Inception’s Vision: A Brand-Free Future

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Is this really Mercedes’ first product placement in a top film this year? Shocking, but apparently true.

The Mercedes SUV and Maybach showings in this week’s #1 movie at the box office, Inception, follow the Maybach’s major role in Sex and the City 2 (which was not a #1 film). This drought is rare for the brand; Mercedes appeared in five #1 films last year (11% of the top-earning films) and in 75 top-grossing films since 2001.

More importantly, is Christopher Nolan the anti-Michael Bay? While both directors are now reliable Summer Blockbuster gurus, when it comes to product placement, they could not be more different in approach.[more]

Bay, director of the Transformers and Bad Boys films, is all products, the more the better. Nolan, conversely, clearly sees brands in direct conflict with his highly stylized projects (which include The Dark Knight and Batman Begins). Even the backgrounds in his films are scrubbed of brands.

Nolan’s Gotham and Inception go to great lengths to avoid any brands standing out, despite the films taking place in our urban, brand-littered reality. His sparing acknowledgement of consumer culture results in films that may remain more timeless than those of their product-packed peers.

For all the brands spotted in Inception, read this week’s Brandcameo update.

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