Mister Cinecal

Mister Cinecal

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Summer 2013's Worst Product Placement

The idea that these men do their own shopping is a surefire recipe for comedy.

Movies are expensive. I understand that. Sometimes if a studio wants to get a movie made they might have to agree to a little thing called product placement, where companies pay to have their products featured in a film or on a television show. Sometimes it can be harmless and barely noticeable, but when it's done badly it can be very distracting and just comes across as cheap and shameless. Now since the summer is the main time of the year people go the movies, summer blockbusters tend to have the most egregious product placement and the summer of 2013 had it worse than most. Here are 5 of the most shameless instances of advertising passed off as movies from this summer.

5. Iron Man 3
This one just about makes its way onto the list because it was released at the end of April here in Ireland making its status as a 'summer movie' here somewhat suspect. I'm presuming some cinemas were still showing it in early June so I'm counting it. Iron Man 3 was partly funded by Chinese tech corporation TCL. Although you might not have noticed it, their products were all over the film, with the Chinese version being four minutes longer to include even opportunities for brain's to unconsciously register TCL televisions. You may recall a scene where Tony Stark gives a direct message to the Mandarin, in the midst of a crowd of reporters. While they're all holding microphones and cameras in his face that show that they work for 'NEWS', truly the most informative source in generic reporting, he noticeably speaks directly to the man recording him on his camera phone. Now how this ordinary guy cut through all the reporters to record Iron Man I don't know, but what I do know is who made the mobile phone that provides him with such a clear picture. TCL!

4. Man of Steel
I'm sure some of you are familiar with the character of Superman but just in case you haven't heard of him I'll very quickly explain: He is an alien, who as a baby was sent on a rocket away from his dying planet of Krypton to another world, 'Earth' a strange planet where Budweiser is the only available beer. That poor lost soul. Before Man of Steel was even released it had made 100 million in lucrative commercial deals. When the film was being made the people involved stressed the importance of 'realism' in there movie about aliens fighting over a black skull that makes babies grow. Visionary Producer Deborah Snyder said "We wanted to have real places, we didn't want Superman to crash into a fictitious location, we wanted everything to feel as real as possible" a very convenient desire that leads to IHOP and Sears having more screen time than Laurence Fishburne.

3. Grown Ups 2
Allow me to be up front. I have not seen Grown Ups 2. I have my limits. I have my pride. I've mentioned before that Sandler's films are packed with brands being shoved in your face with all the subtlety of Adam Sandler shoving other things in people's faces and from I have heard from reliable sources his latest film is no exception. The film has no real plot but does have an extended sequence where Sandler and his cabal of comedians who can't carry films wander around the discount store Kmart for a very long time, looking at all the great products Kmart has to offer in the Kmart. It also has a deer urinating on a minor. Let that be the last we speak of Grown Ups 2.

2. World War Z
Be warned, spoilers for the ending of World War Z follow.

It's Brad Pitt's moment of triumph. He has discovered a way to fight back against the zombie plague. Believing that the undead can't detect very sick people, he injects himself with a bug and is vindicated to learn he is now ignored by zombies. Walking back through the zombie-infested facility he is in, he stops at a vending machine that sells Pepsi. Only Pepsi. Saving the world being a thirsty business, he gets himself a drink. The camera lingers as he stares at his beverage with intense longing, before taking a hearty swig of a refreshing Pepsi. He then hits the machine, causing it to spill cans all over the floor for the zombies to trip over. Chainsaws can't cut it and shotguns draw blanks in comparison to the mighty can of Pepsi, the finest weapon against the living dead that money can buy. The movie essentially stops for a minute for a full advertisement. In fact, it makes me wonder about the monologue he gives over the final images of the film, about humanity surviving and so on. It's possible they just lifted that from his Chanel No 5 advert and hoped nobody would notice.

1. The Internship
The Internship's status as a film made so that people could hear the word Google a lot is so blatant that it causes me an existential crisis. Can we truly be sure that we are alive and that our world is real? Is it not possible that our entire reality is merely a construct created by other beings for the purposes of satire? Do we live or are we mere playthings of jokers, who giggle as they write about us attending movies that are just advertisements for search engines, our jaws slack, our love for Vince Vaughn apparent and unknowable.
Gaze into the abyss and despair

In a summer that featured movies with robots punching dinosaurs with axes for faces, magicians both pulling off elaborate heists and being popular, the apocalypse and monsters attending third-level education, no film had a more ridiculous premise than The Internship, where two adults compete with others for the chance to become low-level employees for Google despite not knowing how computers work. Why does Google even need the product placement, what poor-minded individuals out there actually use Bing? The Internship is by far the worst product placement of the summer of 2013, provided the film, summer and all of us actually exist.

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