Chinese Tee: Mainland Brands Test Product Placement in Transformers 3

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As US moviegoers head out to see Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon this weekend, some of the products characters use in the film might not be recognizable to them, but it’s not because the movie’s writers tried to come up with funky names for things. Instead, a few of the products used in the film come from a market even bigger than America: China.

As brandchannel‘s resident product placement guru Abe Sauer noted here last week, the third installment in the Transformers movie franchise is also a showcase for Chinese brands, as the Financial Times picks up on.

“The main motivation is to expand their brand recognition in foreign markets, but for others the focus is on the domestic market because the effect with foreign movies is better,” says Didi Zhang at advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather Beijing, which placed computer manufacturer Lenovo in Transformers 3, to FT.com.[more]

Xie Wei at Meters/bonwe, a midlevel Chinese apparel company that has its name on a character’s shirt in the film (more on that below), said that it wasn’t easy to get the movie’s producers to use products that aren’t available in the United States, the FT adds.

“In the beginning, the director and the producer had some prejudice against China because they’d never been here,” says Xie. “We invited them to China to come to visit Shanghai and our company, and then their impression of China changed.”

Still, as our post points out, the Transformers placement won’t be a homerun for building brand awareness outside China. As Sauer notes, try to spot the Meters/bonwe apparel product placement in the clip at top (hint: it’s not the men’s shirt worn by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley):

Some viewers are having trouble putting Meters/bonwe together with its Transformers placement. The problem is that while Meters/bonwe is selling a whole line of Transformers-inspired clothing, it seems to have failed to make the specific t-shirt from the film available — even though the shirt has a whole Facebook gallery devoted to it. The t-shirt can be spotted early in the film, on Shia Lebouf’s character.

Miss it? Here’s a closer look:

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