When Product Placement Is Problematic

It rubs the Olay Essentials Beauty Fluid on its skin. It does this whenever it is told.

Here at Frood we pride ourselves on always using the right pronoun.  We always put ourselves first.  You is the second person.  Little grammar joke to get us started.

Right.  Now that we’ve dissuaded even the most open-minded reader from continuing, to today’s subject: product placement.

That product placement is intrusive isn’t it?  Worse than alliterative titles or rambling, go-nowhere ‘writing’.  The placement of the products on the screen during the film, it gets in the way of your comfortable enjoyment thereof.  Because the products are placed in such a way that you can’t ignore them: Apple, Pepsi, Ford, products and brands, all placed in a kaleidoscope of televisual intrusion that gets in the way of your comfortable enjoyment…

With apologies to Stewart Lee, who narrated that in my head.

If you’ve left the house recently, you’ll find that really real reality has product placement to buggery.  Therefore, product placement in films actually increases realism – you can’t leave the house without seeing the iconography du jour – the Nike swoosh, the Heineken green.

David Beckham’s photoshopped package on the side of the bus, Samsung on the Chelsea chest.

Magner’s ‘Irish’ cider with ice (redundant in the current wintry climate).  In my own private universe Christmas is announced by a commercial featuring a train in a familiar red, the holidays are coming…tis’ the season always the real thing: Coca Cola.

But what happens when it all goes too far?

Frankly my dear…I’d give anything for the new iPhone twelvety-seven with 8G wireless.

Come, come, Mr Bond – you enjoy HMV’s 2 for the price of 1 promotion as much as I do.

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will take advantage of the new half-price sale on all sofas before January 21st or while stocks last, only at DFS, in this life or the next.

That is exactly what happens, and what will happen when it inevitably does go too far, if it hasn’t already, which obviously it has.  Are we clear? Good.  The revolution starts here.

Legal Disclaimer: no it doesn’t.

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3 thoughts on “When Product Placement Is Problematic

  1. I’ve read that famous gladiators did sponsor products in a sort of “billboard” fashion and the original Gladiator script had Maximus advertising a product (I don’t remember what it was). But it was taken out because audiences might think it to be unrealistic, ironically.

    1. That’s fantastic, especially so because a lot of things were left in that film that were completely inaccurate or anachronistic such as referring to Crowe’s character as the Spaniard when Spain didn’t exist at the time and the Iberian peninsula was home to a series of communities and fiefdoms rather than a unified nation state.

      Probably the wrong word, but anyway, good knowledge…

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