Evil. I think that in that case it furthered the story line and was much funnier than if they made up a fictitious company.

    Also mentioned was Wayne's World, which I also enjoyed as it was all done as a parity. From what I heard, the movie did not ask for nor receive any money for the product placement parity.
     
  9. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Scott, I think you mean PARODY.

    Actually, my favorite story like this is probably an urban legend - that Phillip Morris actually paid to have the characters in Dead Again smoke Marlboros. I doubt that they were amused when they saw the film.
     
  10. Siddartha_Gau

    Siddartha_Gau Auditioning

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    Something I also thought regarding product placement is the prominence of the Sony brand name on electronic equipment in the James Bond films.
     
  11. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  13. David Rogers

    David Rogers Supporting Actor

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    Can't we just make a sticky or official thread about "Product Placement in Movies" ? It'd be easier than one of these threads every 3-6 weeks! [​IMG]
     
  14. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    Only when it is really obvious, like when a product is in plain view and the shot seems to linger on it a second longer or when a character is holding a can of (insert product here) just right so we see all of the name. I usually only catch these when I watch the DVD a few times or if the movie just plain sucks.
     
  15. BradG

    BradG Stunt Coordinator

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    Personally, unless I'm watching a movie and Tom Hanks stops in the middle of a scene to tell me about a great offer now available on Tide detergent or Pepsi-Cola, I don't pay any attention to product placement.

    I watch the movie for the story and characterization, I don't care if a Coke can is on the table in a scene - such items are all over the place in real life, its no big deal.
    It lends credibility to the film to deal with real products and companies instead of made-up ones.

    I would never, ever, miss a great movie because it has product placement...unless, of course, Tom Hanks is trying to actively sell me Crest Toothpaste (TM).
     
  16. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    **must...buy...Wilson...Volleyballs**
    I have no problem with most product placement as others have mentioned, it adds to the realism. I am more likely to be pulled out of a movie if I see "Brand X" on a cardboard box.
    I just wish that the items weren't blatently shown with the labels facing the right way. I was told many times by the prop people during the production of "You've Got Mail" to keep the pepsi label facing out. Of course I ended up preventing a movie mistake by telling them that they needed to cover the "Coca Cola" sign on the fountain machines that I was getting all of this Pepsi from. [​IMG]
     
  17. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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    I don't see what the big deal about this is, and frankly what annoys me is the people who complain about it.
    As long as it is not excessive (which, of course, is down to personal taste) I don't get the big fuss. I'd rather see a character in a movie drinking a can of 'Pepsi' than a can of obviously 'Acme-fied' 'Cola'. Another good example - and I believe this is from Training Day - is when brand names are slightly modified. In this movie, the 'Sony' logo is slightly modified on a ghetto-blaster box to read 'Suny' - but it is clearly the Sony logo.
    As long as things aren't blatant - ie. a character bringing that Pepsi can into frame just to show the audience - I think this issue is blown out of proportion. If a movie was shot in your home or office today, how many company logos would probably be visible? Starbucks coffee on the desk, the Sony or Dell logo on your desktop...its a part of life, live with it. Or maybe all corporations should just die. All the problems in the world are due to corporations. [​IMG]
    /Jeff
     
  18. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I take it you've never seen JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS [​IMG] [​IMG]
    I'd actually rather have product placement, just not excessively or unneccesary.. It adds to the realism i think. but if it looks like they deliberately show the logo, then i get kinda peed off there
     
  19. Nick Sievers

    Nick Sievers Producer

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  20. Stephen Fagan

    Stephen Fagan Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't mind plaements, as long as the product isn't the focus of the scene...I would rather see a character drinking Dr Pepper than Mr. Off-Brand X, P.h. D. But, if the scene stops and the character starts telling me to drink a bite to eat at 2,4, & 10...then it's going too far. [​IMG]
     

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