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Product placement hits all time low

April 12, 2013

Commercials. We all hate them, yet they interrupt us from our favorite shows in a cycled routine of catchy jingles, annoying slogans and the ever-obnoxious insurance commercials.

Commercials are everywhere. I would never purposefully pay to see a commercial, but, as it turns out, I have paid to see commercials. But why would I spend money just to see an advertisement? Well, the answer to that question is simply that advertisers have recently gotten smarter.

Product placement is when companies pay money to the big boys in Hollywood to insert their product into a movie or TV show. They aren’t even being sneaky about it anymore. Product placement has been around for decades, but it’s hit an all time low. Recently, I saw the movie “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” with Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi, and it irritated me. The product placement was ridiculous.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the movie. Burt (Carell) and Anton (Buscemi) are childhood friends who team up after school and land a huge gig as magicians on a famous Las Vegas stage. After years of success, Burt lets the fame and fortune go to his head and ruins his friendship with Anton. Soon after, he’s forced into retirement since he’s no good as a solo performer. He realizes no one wants to hire an old, washed-up magician, so he lands a job at Big Lots where the manager has him performing tricks. This time though, Bounty paper towels gets a nice segment in this film as Burt shows just how quick of a picker-upper those paper towels really are. As I was watching the movie, I thought, ‘Did I really just pay ten dollars to see this?’ The movie itself wasn’t great, but to insert a mini commercial into the script wasn’t ok by me. I’m pretty sure Burt literally repeated the same phrase Bounty uses in their actual commercial.

Product placement isn’t ok for many other people in Hollywood. The show “30 Rock” is a great example of actors realizing how horribly annoying product placement is. After the boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) announces he received a new Verizon cell phone, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) talks up the perks of being a Verizon customer then looks into the camera and asks Verizon, “Can we have our money now?”

There are ways around product placement, and some Hollywood legends are doing it the right way.  Director Quentin Tarantino has admitted his hatred for product placement many times and in turn made up his own brand of Red Apple cigarettes for use in his films. If he needs a specific brand for other products in his movies, he resorts to using defunct brands like Fruit Brute cereal.

Despite the way some names in Hollywood have resorted to product placement to make a quick buck, it’s even more annoying as a viewer to know that not only do I have to witness commercials on television, I’m now seeing them in movies as well. There’s really no way around it either. By the time I saw the product placement in “Burt Wonderstone” it was already too late to take my money back. There’s no good solution, but I guess I’ll just be watching more Tarantino movies now.

Stevie Croisant
Copy and Layout Editor

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