Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Sunday Question: Product Placement

The Sunday Question is back and ready to go. So get your minds ready, and here we go!

This Week's Prompt: Does the use of product placement undermine, or weaken, a film?

Considerations: I suppose the first thing to do would be to decipher product placement, from filming location. I don't deny that having certain stores in your background might be a quick move, but let's be honest the world is filled with name brand stores, it'd be harder to film in streets without any. So I would define product placement as the deliberate use of a product, or name brand/company logo/etc, to entice the viewer in favor of that particular item. Next, I suppose it depends on the usage. Is it merely a background shot or does the director feel the need, as is often the case with car logos, to perform an unnecessary cut, or pan shot, to emphasis the logo. If so, does that interrupt the flow of the film?

Let the debate, begin!

9 better thoughts:

MovieNut14 said...

Apart from The Social Network (we ALL know what the product is there), product placement is annoying.

snobbyfilmguy said...

I HATED the Burger King placement in Ironman. It was corny as hell when he was eating that whopper. Too over the top product placement is NOT needed.

Castor said...

I don't really mind product placement unless it's really really obvious like if you zoom on a can of Dr. Pepper or what not. It was a bit too obvious in the Transformers movie for example but obviously, those movies have much bigger problems than product placement.

SugaryCynic said...

Pretty much the same as Castor. If you're filming something that takes place in the regular present (or past I guess), there's going to be products, you know? Your characters can't walk into a video store or a supermarket without encountering these things. It's scenes that make it blatant and ridiculous like a thirty-second close-up of a dude drinking Pepsi that makes it annoying.

This might be why Quentin Tarantino just makes up all his own in-universe brands, like the Apple Cigarettes.

simoncolumb said...

Y'know, I want to know whether Blackberry and Zippo lighters financed BURIED...

Simon said...

What if its not product placement, but the item just happens to be there? Like, a Dr. Pepper can on a table where the camera happens to be zooming in on a paper or something?

Brian said...

In all honesty I'm much more likely to notice the fake brands they use when they don't want to use product placement than I do the other way around.

The Kid In The Front Row said...

UP IN THE AIR was the worst for this. Completely pissed me off and made me want to injure everyone involved.

Fletch said...

It's allll about the usage. I'm glad Castor mentioned Transformers, because that's the first (though I'm sure not worst) example that came to mind. Did you know that the good guys are Chevys and the bad guys are Fords? ;) I wish I didn't know that, either...

On the other hand, Wayne's World aped product placement excellently.

Good question, Simon. Though, really, given the intimacy of the film - if you're in a box for 90 minutes, aren't you going to be hyper-aware of any props used? I didn't feel hit over the head with the Blackberry placement (it wasn't as if he said "on my Blackberry" 100 times or anything, and if you're gonna have a lighter in the film, a Zippo is the only one that makes sense, since it's the only one you don't need to constantly hold to keep alit.

Fake brands are the bomb. I love Tarantino's.

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