TV & Movie Marketing Prediction: In Your Face

Published 6 years ago by , Updated August 18th, 2013 at 6:04 pm,

A Little Bit About Product Placement

Remember the movie, The Truman Show with Jim Carrey and Laura Linney, where the reality family would pick up a product and do a quick pitch when they used something? I can see it being that obvious and maybe worse down the road.

I can see it now, ala Truman Show: Clark Kent busts a door down, then stops to say “I’ll bet the homeowners here can get a replacement door from Summit Doors” and then blurs on in to save the family.

You think I’m off in the head? We have that in place now. A company called Motion Picture Magic (MPM) does product placement in movies.

The woman who started the company is a long time friend of mine and she told me how they got their big break in the industry when she got one of her unknown clients placed in a movie that helped their product sell like hotcakes. Except they weren’t hotcakes, they were Reese’s Pieces in the movie E.T.. We all know that story.

tom cruise in war of the worlds motion picture magic TV & Movie Marketing Prediction: In Your FaceIn this scene, Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds picks up a simple box, but that box/product placement was paid for. There is a lot of money exchanged between hands to get their product in your face.

It’s exposure like this that can generate business worth an advertisers wallet. As MPM puts it, they “… involve our client’s products or services in every appropriate set, as well as being used, held, worn, consumed by, or seen with lead characters as their implied product of choice.” Did you notice the word, “implied?” We’re barraged and don’t even realize it sometimes.

Associations and Sponsored (Implied) Use

Right now Ashton Kutcher is the pitchman for CoolPix digital cameras. Yet the last time I researched a digital camera prior to purchasing one, that product didn’t have the best rating over on Consumer Reports. People associate good things with Kutcher, and thus, the product.

Product “placement” goes beyond the screen. Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and whatever star(s) are at the top of the gossip totem pole get paid to show up at parties to give the party a reputation.

The LG House in Malibu, CA is nothing but a place where products are placed and stars are given access to for their party bashes. When the paps show up to snap pics, guess what? The products end up in the pics.

On November 3rd, 2008, Charlize Theron (Hancock, Sleepwalking, AEon Flux), settled out of court on a $20 million breach of contract lawsuit for wearing the wrong watch during a social event, ONE TIME. She was under contract from October of 2005 to December of 2006 to wear a specific brand and she slipped. That slip ticked off her sponsor and cost her a chunk of change.

Marketing is mind boggling in all the ways we are pummeled, but right now our focus is on television and even that may be threatened because I’ve just read somewhere that actors are being urged to go on strike. I wonder what brand signs they’ll be using to picket?

Mark my words, this is coming, and we will be powerless to do anything about it because that is how this whole kit and caboodle works. On the bright side if consumers were to actually research products and make more intelligent purchasing decisions, powers would be had by all. But then where would television be?

Now I must go and buy something… Not sure what yet. I’ll know it when I see it in Wal-Mart… must… stop… writing and… shuffle out door.

Sources: The Washington Post,, Motion Picture Magic,,, RTO Online, USA Today,
Image Cr: Tim Kring:, Tom Cruise: Motion Picture Magic

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TAGS: Heroes
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  1. Another fantastic post, Bruce :)

  2. Yup, another great primer, gathering of facts from Bruce, our resident researcher. :-)

    Things do indeed need to change with the advent and increasing popularity of DVRs. Advertisers will find ever more creative ways to intrude on our TV watching/Movie going experience.

    You’d think paying $80/month for cable and $9 to go see a movie would be plenty to finance what we watch on the small and big screen. 8-)


  3. On a similar note, I love Heroes, but I have yet to see anything of the third season. That’s because I don’t watch TV, and instead I waited for the seasons to come out on DVD to watch. This, I’m sure, brings the ratings down during the actual broadcasting, but to me you can’t determine ratings just by how many people tune in that day just because they were lazy enough to still be at home.

  4. @maverick
    Ah, but that’s EXACTLY how they determine ratings. AFAIK right now they don’t even take time-shifted viewings into consideration even though that can be easily tracked.


  5. There’s some advertiser out there wondering just how much sh** they’ll take if they inject their product at the bottom of a screen where you can’t get away from it.

    What’s the lesser evil: The public flailing or the monies generated.

    And don’t worry Maverick… Buying the DVD is part of the income stream so you made some bean counter a happy report.

  6. @Bruce

    Yeah, well remember back in the day when all they had prior to movie trailers at the theater was a blank screen? You’d think the masses would have risen up when they started showing commercials before a movie starts after dropping $7-9 on a movie ticket – but no… the sheeple did nothing.

    There won’t be any outrage or backlash once it begins on TV, either.


  7. Ha! You’re right!! When I saw my first commercial in the movie theater, I remember the groan and a rather loud “WTF!” spouted out of me before I ever knew what hit me!

    I’m not fond of paying to see something and getting spammed with ads at the same time. I’ve paid my dues with $$.

    But now when you go to a movie, advertisers are probably pitching top dollar to get their product in front of movies like Batman and Cloverfield and Iron Man, just to name a few.

    It’s a nutty, advertising world. I just hope when aliens finally do land, they’re not here thinking Coke is the leader of the world or something!!

  8. What is Tivo and DDG?

  9. Before you know it, the ads are going to be IN the dvd’s we buy during the shows or movies we have PAID to view. We already get commercials before the DVD starts, it’s a matter of time until we’re bombarded by ads CONSTANTLY.

  10. Besides the reality tv domination, the onslaught of drug ads turn me off to broadcast tv altogether……..

    I watch tv shows and movies on dvds now.
    I no longer subject myself to the all incompassing advertisment sucubus that is broadcast commerical tv. 8-O

  11. Yea, I get it. I use my phenomenal will power and resist the mind wipes.

    Keep in mind, if it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be there… and you’re surrounded by those it works on … they’re everywhere…

    In traffic with you, in the stores buying things they were told to buy… shudder!

    I got into it with a co-worker… if it weren’t for the advertisers paying the bills to have networks and cable channels make shows, what the heck would we have left?

    24/7 of PBS concerts and membership drives? I don’t know… it’s a weird balance we live with, but advertisers are everywhere. Every street, every building, every bit of public transit… when you think you’re safe, they think they’ve got you!

    OK, it’s late… I call it an evening.

  12. I see your point B, I just simply stay out of that game and only reap the dvd spoils. Mehuahhaahhaaa!!!!

  13. Hey man, everyone has bills to pay, if the movie theaters want to make more money by showing ads before the previews start, I don’t care. I show up early to get good seats, but spend the time talking to friends, I don’t even notice the ads, and when I do, it might actually be for something good, like a nice mom&pop restaurant that put up the $$ to advertise there, and hey, why not, it’s not like I pay more for the food because I saw them on an advertisement…

    I guess it’s either this or we live in a socialist government… And if you haven’t experienced it yet, give it a few years, we’re getting there, lol.

  14. [Oops, forgot I can't say the magic word for the spam filter.]

    Hey man, everyone has bills to pay, if the movie theaters want to make more money by showing ads before the previews start, I don’t care. I show up early to get good seats, but spend the time talking to friends, I don’t even notice the ads, and when I do, it might actually be for something good, like a nice mom&pop restaurant that put up the $$ to advertise there, and hey, why not, it’s not like I pay more for the food because I saw them on an advertisement…

    Commercials on tv are more annoying since it breaks up the show, but the ones in theaters are not so bad, once the movie starts you don’t have to worry about it. :-)

    I guess it’s either this or we live in a Soc###### government and we see propaganda instead of commercials… And if you haven’t experienced it yet, give it a few years, we’re getting there, lol.

  15. Are you guys really just realising this now? Great post, Bruce, BTW.

    Product placement in TV and movies is as old as the Silent era, when everybody wanted the Clara Bow marcel wave, kiss curl, and Max Factor lipstick!

    I think that advertisers have merely changed tactics, ‘Wayne’s World’ parodied product placement in TV years ago, and even on Radio, before the flickering image of film first appeared in black and white, on movie or TV screens, Radio ‘soap operas’ promoted, you guessed it, ‘soap’!

    The ‘Euphemism’/metaphor of ‘soap opera’ is still with us today, and is applied to dramas on TV that rely heavilly on Advertisers for their existence.

    The internet is not immune. Look at this webpage! It is surrounded by advertising, both subliminal and overt.

    All we can do as consumers against this constant barrage is remain ever vigilant. Until an advertiser manages to insert a microchip into every newborn, (don’t laugh, how many ‘rewards cards’ have you signed up for? Even your SUPERMARKET is tracking your buying habits on behalf of advertisers!) We can still exercise some personal autonomy.

    Big Brother has been watching you for a VERY long time!

  16. Haha, careful now, someone here is going to (as the boys in SNL put it) j*** in his pants if he sees you talking like this, hahaha.

    Anyway, they ARE definitely keeping track of your buying habits, it makes it so they don’t buy too much of unpopular products and too little of popular products. They can also adjust their price points based on what sells and what doesn’t. It is what drives our economy, it is to optimize their profits.

    Some people see this as helping the “rich get richer” but that’s exactly how it works, people who can efficiently make use of the resources available to them will be successful, while those who don’t, won’t. Might not seem like it benefits consumers, but in the long run, it maintains competition and innovation, without it, there will be no motivation for people to improve or come up with new things. We would be stuck in the 1800s in terms of technology, lol.

    Either that or we need a perpetual cold war to keep innovations coming, hahaha.

  17. We are all just part of a big consumerism machine.

    Except me… ;)

  18. Uh huh, and how many pairs of shoes do you have?? :-D

  19. gottarhyme: Thanks.

    I may change my prediction of product placement.

    Maybe we’ll be subscribing to the different advertiser pay channels and we’ll get 20 minutes an hour of some form of bonus programming!