Does product placement bother you? (Friday Question Fun)

Previous Friday Question Fun entries

This week, I was inspired by my friend Justin over at Today I Watched A Movie. For his scoring system he devotes a whole section to product placement and every time I read a review of his I ponder this question myself.

Does product placement bother you?

While I usually take notice of product placement, I also feel it’s necessary to some degree. If a movie is trying to be realistic the characters should be eating real food and there should be real billboards around. Where the line gets crossed is when there is a shot of the main character drinking a can of conveniently placed Coca Cola for no reason, or the car they are driving pans down to the blue Ford oval or something along those lines. If it doesn’t add to the movie in some positive way then it’s superfluous and superfluous product placement bothers me.

What about you?

79 responses to “Does product placement bother you? (Friday Question Fun)

  1. I just find Product Placement amusing. Coca Cola is always the one to look for!!! There was so much of it in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’! I’ve been putting up product placement comments on my Christmas Movie Marathon most days. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I would imagine Christmas movies are rampant with it, but I could see how it would blend in for some of the stuff.
      I find it kind of fun to point out too, but that always takes me out of the movie too.

  2. I usually have no problem with it but at times it gets too distracting especially when cameras linger on Sony and Apple products or the occasional box of Cereal or two.

  3. Someone driving a Ford doesn’t bother me. Lingering on the Ford logo bothers me a little. Having the characters discuss the merits of the car’s automatic parallel parking bothers me quite a bit.

  4. ugh. hate it hate it. at leas on seinfeld, they kind of made a joke out of it. the concept – as far as i know – goes way back to the old days of “burns and allen” and those kinds of shows. while i hate it, i understand it and would probably do the same thing if i were producing the film. hey, it’s easy money, and how do you say no to that?

    as for the blue Ford oval, i think that happened in “casino royale.”

  5. A lot of times it doesn’t bother me say if its a restaurant or daily things we do. But I usually do notice it and comment about it if its something that comes into focus like say a car pulling in and the car make is especially clear.

    I took an English class on Cinema and Novel and we had to learn how directors focused on certain characters and objects to match with the book and some of it stuck to me…where I notice certain products that are deliberately focused on. When that product is overemphasized, then yes, it could be bothersome, but most times, its alright.

  6. Depends On How Subtle It Is.
    I Understand It’s Going To Happen Regardless Of My Distaste For Brazen Product Placement. So I Just Try To Accept It.
    I Don’t Like It, But If They’re Going To Do It They Should Be Subtle With It… …Not Wave An Orange Flag About It.

  7. It depends, but if it is too much or just too obvious it does bother me. A few example come to mind like I Robot and The Island. Also there is one shot in the Avengers where a car is so obviously a product placement (because it is in the center of the shot and it lingers to long on it), which I really hated.

  8. It depends. If a character is just drinking a coke, that’s fine, but I hate it when it gets out of hand. I’ve always disliked how some people like Adam Sandler make some of the most obvious product placement deals that transform the movie into a giant ad.

  9. The only time I notice it anymore is when it’s in a movie where the company obviously didn’t place the product there, like when they use Wendy’s cups in Pieces, or in the execrable movie The Night Brings Charlie where a girl brings a Diet Pepsi into the shower so she can spill it and the camera can get a shot of it running down the drain the the blood in Psycho.

  10. It doesn’t bother me very much… I’ve been watching a lot of movies from the 70s lately and it seems that, in almost every single one of them, some character drinks some J & B. J & B must have ran the industry back then : )

  11. I always love reading that portion of Justin’s reviews. It only bothers me if something is very obviously placed in the scene for no reason other than to promote the product – especially when it’s worked into the dialogue, which doesn’t happen often and usually pops up more in TV than in film. (I once saw a clip of 90210 where the characters were spending the entire scene talking about some type of soda. It was hilarious, but if I was actually a fan of the show it would have bugged me while watching the episode.)

  12. I’d have to agree with everyone else that it depends how in your face it is. An example of a recent movie that drove me crazy with it was Flight. There was a ridiculous amount of product placement whenever Denzel took a drink. But the ultimate offender of this is Michael Bay. Just search on YouTube “Michael Bay product placement” and it’ll disgust you how much he does it.

  13. I have a double standard when it comes to product placement. I’m more tolerant if it’s a product I like. Overall, though, I’m not bothered by PP. Advertising firms have a job to do and they have to be creative in trying to satisfy their clients…like we all do, I suppose.

  14. Like you, I expect product placement to a degree, it does help to “sell” the realism of a film’s set dressings. Sometimes, however, it is intrusive and not a little funny. We were watching a newer independent film the other day that was set, surprise surprise, in an apocalyptic world. The buildings were derelict with paint peeling off and the woodwork looked rotten. The two protagonists walked toward a country store and the camera showed, just outside the crumbling structure, a sparkling clean and obviously new Pepsi drink dispenser.

    What ever “realism” the film makers were striving for became an epic fail with the placement of the spotless drinks machine.

    Great question, great post. Cheers mate!

  15. I don’t mind it unless the character is like, “man, I’m not sure what I would ever do without my iPhone”. Or, “this coca-cola really hits the spot, and look at all these ladies that are hitting on me…” First off, no one has ever picked up chicks with coca-cola. Second, if you don’t have an iPhone, then buy a Droid.

    But yeah, the car stuff also annoys me.

  16. Product placement doesn’t bother me in and of itself. If it’s excessive and it’s clear there are SEVERAL companies benefiting from ONE Hollywood production, then it begins to get on my nerves.

  17. I don’t mind product placement so long as it is not too overt.

    Someone walking down a hall drinking a coke is one thing. Placing that coke on a counter in the foreground with the label pointed directly at the camera is another.

  18. I don’t really care as long as the movie or TV show is good. A great example is 30 Rock’s product placement for Snapple. This bit totally cracked me up.

  19. I think it depends on the movie. There are times where it is a bit ridiculous. There are some movies where the best product placements in a movie are the ones that are completely made up, especially if they have some pretty interesting or ridiculous names.

  20. My teacher Sameena used to work on feature films and was in charge of product placement. She hated it because many companies requested the camera linger on logos, etc. Some companies were cool and let you use the products as fillers, like in a convenience store or something. On one movie, the Coke representative asked for a character to actually drink from a Coke can. It wasn’t even in the script!! She can go on and on and on about the horrors!

  21. If it fits the moment and the scene I’m okay with it – It seems more realistic when they drink Coke instead of Cola. I also don’t mind if it is in the background, but not made so obvious that it is there.

  22. It bothers me if it’s gratuitous like in a Michael Bay or Adam Sandler flick. It’s more offensive to me than anything else. I despise the advertising and marketing industry and imagine them to be filled with cunts.

  23. Nope, doesn’t particularly bother me. Obviously I would prefer it was not necessary and was a little less gratuitous. But it’s just the way the industry works, so I try not to let it get to me.

    Andy, have you watched Morgan Spurlock’s Pom Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold?

  24. Generally it doesn’t bother me unless its really obvious; sometimes it’s unavoidable. Minority Report however wanted to make some points about the encroachment of technology on our lives, particularly regarding advertising… but at other times it seemed just fine using product placement, e.g. Gap, Lexus

  25. Unless it’s done obnoxiously, it doesn’t bother me that much. I’ve been watching a lot (like, to a ridiculous degree) of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia recently and I can’t help notice a lot of Subway cups in the last few episodes. Something like that can be a little distracting but it won’t necessarily put me off.

    • Subway has invaded a few of the History Channel shows I watch (Pawn Stars and American Pickers, namely) to the degree where they will have the guys just talk about Subway for a few minutes OR worse, go into Subway for a meal. Was really close to taking the shows out of my TiVO for that.

  26. I don’t mind product placement, as long as its subtle. But it does bother me when there’s a too obvious close up shot of a product or worse, when the characters refers to the product in the dialogue in a too-obvious way

  27. The only time product placement bothers me is if the characters actually take a break from the normal dialogue to plug the product and/or an entire scene is dedicated to showing off how well a car handles, etc. If it’s in the background or even being used by the characters, it never bothers me. I look at it as one step closer to the end of commercials.

  28. If it’s used as part of the movie to enhance the realism or is actually part of the plot (see “Back to the Future”) then I don’t mind it. But when every character drinks Pepsi in every scene, it becomes obnoxious. One scene that always marred “ET” was when Elliot speaks directly into the camera, which is ET’s POV, and says, “Wanna Coke?” and presents a can of Coke directly to the audience.

  29. You make the best argument in defense of PP I’ve ever heard, but it still annoys me. But then again, I’m very anti-corporate at times anyway (most times!)

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