Saturday, August 8, 2015

Product Placement

            Let’s talk about product placement, really more to do with placement of it in movies and TV shows than anything else.  Superman slams into an IHOP in “Man of Steel”.  Dunn plays “Halo 5” at work in “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”.  Scott Lange works at Baskin Robbins in “Ant-Man”.  And clandestine meetings happen at Denny’s, or in the parking lot of Lowe’s Hardware on “House of Cards”.  These are a few examples, but you are already thinking about the types of cars they drove on “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad”, and that episode of “30 Rock” in which Verizon is the best phone ever.  I am doing this off the top of my head and I could go on probably forever.
            Is this a bad thing?  I am going to say “No”.  And here is why.

1) In real life, as I write this, there is a can of sprite to my left, and a “Boarderlands” gaming mouse pad to my right.  You see, while lots of companies do pay to have their stuff featured to various levels… That shit does exist.  And making it part of the character’s world is not unreasonable.

            2) Movies and TV are really expensive to produce and having Coca-Cola help pay in exchange for having their brand on screen in a subtle way helps to defuse the cost and allow for more ambitious productions, I don’t know if they could afford to have Kevin Spacey murder political loose ends while soliloquizing to the audience unless the audience wanted to also clench their thirst with a Coke.

            3) From a historical and social standpoint this is nothing new.  Many of the great works of art in history and especially the great works of architecture have been commissioned by merchants and with streaming and commercial skipping technology becoming the standard way of doing things I see no other way a company can justify creating an entertainment product while at the same time telling the audience that they did so.

Really I find the inevitable outcome for this to be something like this: “Game of Thrones: Episode 55, Brought to you by Pepsi” or “Sony Presents: House of Cards”.  Companies will just become producers of material and will be part owners of it, so that people who like a particular program will have to think of the company when they watch or talk about it.

And eventually people will see it as part of the landscape, just like people used to not bat an eye at Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen having breakfast together so they could talk about cornflakes, or the Flintstones talking about cigarettes.  Marvel will perhaps have the easiest time with this, as they have been having superheroes fight bad guys over fruit pies for decades.
Sure this is boarder line immoral.  But at least they aren't anti-vaccers.
I mean, Superman did cigarette advertising too... But much like in "Man of Steel" it was mostly incidental destruction.

            This blog brought on by seeing “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” a movie that I highly recommend. There is the occasional wrinkle in which I thought of how they could have done something a little different, or how they should have a gadget for such an occasion, but it is my favorite action movie of the year, beating out "Mad Max: Fury Road", "Jurassic World", "Ant-Man", and "Avengers: Age of Ultron".

I come to find out it is written and directed by the same guy who did "Jack Reacher" and has a lot of the things I liked about that movie in here too. Lots of funny dialogue, no romance subplot, a couple of great chance scenes, and a good bad guy. Unlike "Reacher" it doesn't give away the whole mystery at the start so it ends up working better on that level. Best of the series.  I will eventually give a full review of it, just like I do every other movie I see each year, but for now I must point it out as a must see for the summer.

If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

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