How do you feel about product placement in movies?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by SteveGon, May 20, 2002.

  1. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    I heard a piece on product placement on the radio this morning, hence this thread. The story in question was about the use of Dr. Pepper in Spider-Man.

    Anyway, how do you feel about such things?

    As for myself, if product placement isn't too obvious and thus distracting, it can add to the realism of a scene. On the flip side, the avoidance of real products can be even more distracting - a character sipping beer from a white can with the word "beer" printed on it is just plain silly!
     
  2. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    Generally, if I realize it's product placement, I hate it. If it's used, and I can't tell, I guess I have no problem with it.

    Overall, though, I think of films with product placement as disposable commercial pieces.
     
  3. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    Product placement is so widely used in most films grounded in reality that sadly I've become used to it. Its now so ingrained as a source of income for the film industry that we'll never see it go away. If its sublime enough that I don't notice it then its OK with me otherwise I'd probably avoid 80% of the films made today.
    Overt offenders such as that vile Fed Ex infomercial Castaway make me ill. I have absolutely no respect for Robert Zemeckis now. On the flip side of the coin is that one of the reasons that I still like the once golden boy Quentin Tarantino is for his use of anti-product placement in his films. This always gets a smile from me whenever I watch Pulp Fiction.
    It would be interesting to trace how far back this practice goes. I know it goes as far as the early 60's when Absolute Vodka paid for their product to be used in the early Bond films.
     
  4. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    In any modern film, there usually must be placement. If they didn't then there would be no clear connection to the real-world. Characters refrencing older music albums or requesting brand-name beverages from a certain era only cement our belief in the time of the picture (What would Back to the Future be without a TAB refrence?).
    Indeed, product marketing has gouged itself so deeply into our psyches that we NEED popular products to support the actors... Would Bullitt's chase have been as fun without a Ford Mustand and a Dodge Charger? Would Terminator 2's title character been as bad-ass without the now-infamous Harley-Davidson Fat Boy? probably not on both counts.
    Occasionally there is anti-placement in films. Products that don't exist outside of Hollywood, either for avoiding lawsuits and such (Tarantino's Red Apple , or Smith's Nails cigarettes), or maybe just because no real company cared to pay for placement (This is my theory as to why The Simpsons always drink Duff brand beer).
     
  5. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I hate it.
    It's ok if it's part of scenery where the location is, but it's awful when it's added for the sake of being placed.
    The product placement satire in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and The Truman Show are funny, however. [​IMG]
     
  6. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    What sucks is when everyone in the movie is drinking the same soft drink, and you see a machine in the background withthat same logo.....as if it is the one lonely drink in the town. A town without softdrink choice, just isn't a real town[​IMG]
     
  7. Ricky Hustle

    Ricky Hustle Supporting Actor

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    I guess I am in the minority here, it doesn't really bother me unless it's blatantly obvious to the point of distraction.
     
  8. Howard Williams

    Howard Williams Supporting Actor

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    It doesn't bother me. When I see it I just kinda laugh. I am very down on advertising's effectiveness.

    What I don't understand and what I think is even worse is when then have a soda can (for instance) and it's turned backwards so you can't see the name brand. Those always make me think 'Hmmmm....what sponsor is gonna pay for that?"
     
  9. Mitty

    Mitty Supporting Actor

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    I rarely notice it.

    I'm far more likely to be taken out of a movie when I see or hear a fictitious product name, particularly if it sounds very close to an actual one.

    I find it harder not to notice someone drinking out of a can marked "cola" than out of a Coke can.
     
  10. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Have you guys seen Josie and the Pussycats? [​IMG]
    I dont mind product placement in movies, it makes it more realistic to an extent. Though Josie and the Pussycats did go overboard, it as kind of a joke throughout the movie, so it was okay...And i could never hate a movie with Rachel leigh cook in it [​IMG]
    And from what i hear, filmmakers dont get paid for putting the products in there...
     
  11. Martin Fontaine

    Martin Fontaine Supporting Actor

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    NickSo, you beat me to it! Josie And The Pussycats basically makes fun of product placement in movies.
     
  12. Andy_S

    Andy_S Second Unit

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    I thought it was a recently new thing to have product placement but the other night I was watching Close Encounters and notived a couple of pretty obvious ones. They were exteriors of the power going out and one shot was a McDonalds and another was a Chevron gas station. Both of these could have been generic "Joes Grill" or "Franks Gas" and it wouldn't have detracted from the scene. Instead, they used brand names and earned a little extra cash.
     
  13. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Smarter people than I have already adequately expressed my opinions on product placement.

    They're a necessary evil, it seems.

    As long as it's not ridiculously blatant, I can accept it without it marring the storytelling experience.

    Devil's advocate: Brand names exist in real life, so why not in fiction?
     
  14. John Randolph

    John Randolph Stunt Coordinator

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    State and Main also has a product placement satire piece...anyone seen it? I thought it was pretty clever.
     
  15. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    How bout product placement in Wayne's World? [​IMG] [​IMG]
    "Little, yellow." [​IMG]
     
  16. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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  17. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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  18. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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    Have you seen the Thomas Crown Affair (remake)? In the middle of a scene Rene Russo goes to the Pepsi One machine and gets a soda, then cut to a huge close-up or her slowly sipping it and looking refreshed. It was blatent to the point of being offensive.
     
  19. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

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    Much like television commercials I realise that product placement is a necessity for the business so I don't really put much thought into it. One placement that sticks in my mind is Coke on the Sopranos. It's never Sprite, Diet Coke, Pepsi, or Mountain Dew. Whenever anybody is thirsty they have a can of Coke.
     

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