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Thursday, 31 July 2014

a quick word from our sponsors...

Its a rarity that i get to the cinema these days. With three kids with divergent ages its difficult to find common films, and when me and t'wife get some time off together the last thing we want to do is sit in a dark room with dozens of people eating popcorn in our ears and not be able to talk (yes, we still talk after 14 years of marriage).
So it was quite a treat the other day to drop the titchy one at pre-school and take older two to the flicks. Now I'd hoped a decent superhero movie was on but, and this must be a rare hole in the scheduling, there was none! We must be post-Xmen and pre-Guardians at present. So the next best choice was the new Transformers movie, which is a sort of reset to the series wherein we get some new fleshy stars alongside the same bunch of robot aliens.

All in all it was a good laugh--a little long, rather too many almost finales and trying to man itself up by saying 'sh1t' a whole lot--but with great action scenes and amusing characters. I'd not seen Transformers 3, but that did;t really matter as i got the plot in about 5 minutes anyway.
But beyond all else, the lasting impression for me was the in your face product placement in the movie. Seriously it was as subtle as a blowtorch on your testicles. There's a few subtle ones to start with--bottles of Bud on trays of food etc--and then 'boom' a lorryload of Bud Lite with bottles rolling everywhere, Marky Mark pausing after a death defying escape to pop a cap and swig some. The bald millionaire dude pointlessly slurping some Chinese milk carton straight to camera with irrelevant dialogue. Then the slo-mo Johnie Woo style shooting Bumblebee twisting past a van with Victoria's Secret on the side. It'd have been less subtle if he wore stockings and suspenders.

Should i be surprised? Certainly Transformers is no stranger to it--the motor company GM allegedly gave a million dollars of cars towards filming Transformers 1. But so noticeable? I looked on-line and was surprised how many films I'd seen that were famous for the product placement done in a crap manner: Superman 2 and the Coca-Cola billboard--OMG, yes i remember that; ET and the trail of M&Ms. I googled it and wiki-thingy mentions it goes back to Jules Verne, and travel companies wanting to be in 80 days around the world!!

It got me thinking how much fun it'd be to have product placement in unlikelier programmes. What could you advertise in Games of Thrones? Life Insurance? Antiseptics? Thermal underwear? Perhaps a smartphone for Jon Snow (who, after all, knows nothing). Or on Hannibal? Some Gaviscon for the post-flesh indigestion?

The best scene I recall for product placement has to be on Wayne's World. I'll leave you with this clip, and the thought that perhaps the true irony about this was that most of the companies satirised probably did pay for the appearance, even if it was a gag!!!

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