Posted by Abe Sauer on January 31, 2011 03:20 PM
When Saw 3D was released last year we noted what a wasteland horror films (typically) are when it comes to product placement. In fact, we couldn't find one single product in Saw 3D. Other than one good product placement joke, this week's number one film, The Rite, fits the horror profile.
The one moment of levity in The Rite is provided by a brand. While in a Vatican exorcism program, our American seminary student hero is lost, both spiritually and culturally. While he struggles with the former, he finds a way to ground himself, pun intended, at a Rome McDonald's. Sipping a McCafe he starts out again on his journey for the truth.
Other than the McDonald's gag, there are really no other brands to be found in The Rite. No surprise that the Olsen Mitchell Roofing brand is fake, seeing as the truck carrying that brand name in the film fatally runs down a bicyclist. An older priest curses the disgusting gum that he needs to chew since he quit smoking, though he never names it by brand (cough*Nicorette*cough).
The other brands in the film are largely there to establish location. A Fiat medallion on a taxi says we're not in Kansas anymore.
Just how lopsided is the dearth of product placement in horror films when compared against other genres? In the last five years, there have been 14 horror films that were number one at the box office on their respective opening weekends. Those 14 horror films contained 99 clear, noticeable products or brands.
Compare that number to 106 total products or brands identifiable in just two 2010 films, Kick Ass and Iron Man 2. Or take Valentine's Day, which itself had 56 brands or products.
One amusing oddity of the horror genre product placement reality is the irony of horror spoof movies. The Scary Movie franchise, at four films, has made good sport (and good money) lampooning horror films. Each film is full of brands, often relying on products and brands for jokes. For example, Scary Movie 3 and 4 contained 43 brands and products, nearly half as many 14 actual horror films.
The ultimate irony: Scary Movie 3 holds a special position in product placement history, because the PG-13 film involved in a 2006 publicity disaster over paid sponsorship and placement by beer brand Coors.
For an overview of the brands in The Rite (and other horror films) visit the Brandcameo product placement database. And stay tuned for the Brandcameo Product Placement Awards coming in February.