Repo Man Recognition for the Ugly Reality of Product Placement: Sex and the City
Named after 1984 cult hit Repo Man’s use of generic products, such as cans marked "beer" and "Food: Meat Flavored," this honor recognizes work in the field of creating a realistically branded world.
Sex and the City is so full of product names that Vanity Fair thought it necessary to make a (less than complete) list. It’s not short. Complaints about products in the film rolled in from the usual highfalutin suspects: “By all accounts, the film is one long product placement…” (The Sunday Times, June 1); “…if they had knocked out some of the gratuitous scenes in which we have to see one designer product after another.” (Huffington Post, June 3); “…the film… is so fixated on product placement that it isn't really about anything else.” (The Independent, June 1); “The product placement is way over the top, too.” (Fox News, May 12).
Maybe the falutin-ness of that last source isn’t so high. But Sex and the City, whose very opening statement admits to being about obsession with “the two Ls: Labels and love,” is far truer to the real world than almost any of its peers. Is it a secret that brands completely surround our daily lives? Here’s an experiment: Look around you right now and imagine you are being filmed; how many brands would appear to be blatantly placed in the scene? Or, compare Sex and the City’s 81 brands with a small experiment done by one woman who recorded her Day in Brands.
Aside: One of the few real brands in Repo Man was Little Trees® air fresheners. Check out our special profile of the iconic brand.
You Can’t Spell “Audience Favorite” Without Audi
Ford may have the quantity but when it comes to automakers onscreen, Audi is, both literally and figuratively, kicking much ass. Stealing its scenes in the recent hits Iron Man, The Bourne Ultimatum, Hitman and Baby Mama (“Your stupid space car locked me in!”), Audi is now the go-to car for sleek action. This role will become even more solidified upon the late-2008 release of the third in the series of Transporter films, which largely function as the best Audi ads imaginable.
“We hope you enjoyed the beer… Oh, like I mean the movie.”
To celebrate the “two-four” anniversary of the classic beer-soaked film Strange Brew, Brick Brewery released a special McKenzie Brothers Red Cap Beer. Dead mouse not included.
Explaining Branding More Clearly than Most Branding Books: American Gangster
Frank Lucas, American Gangster’s American gangster, explains: “Brand names. Brand names mean something. Blue Magic, that’s a brand name. Like Pepsi, that’s a brand name. I stand behind it. I guarantee it. They know that, even if they don’t know me anymore than they know the chairman of General Mills. …when you chop my dope down one, two, three, four, five percent and then call it Blue Magic… that is trademark infringement.”
Recognition for Lifetime Achievement in Product Placement: Magnum Desert Eagle .50
“…and the fact that I've got Desert_Eagle_point_five_oh written down the side of mine should precipitate your balls into shrinking, along with your presence. Now... F*ck off!”
Its unique, triangular barreled profile makes it perfect for highly stylized film violence. Its (maybe phallic?) appearance also makes it the favorite for heaving-bosoms-heaving-handgun roles. Demi Moore (Charlie’s Angels 2) and Pamela Anderson (Barb Wire) actually double-fisted DEs and Anne Parillaud and Elizabeth Hurley posed with theirs on film posters (La Femme Nikita and Austin Powers, respectively). Other examples of women being matched with the DE include One Night at McCool’s, Trouble Bound, Beverly Hills Cop 3, and the first Charlie’s Angels. Hong Kong’s Her Name is Cat and Black Cat 2 also both featured female characters with DEs.
The Desert Eagle is seen prominently in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s hands in this summer’s blockbuster Get Smart. He even gave it some free promotion in an interview with Comingsoon.net: "I've got a Desert Eagle that's huge. It's amazing, it's outstanding. Steve has his shoe phone and I have my Desert Eagle." In a move that more or less encapsulates the gun’s position in Hollywood, the DE can be seen in other product placement tie-in ads for Get Smart, such as the ones for Vespa and Subway.
Having already having landed a huge role in the hands of Korean pop-god Rain in next year’s Ninja Assassin, there is no reason to believe that the Desert Eagle doesn’t have another 20+ years of stardom ahead of it.
The most insane product placement scene of all time, courtesy of this year’s long-in-development animated bomb, Foodfight!
Thank you for reading this year’s review. Stay tuned to brandchannel throughout the year for some brandcameo-inspired special content. And please take the brandcameo Product Placement Awards Survey. The fourth annual awards results, based on your votes, will be published in two weeks.
Survey ran from July 25 through August 1, 2008. Thank you for voting!