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Brand impressions through placement in movies

October 10, 2007

 David posts recently on creating brand impressions through games,  and how events in games can make their way into pop culture.  This is obviously another play on traditional brand placements within film.

Anyone can simply place their product in a movie, but the ones that make the most positive impression are those that do so in a way that aligns the role of the product within film with the core attributes of the brand itself.  

What makes for a great placement?  To me, it’s evocative of what the brand is, and how it might evolve.   The futuristic Audi sedan placement, as driven by Will Smith  in I, robot was a great brand impression.  The Converse sneakers, were another.  A deliberate anachronism, they silently screamed to the audience that Converse are timeless and will never go out of style.

One of my all time favorites, was the Power Loader, operated by Sigourney Weaver’s character, Ripley, in Aliens.   While hard to see in this clip, the machine bears the old style “Pac Mac” logo of Caterpillar.   So here, we have a futuristic construction machine as a evolutionary projection of a present well known brand.   It personifies the core attributes of power and ruggedness that we would understand about the brand, and it is employed heroically at the end of the film as Ripley does battle with the Alien Queen.

Knowing me, you can well understand why I chose this example…

6 Comments leave one →
  1. David Churbuck permalink
    October 10, 2007 2:08 pm

    I see you in one of those Mark.

  2. October 10, 2007 3:05 pm

    Well, a little far off your marketing points, the future might be just around the corner, just check this out:

    Berklee’s Bleex project:

    Yamamoto’s Wearable Power Assist Suit:

    And something more impressive, ENRYU T-52 a rescue robot:

  3. October 10, 2007 3:17 pm

    I’m not surprised in the least over this choice 🙂

    Another example that comes to my mind is the Matrix (whatever the 2nd one was called) and the excessive GM influence. A new Cadillac (CTS?) and Escalades played part in a very impressive car chase & action scene. If you look closely, during this chase the only NON-GM cars on the road are the police Crown Vics (which mostly end up being destroyed). Heck even at least some of the police cars are actually Caprice’s.

    This made a big brand impression on me. I can’t say it makes me want to buy GM more, but I noticed it and have to give GM kudos for such a strong showing. That counts for something right? 😉

  4. October 10, 2007 8:00 pm

    I might be biased here but the BMWs on the James Bond movies were great, and the “bad guys” drove Mercedes (yeah I know it is odd to see Britain’s top agent on a German car)… Other examples I remember: Nike shoes on Back to the future, Nokia on Minority report.

  5. October 10, 2007 8:53 pm

    I think there are plenty of high visibility examples of product placement in movies – things we noted. I originally drafted this post with a spectrum of low impact, gratitous placements, to ones that makes sense, to ones that really fit the plot and story line and lent a dimension of believability. I struck all that in the interest of brevity.

    So, to Tim and Esteban, yeah Ford and GM have shown up heavily in recent movies to the point that all the scenery vehicles are of that brand. Tim’s observation of the chase in the 2nd Matrix film Consider “Mr. Deeds(?)” when all the cars on the street were suddenly Red Corvettes – that projects the product as an ideal.

    Having James Bond in A BMW makes more of an impact than shooting a scene at a BMW dealership.

    Getting your brand / products into a movie isn’t so difficult, but doing so in a way that aligns with and re-enforces your brand image is playing at a higher level, at least for me.

  6. October 11, 2007 10:58 am

    Brand placement in a movie is all about the “cool” factor. Look what brand placement did for the Smith and Wesson model 29 or what it did for the Dodge Charger. Effective brand placement has to be more than a cola can turned so you can see the brand name in a scene. It has to be seen as another one of the palyers in the movie.

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