Thursday, November 29, 2012

Product Placement

Have you ever noticed how much product placement is in a film? While watching a good movie, it may not be as quite obvious; but if you take a second look, particular products will start to stand out at you. Product placement has been around ever since broadcasting has existed. Even through the advancements in technology, product placement has stuck around. In this blog post I will discuss a brief history product placement, disclose their business morals, and share many examples of extreme use in product placement in film.

                Product placement goes way back to the nineteenth century where novels and other books were our only source of media.  Jules Verne, known as a prophet of science today, was one of the first to introduce product placement after his release of his adventure novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Due his amazing success with his novel, major companies flocked to Jules Verne to request that he write in the name of their company in his next novel. Product placement is still used in some books today, particularly in major novels. Furthermore, this was one of the earliest recorded instance of product placement and has come a long way from then.
                Is it morally acceptable to influence consumers through product placement in films in order to sell products? Marketing has been around for years, so can we really say it is wrong? People have always strived to manipulate one another even for the smallest of things.  It’s the soul fact that most of us actually recognize product placements for what they are and in-turn we are not easily influenced. To an extent, product placement is part of our economy. For example people buy new cars and new Iphones more because of marketing.  One moral issue that has caused controversy amongst the industry is the marketing to children. Kids under 14 have not yet developed those filters to recognize when advertisements are targeting them. Advertisements manipulate kids to make them want toys they don't need and eat foods that aren't good for them. Ultimately parents are responsible for what their child does, however Ads are not always trying to sell food or toys. The big controversy in marketing to kids is when they try to make tobacco appeal to teenage kids. As a result, many commercials such as the Budweiser commercials featuring the frogs have been shut down due to it being to kid friendly.
  Through history we have seen many different attempts at product placement. Most films that we see try to keep product placement down to a lower key. However, in recent films product placement has been increasing to the point to be almost obvious in different shots. This occurs when products dominate the screen for a few seconds or have reoccurring appearances throughout the film. For example, the film I, Robot makes heavy use of product placements for Converse trainers, Ovaltine, Audi, FedEx, Dos Equis, and JVC among others, all of them introduced within the first ten minutes of the film. One particularly infamous scene borders into an actual advertisement in which a character compliments Will Smith's character's shoes to which he replies "Converse All-Stars, vintage 2004.”

In my conclusion, if you haven’t noticed the product placement before, you will notice it occur the second time you watch the film. Seeing where product placement started, there is no doubt that we will see more in the future. As a result, product placement has changed and will change as our form of media changes.

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