Brandcameo 101: How to Hide Your Movie’s Product Placement

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When it comes to digitally manipulating product placement, there are two schools of thought. First, there is product “displacement,” where brand names are digitally blurred or removed from programming. Then there is digitally inserting products into existing programming, a technique that is gaining popularity.

Overlooked is the practice of digitally removing product placement but only for the purposes of advertising the programming (which will later be seen with those brands included).

With Brandcameo’s annual Product Placement Awards to be announced here shortly, here’s a survey of movie marketers hiding all of the product placement you’ll later see onscreen in a film’s final version. [more]

Last year’s Sex Tape was practically a two hour ad for living an Apple lifestyle. Yet promotional images and trailers for the film (top) made sure to remove Apple logos from laptops and monitors.

The 2011 rom-com No Strings Attached features a lot of beer drinking. That beer was Stella Artois but you wouldn’t know it from the trailer, which blurred the label.

And this digital sneakiness is not even an American phenomenon. The plot of the 2014 hit rom-com 2 States revolves around a young women who takes a job as a marketer for Unilever’s Sunsilk. But promotional videos of for the film removed the brand name “Sunsilk.”

The car chase in the 2012 sequel Taken 2 sees Mercedes-Benz battling it out on the streets of Istanbul. But in the trailer, these cars are badge-less.

But by the far the films that most commonly remove brands in advertising are those of Mr. Adam Sandler. This is possibly because Sandler films feature so, so, so many products. In Just Go With It trailers, it was Pepsi.

In Funny People it was Diet Coke.

It was Coca-Cola again in Jack and Jill.

And in 2012’s That’s My Boy it was Budweiser.

Lest anyone think this is a wholly modern marketing technique, look at the 1968 classic The Odd Couple. The movie itself is awash in Schlitz beer cans but the film’s poster features only a blank, Schlitz-like can.

Speaking of posters, this is one of the most common places to see brands removed.

One Night in Istanbul, the 2014 Brit comedy about crazed footie fans, dropped the Ford logo from the poster’s taxi.

After the tobacco master agreement settlement in the late 1990s, cigarette-makers agreed not to actively pursue product placement opportunities. But filmmakers looking to make accurate period pieces still add cigarette brand names.

The 2013 F1 racing movie Rush solved the problem be editing out the Marlboro ads on the film’s promotional posters.

On its poster, Baby Momma swapped out the Big Gulp for something more generic.

Confessions of a Shopoholic, a film littered with branded shopping bags, maybe felt all those brands distracted from the star in its posters.

In Death Race meathead Jason Statham is complemented by muscle car Ford Mustang. But the posters leave the co-star up to the imagination.

Go back a few decades and examples can still be found. n the the poster for 1991’as The Last Boyscout it impossible to tell that Wilson makes the film’s footballs.

Which brings us back to last year’s Sex Tape and the case of the missing Apple logo, above.

Have you seen products erased from a film’s marketing materials? Let us know in the comments. And come back on February 20 for our annual Brandcameo Product Placement Awards. 

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