When it comes to product placement, the reportedly defunct Sex and the City franchise is an obvious target of derision, from "marketing bonanza" to "gross." Yet, the same critics seem to give the Twilight saga a pass.
This is odd because when it comes to product placement, the similarities between Twilight and Sex and the City are striking, beginning with the fact that both female protagonists (Carrie and Bella) can so often be found glued to their Apple notebooks.
What Sex and the City is to high-end designer product placement, Twilight is to affordable, everyday brands. Sex and the City is Bergdorf, Mercedes Maybach, Louboutin and Halston. Twilight is American Eagle, Gap, Jeep and Billabong. The price tags might be different, but fans of each series obsess over the wardrobes and the branded accoutrements.
The eve before The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opened to set a box office record for biggest midnight movie opening ever, as it did last night, fans on Coolspotters.com were busy spotting product placements before the movie even hit the big screen.
Twilight members of the Coolspotters community, where users identify, share and tag products and brands they catch in movies and TV, had "spotted" 65 individual products before the threequel's opening. These products included everything from Rainier beer to Diesel jeans to Asics shoes to Coca-Cola. To repeat: Twilight fans identified a whopping 65 products brands before the film even hit the big screen.
As numerous blogs break down every outfit, retailers know the strength of appearing in the film series. Last year, a Billabong brand jacket sighted in the second Twilight film ignited a buying frenzy. The brand ran out and the jacket could be found on eBay going for many times its retail price.
Items from the defunct-then-Target-owned U.S. gardening brand, Smith & Hawken, are featured extensively thought Bella's bedroom, as noted by Twilight fans.
Despite Volvo's official Twilight tie-in (at top), Jeep has been the automotive brand gaining the most from its role; one of its models, the property of character Edward Cullen, has inspired t-shirts and a rap, "Jeep Rap for Edward Cullen." Jeep's involvement in Twilight has even inspired fans to create hommade commercials for the brand (below).
Another brand, Dakota Collective, advertised its jacket that was placed in one film. (Though Twilight producers have sued Dakota for, essentially, advertising the brand's own product.)
For smaller brands, a role in Twilight can be a huge break. Designer Angie Bowlds says she has a weeks-long waiting list for her Stich and Slash bag after it appeared in a Twilight film.
Then there are the brands that are "reverse product placement," that is, brands that become products after appearing in the film. One of the most famous examples of this is the Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory, founded after the film Forrest Gump.
For Twilight, it has been the Infinite Jewelry Co.'s "Bella Engagement Ring." After Edward proposed to Bella in the last film, Infinite created a line of replica engagement rings in different price ranges, from $35 to $1,999. President Shelli Ashton said Infinite worked directly with Twilight author Stephenie Meyer to create both the ring and "Bella' Bracelet™"
Sales? Ashton says, "We have sold tens of thousands of bracelets and rings all over the world including Russia, Japan, Brazil, Germany and Australia."